San Gerardo de Dota
Costa Rica

A Cozy cloud forest village

The San Gerardo de Dota Vibe

San Gerardo de Dota Costa Rica is a hidden gem in the woods about 1.5 hours away from the city of San Jose.

If you are looking for a quiet cloud forest getaway, this place is a must-visit. It’s a great place for birding, hiking, fishing and relaxing.

If you are interested in bird watching and the words “Resplendent Quetzals” actually mean something to you, this is the place you should visit.

We love this spot as an alternative cloud forest to Monteverde because it just feels so cozy and it is so close to San Jose.

san gerardo de dota map

Map Of San Gerardo de Dota

San Gerardo is located in the central part of the country. It is easy to get here from the San Jose area or Dominical/ Uvita on the Pacific coast. 

San Gerardo de Dota at a Glance

Nearest International Airport

Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose

Popular Things to Do

birdwatching, hiking, relaxing

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car, walking in the downtown area

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April but even then you might experience rain


Getting to San Gerardo de Dota

The best way to get to San Gerardo is from San Jose. If flying into the San Jose airport it will take you less than two hours to drive to San Gerardo de Dota.

For flight booking we suggest Skyscanner. They are our go-to flight booking site for great rates.


There is no easy way to get here by public bus, so you will need to rent a car.

You can rent a car from close to the airport (but free transportation to the rental car office is provided from the airport).

We suggest using Adobe for car rentals because they are the most trustworthy company in this country and we have a 10% discount for you! You can read more about renting a car here.

The start of the drive involves driving through some of the San Jose city traffic. This can be very overwhelming if it is your first time driving in Costa Rica. People drive like maniacs in San Jose.

After getting through San Jose you will be on a well-maintained road up into the mountains (it’s about a 7,500 feet elevation). It is pretty curvy in spots, but absolutely beautiful. Once you turn off onto the road to San Gerardo, you will hit an unpaved road which is super steep in some parts.

We definitely recommend renting a 4×4 if going to San Gerardo de Dota.

It is also possible to visit San Gerardo on your way to or from the Manuel Antonio,  Uvita, Dominical area on your way back to San Jose.

You will have to drive on the highway next to the Talamanca Mountain range and Cerro de la Muerta mountain. It is steep and curvy in parts, but it is typically fine with a 4×4 in dry season.

Tip: If you don’t feel comfortable driving, a private shuttle is always a great option. Find out more here.

Getting Around in San Gerardo de Dota

San Gerardo is really small. A car is definitely helpful to get to various restaurants and hiking trails. It is not a very walkable town due to the narrow steep roads. But, if you don’t have a car I’m sure you will be able to make do.

Just note, the main national park is on the main road and not in the tiny town portion of San Gerardo de Dota. If you would like to visit the national park you will need a rental car or another transportation option.

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San Gerardo de Dota Weather

It can get really cold here. We visited once in September, during the rainy season,  and it was only about 55°F during the day and got down to about 50°F at night. Once you live in Costa Rica that is like winter jacket weather. 

Although it’s much colder than other parts of Costa Rica, I think that just adds to the charm of this place. A lot of hotels have fireplaces that are always going, heavy quilts on the beds, and hot tubs.

There is also a lot of rain in this area. It is a cloud forest after all!

However, in our experience, it is usually not torrential downpours. It is usually just an ongoing mist.

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