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Introducing Neily

Although it is Southern Costa Rica’s second-largest ‘city,’ Neily has retained the friendly atmosphere of a rural town, much like neighboring Palmar. There's not much of a reason to stay here unless you're resting up or recovering from the trip from Panama. At just 50m above sea level, steamy Neily serves as a regional transportation hub and agricultural center, and is decidedly lacking in tourist appeal.

Neily is located on the west bank of the Río Corredor, on the north side of the Interamericana. From here the Interamericana continues 17km to Panama, while Rte 16 makes a beeline north to the attractive mountain village of San Vito.

To the south, the lowlands are carpeted in the banana and palm plantations of the Valle de Coto Colorado, and in the north, the Fila Costeña is the source of spectacular mountain scenery.

There is a Banco Coopealianza, just southwest of the mercado (market), that has a 24-hour ATM on the Cirrus network.

If you stay the night here, there's are plenty of budget dives, but only one good option, Hotel Andrea. Paths of terracotta tiles are brightly scrubbed, leading guests through the maze of yellow buildings to cool, whitewashed rooms. The heavy-handed Romanesque columns might look a bit like Caesar's Palace (the Las Vegas one), but the rooms are a good value, very secure and all have Adirondack chairs outside their doors for guests to enjoy the sun. There's even a nice restaurant onsite, one of the best in Neily, which serves pancakes and honey, omelets, fresh fish and steaks, among other things. Dinner is about US$10.