If in the world all roads lead to Rome, in Costa Rica more than one can bring us closer to the beauties of our central Pacific. This time we will not talk about the San José-Caldera highway, the best known, but about an alternative proposed by Norman Hidalgo, the mayor of Acosta. This is Route 301.
Mountains, nature, rivers and waterfalls are part of the beauties that you will discover in Acosta. “The complete asphalting is still missing, but a first layer (profiling) was put on that allows the entry of cars and not only those with double traction, which before were the only ones that could travel through the roads of the canton”, begins by saying Norman.
Only two years ago, especially in the rainy season, it was practically impossible to go through this route, which was more mud puddles than anything else, but in 2019 work began in conjunction with the National Highway Council (Conavi) and the face that now shows is very different.
This route 301 connects Desamparados with four districts of Acosta (San Ignacio, Salitral de Guaitil, Cangrejal and Sabanillas de Bijagual) and ends in Parrita, which allows reaching such popular beaches as Bandera, Esterillos and, beyond, 28 km away, we will be in Manuel Antonio or in the beautiful Ballena Marine Park.
The route along that route 301 takes you to Parrita in 2 hours and 35 minutes (the journey is 84 kilometers). On Route 27, if you are doing well and no obstacle is found, it can take two hours and 38 minutes, with 152 kilometers, it is 68 kilometers more than Route 301 (thinking about fuel savings).
Discover its tourist beauties
The route along route 301 does not have to do only with time and money since it will allow you to discover some of the tourist beauties of the area and where the traveler can stop to recharge the body and mind also buying something typical along the way with which he will throw his support to an economy that needs it badly.
The local municipality has dedicated itself to giving a boost to the new route to the Pacific
The mayor of Acosta along with some of the local merchants tell what we can find along the way, so that the next time we plan a trip to the central Pacific we will be motivated to start a new adventure without traffic jams and, very important, no tolls.
To get a better idea of the route, it reaches Desampa, goes up San Rafael Arriba until it falls to Aserrí, goes up to Tarbaca and goes down to San Ignacio de Acosta where the route begins and there it reaches Parrita.
“The three mayors (Aserrí, Acosta and Parrita) have a very good relationship because with the regional territories of the Rural Development Institute (Inder) jointly promote their development. This route is not only for the region, because it allows the country to save
in fuel and operating expenses to transfer the products to the Pacific”, said Hidalgo.
Economic boost with your support
As 301 is the shortest route to reach the Pacific from the Central Valley, the mayor of Acosta wants tourists to know all the beauties that the canton offers and participate in the economic boost to merchants in the area, which includes from restaurants to the artisans that offer their products on the side of the road.
Alba Vargas is the owner of the viewpoint and restaurant El Bambú, which everyone knows as “Donde Alba”. Alba has a scenic view of the mountains and even the sea of Parrita. For 28 years, it has opened at 6 in the morning and closes at 9 p.m. in the district of Sabanillas de Acosta. Depending on where you sit in the place, you will be able to see the Central Valley or a preview of the sea to warm up to what awaits you on your trip, since at that point you only have 25 kilometers to get to Parrita.
“The repair of the road has helped us a lot because more cars are already passing by here and they visit us from San José and even from Parrita,” Dona Alba says. In her place you can eat a casado, chifrijo, tortillas with cheese, empanadas, rice with shrimp or some good pork rinds. Since Alba is a community leader, she helps out a group of women who harvest pineapple and at once offer it to the restaurant’s customers.
Varus Ranch’s dishes are varied and will allow you to taste the local flavors
Along the way we also find the Varus Ranch bar and restaurant, owned by Mily Céspedes. “People really enjoy the place because there are many green areas and the restaurant is outdoors,” she told us. It is located in the Llano Bonito de Acosta district, about 13 kilometers from San Ignacio and there you can eat some delicious “baby rack”, which are pork ribs with barbecue sauce accompanied with yucca and green banana pickle.
If you prefer, you can also add rice with shrimp, whole fish, potatoes, nachos or more, all made by Mrs. Mily, who puts love to each dish. And the prices are very comfortable, a ceviche costs him ¢ 2,000, the married ones ¢ 3,000 and, of course, for whole fish or ribs the price depends on the size. It is open from Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. at 9 p.m.
Relax on the river: Paraíso del Río Tourist Center
If you crave fresh water before salt water and you want to refresh and rest before moving on, you can make a stop at the Paraíso del Río Tourist Center, which has a very familiar atmosphere.
Its owner, Antonio Fallas, told us that he has been offering a place of recreation to locals and visitors for 13 years. “We have restaurant service, a small soccer field, a volleyball field, two swimming pools, one for children and one for adults, a path that gives access to the Candelaria River, large green areas to rest and kill the day and enjoy nature relaxed”, the owner.
Admission costs ¢ 3,500 for adults and ¢ 2,500 for children and right now, in low season, they open from Thursday to Sunday and on holidays from 9 a.m. at 4 p.m. The Paraíso del Río Tourist Center in San Ignacio de Acosta has two swimming pools if you don’t want to go into the river. This beautiful place is 4 kilometers from the center of San Ignacio de Acosta, on the road to Parrita.
Hotel El Portal de la Montaña I
In Sabanas de Acosta, which offers spectacular views and if you are a bird lover, you will certainly enjoy observing species. Birds of many species can be observed in this paradise.
So now you know, Route 301 a very beautiful alternative that is worth taking. Enjoy the adventure and indulge yourself in this very beautiful part of the country that takes us to our spectacular Central Pacific.