South from San Jose and the Central Valley, after passing over the mountains, begins another extensive hilly region, the high peaks of the Talamanca range. This picturesque region is known as El Valle de los Santos, the “valley of the saints”, as almost all its towns and villages carry saint names.
From north to south, those valleys begin as agricultural lands, including the world famous region of San Marcos de Tarrazu, which produces one of the finest coffees in the world, and then becomes more mountainous and wooded. Deep inside the densest part you will find the small town of San Gerardo de Dota. Here, cozy mountain lodges supply appealing accommodations as well as gorgeous views of green pastures.
This is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike, which will be amazed by the plethora of woodpeckers, tanagers, hummingbirds and of course, quetzals. Around 200 bird species inhabit this misty and cloudy forest, along with peccaries, coyotes and many other mammals. These dense forests full of moss covered oaks and tropical highland plant species create a unique and rich ecosystem. The wild Savegre river, in the heart of the valley, flows into the Pacific Ocean, somewhere south of the Manuel Antonio National Park.