Sunday, April 10, 2011

Costa Rica River Dip in Rio Jesus Maria

This weekend my boyfriend took me to a beautiful river where he and his family would often go when he was a little boy.  The river is known as Rio Jesus Maria and is located in the canton of Esparza, Costa Rica in the town of San Rafael.  As we parked our car and walked downhill to get to the river, I was surprised to see so many locals picnicking and sunbathing along the it's banks.  There were so many people,in fact, that we had a hard time finding an open spot to lay down our towels and blankets.  We finally decided to cross the river, where very few people dared to venture, using the huge protruding rocks as stepping stones to get across.

My Boyfriend Crossing the River

Safely across on the other side, we laid out our blankets and sat quietly enjoying the sound of rushing water all around us and admiring the beautiful scenery.  I especially liked the quaint brick bridge that framed the river to the right of us.  The bridge (captured below) reminded me of one that I've seen in so many famous photographs and movies.

Brick Bridge on Rio Jesus Maria

Me, Climbing the Large Rocks on the River's Banks

The water, cool as it was, was a refreshing break on this hot day.  Little fish could be seen in the clear river water swimming all around us.  Sometimes they'd even peck gently at our legs and arms.  Everyone else seemed to pack up and leave at about 3pm, which left me and my boyfriend to enjoy this surreal natural setting all to ourselves.

Access to Rio Jesus Maria was free, except for having to pay $1.00 for parking.  You can find the river by turning right off of Hwy 1 onto Hwy 131 (at the intersection that the locals call the "Cruces a Nances"), and following the road up the hill for about 5 km.  The parking lot is on the left side in a Bar-Restaurant called "Las Damas".  All in all, my experience at the Rio Jesus Maria was a great adventure.  And definitley one that I hope to repeat often.


Virginia said...

Hello, I happened across your blog today as I was researching Miramar. I really enjoyed your blog entries. I hope that you were eventually able to get your cats! We have 4 cats and a dog and could never bear to be parted from them.

I am in the planning stages of a trip to Costa Rica next year. I want to do a driving tour from San Jose to Arenal then Tenorio and return back to San Jose and stay in the Miramar area on our way back. I was wondering if you were familiar with the El Manantial Macaw Sanctuary? I really would like to visit the sanctuary. We spent 8 glorious days in Drake Bay in Feb and were privileged to see scarlet macaws in the wild. I am planning on staying at either Finca El Mirador or Colinas Verdes Lodge in Zapatol. Have you heard of either one?



Gypsy Jane said...

Hi Virginia. I'm glad you are enjoying my posts:) I will be picking up my cats on May 7th. I finally got American Airlines to give me a travel voucher in compensation for messing up and not letting me bring the cats the first time around!!

Your trip plan for next year sounds fantastic. It's a little off the beaten tourist path which is really neat. I have never heard of El Manantial Macaw Sanctuary, however, I am familiar with the two properties you are considering staying at since they are up the highway from where I live (Hwy 144, which passes through the center of Miramar).

The hilly and mountainous setting for both properties is gorgeous. Both also offer views of the waters in the Gulf of Nicoya. So in that respect either one is a good choice. This YouTube video gives an exact representation of what you will get at the Finca el Mirador:

Finca el Mirador is about 20 minutes away from the center of Miramar, and is owned by a German couple. In true German-style, their property is spotless and well-kept. Note that there's no hot water there and no A/C. Sometimes it can be a bit hot here around Miramar, though it does get "cooler" in the evenings and up in the hills. Also, the Finca Daniel Adventure Park is one mile up the road from this property and this park offers good choices for ziplining and atv'ing up in these hills.

Now onto the other property. Colinas Verdes Zapotal lodge is further up the mountain highway. It took about 45 mintues to get there from the center of downtown Miramar, so it is more remote than Finca el Mirador.

From what I've seen and heard, I would choose Colinas Verdes. Why? Because it's more of a "Costa Rica" experience. You'll have Costa Rican hosts (nothing against the Germans;)) and you will be backing up directly to a Cloud Forest. Colinas Verdes has a more rustic feel to it. I like the wood and cabin-like construction at Colinas Verdes, over the cement block homes on Finca el Mirador. Colinas Verdes also offers personal tours into the jungles surrounding the property.

I like the following reviewer's take (she also saw both properties first hand). As you will read, she enjoyed her time at Colinas Verdes more than her time at the Finca el Mirador:

Well, hope this helps;) I wish you the best on your trip next year. Take care!

Virginia said...

Hi Gypsy Jane,

So glad that you are going to be able to bring your cats to Costa Rica. I hope they can ride in the cabin with you (not the cargo hold).

Thank you so much for your advice. I like the sound of Colinas Verdes Lodge too. We like to stay away from the touristy areas like Monte Verde. Also it is good to know that Finca El Mirador does not have hot water. Funny thing, I was able to access their website a couple of weeks ago, but the website is no longer there as of this weekend, maybe they are doing an update.

We don't speak any Spanish, do you happen to know if anyone at Colinas Verde Lodge does?

My email address is:



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