About 40 kilometers south of San Isidro  the air becomes redolent of sweet-smelling pineapples, the economic mainstay of the Valle de El General, which is centered on Buenos Aires, a small agricultural town in the midst of an endless green ocean of spiky piñas.
The nondescript town, 63 kilometers south of San Isidro de El General, is the main base for exploring La Amistad International Park .
Southeast from Buenos Aires, the Pan-American Highway follows the Río General 25 kilometers to its confluence with the Río Coto Brus at Paso Real.
Hotel Fabi (tel. 506/2730-1110, $18 s, $25 d), 50 meters west of the bus station, has six spacious, modern cabins with private bath with cold water. There’s secure parking. Next door, Restaurant Katappa is one of the nicest places to eat in town.
The nicest digs is Cabinas Kamarachi (tel. 506/2730-5222, $25 s, $35 d), one kilometer off Highway 2 on the road into town. It has 20 air-conditioned rooms in a two-story block with cable TV, and secure parking, plus a small air-conditioned restaurant.
Tracopa buses (tel. 506/2221-4214) to Buenos Aires depart San José  daily from Calle 5, Avenidas 18/20 at 8:30 A.M. and 2:30 P.M. (4.5 hours; there are also indirect buses). Transportes Gafeso buses depart San Isidro  every 30 minutes for Buenos Aires, 6 A.M.–5 P.M.