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San José


For a while now we had heard a rumor of a mystical mountain in Tarbaca. What we did not realize was that it was going to be so so stunning and we were going to meet such nice and well organized local folks.

How to get there?
With Waze

Vehicle:4 × 4 by Aserrí
Contact:Alex: 8460-3211
Cost:¢ 15,000 per person (from 2 people)
Includes refreshments, lunch, entrance to the hill, local guide and parking.
Camping area:Yes, but check before.

What to bring?
Very comfortable clothes for walking, Dri Fit type shirt, sunscreen, hat, 1.5 liters of hydration, energy bars, dried fruit, and preferred snack.

Distance:12.3 km in total.


As much as we rushed to start the hike early we still managed to arrive a bit late. To get to this small town you can go by Aserrí or Acosta. We went through Aserrí (because it is closer), the street had some steep parts and a 4×4 vehicle is necessary since there are loose rocks.

We were in the central part of Las Leguas de Naranjo with the local guide named Alex. He had prepared us a paper lunch box with a full snack inside. While we were walking, he told us that he is in charge of an association of local guides who seek, through these walks, to take sustenance to their families without having to look for jobs away from home. Which we thought was very neat.

The walk begins in a normal ballast street, then the road becomes narrower, nicer and more demanding until it becomes a trail. This path goes along the edge of the mountain between paddocks with 360-degree views, there are many cows and depending on the time there are enough blackberries to make piñata …

After the happy paddocks the thing gets a little more intense, the slope is a pretty challenging challenge, I could say that it is the best training for those who want to prepare to climb the Chirripó. The path is beautiful, you go through forests of trees of infinite height, in some parts it has mud, fallen trees traversed and all this together makes the road a real adventure (in a good way).

After about 3 hours of walking, we arrived at Cerro Dragon. The sign on the hill is inside the forest and to see the landscape you have to walk 15 meters more to a clearing. From there you could see much better the whole sight, the perfect time to take the snack that Alex had prepared us.

We finished eating, and we still had another half hour to reach the other peak, The Dragon’s Back. According to the guide, the hill is named after its rock formations that look like scales. The part that we walked towards the second peak was burned a short time ago and now it must be recovering with all the rainfall from May. It’s a little sad to see that due to the neglect of some neighbors, complete forests that were home to many were lost. Thankfully It was just a small part.

At the top of the other mountain, the forest changes completely. The vegetation is much lower, with small leaves and the ground is solid stone. We climbed on the biggest stones we found and rested for 10 minutes while taking legendary photos of the moment.

On our way back, we didn’t stop for a second even to take a breathe since we were descending … When we came back we stopped at Alex’s house, where his wife had prepared a delicious meal for us, just what we needed after the intense workout. In the end, they served us a coffee. While we talked nonsense, they mentioned that they had 600 chickens laying eggs in the yard. Obviously, we could not resist seeing the animal maker and then we bought homemade eggs from Alex that were in fact delicious.

We half washed and returned to San José, reminiscing on the amazing people we had met on this trip called Qué Buen Lugar.

There are people who do their job very well, but there are other people out there such as Alex and his family who are exceptional. His passion is contagious and also drives his community through projects such as Cerro Dragon Tours


By: Qué Buen Lugar

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