There is active commerce, lots of stores, schools, mechanics, hospitals, postal offices, etc. San Isidro de El General has a small but significant foreigner expatriates and retiree population. This has led the region around town to host a multitude of permaculture initiatives and intentional communities, which can be easily discovered while using San Isidro de el General as a homebase.
San Isidro del General is located 2 hours from the Chirripó Mountain and 45 minutes from Dominical Beach. Buses from San José, also from Quepos via Dominical. The "Musoc" bus line is dependable, comfortable, and very affordable.
There is a commercial center downtown, one mall in the southern end of town, and a new one about to open in december in the center of town. Not a big place for shopping, but visit the local market to see the culture, eat, and buy some fruits. Maxi-Bodega has many American food products. You can find several shoe stores with a selection of American brands. Some bargains can be found.
The central market is the place to eat like the locals. There are lots of soda restaurants around, many of them are quite good. Dishes with chicken and rice are usually done well. Many places serve fresh fruit juices that are delicious.
But if you want something more international here are a few places:
Chirripo Hotel, across the street from the main church in Centro. Hang out for many visitors.
Reginas Argentinian Parrillada... on the way to Dominical in el Hoyon.
Pizza Primavera, by PALI supermarket and next to Delicias
Delicias Cafe, great people watching and meeting your friends, a good coffee place with great food
Mexico Lindo on the south part of the park, great mexican food
Kukis fast food, next to Mexico Lindo
Bazookas a mix of Costa Rican and American food, on the way to San Jose next to the Solis Gas Station
Coffee Stop Authentic Costa Rican food and Coffee Free Wi-Fi Internet clean bathrooms just north of San Isidro
There are several popular bars in San Isidro de El General. Although the city is quite small, some of the best bars are a little off the beaten track. It is recommended to hire a taxi for bar-hopping. Below is a list and description of the best bars.
La Cascada upstairs restaurant, local music, popular for locals and ex-pats alike.
Bar de Brasilia karaoke and loud music, popular among the working class.
Reyes several billiards tables and an open bar area.
El Camaron very popular among younger Costa Ricans.
Babalu a hip bar that opened in late 2011. Small cover charge at door.
Basha-Pz popular dancing area and large bar. Plays both American and local music. Very pleasant atmosphere.
There are some small hotels where you can rent a room. The city is small, just look around.
Nana's Guesthouse. The best choice for low-budget backpackers. This guesthouse is part of the IntegraTe project, which focuses on holistic living methods. The hostel's grounds are a model for urban permaculture and edible gardening, while the staff are networked, helpful and knowledgeable; they will gladly provide you information about the wealth of intentional communities around the region for you to visit and discover. A twelve minutes walk from the town center down avenida central towards Dominical will lead you straight pass Bar Uno Mas. Continue and pass the Special School (Escuela Enseñanza Especial) on your right, directly after the road turns right the hostel is the second house on the right, with a light green gate just past the rock wall. Please contact beforehand for availability, at 7074-0205 or Integrate.firstname.lastname@example.org. edit
Los Crestones. On the road from Dominical, south from the SE corner of Plaza Central, opposite the football ground. Attentive and flexible staff; good value at US$50 (cash) for an upstairs room. (Fremdh, November 2009.) edit
The Chirripo. The most popular hotel for foreign travelers.