Although my favorite places in Costa Rica are the beaches, I also enjoy the mountainous areas of the country. Every time I visit my two children, Bianca, 12, and Jourdan, 20, who live in Atenas with my first wife, I try to find something special to do to make the most of the short time I have with them. One place that I've known and liked for over 25 years is "Las Minas del Aguacate", located in San Mateo in the Province of Alajuela. These mines were first exploited in 1821 during the gold rush, and when they were closed, the area became dotted with water pools. It now attracts thousands of visitors each year who come to enjoy the waterfalls and natural springs. Last April, I went there with my children and my son’s girlfriend for a trip to the mines. We brought snacks and drinks and stood at the edge of the largest pool. Initially, the two girls were hesitant to get into the water; however, Jourdan and I took just 2 minutes to jump from a height of at least 6 meters into the pool, feeling an adrenaline rush after each dive.
After some time, the girls overcame their fear and began to swim in the pool, though they refused to jump from the heights. However, just before we left, Bianca climbed onto a lower ledge about 4 meters high and bravely jumped into the pool, earning applause from everyone around us. It was a beautiful moment, especially since Bianca usually avoids taking extreme risks. On our way back from the mines, we stopped at the famous cantina in downtown Desmonte, where the specialty is Pork Chicharrones. They are prepared early in the morning in a giant pot directly across the street from the bar, to entice people with the delicious smell of fried pork. The owner, Victor, has been serving customers at this same location for over 40 years! After enjoying a few beers and some tapas of chicharrones, we returned to Atenas. Although it's only 20 minutes away, being in the mines and the jungle makes you feel very isolated, as if you are miles away from civilization.
This is just one example of the many things to enjoy in Costa Rica. Come on down and find out for yourself what a wonderful lifestyle can be had in this beautiful country.
Updated Feb 16, 2024