Sportfishing

The trout fishing in the Río Savegre is excellent: May and June are the best months for fly fishing and December to March for lure fishing. A number of trout farms surround the village as well.

Feature: Talamanca Trout Fishing

While most sportfishers flock to the coast for a big catch, the crystal-clear waters and the cool air of the cloud forest make for a hypnotic, tranquil setting, and the fish – here, rainbow trout – are no less tasty.

The trout here are not native. Supposedly, they were first introduced to Central American rivers by the US military in Panama and the healthy fish made their way north into Costa Rican waters.

In order to maintain healthy populations, fishers are strongly encouraged to limit stream fishing to catch-and-release. If you want to take home your trout for dinner, fish in one of the local spring-fed ponds, which are well stocked with 30cm to 50cm trout. Success is guaranteed and you just pay for what you take home (about US$4.50 per kilogram). This is a great option for kids and folks with poor fishing karma.

Birdwatching & Hiking

One of the best places to go birdwatching and hiking in the area is Parque Nacional Los Quetzales, though you're just as likely to spot the elusive quetzal along the private trails in the grounds of Savegre Hotel and Paraíso Quetzal Lodge, the latter a little way from San Gerardo (both allow access to nonguests for a fee), or at a particular spot along the river (ask your lodgings where it is), which gets crowded with binocular-bearing twitchers at dawn. Your accommodations can arrange a birding guide for Parque Nacional Los Quetzales to maximize your chances of spotting the likes of collared trogons and emerald toucanets, as well as the quetzal. One particularly excellent local guide and quetzal expert who speaks perfect English is Raul Chacón.

Quetzals are easily spotted every April and May (during breeding season) and are fairly common throughout the rest of the year. An especially nice place to photograph them and other birds is the lovely Batsù Garden.

For those interested in hiking, a challenging 9km trail runs up from San Gerardo to Cerro de la Muerte; the trailhead is in the Savegre Hotel grounds. It's easier to hike down (five hours), but best done with a guide as the trailhead down is not as easy to find as the one going up. Those who wish to do extensive hiking in the area are advised to collect maps before they arrive, and those less ambitious can enjoy an easy 1km trail that rambles along the Río Savegre to a pretty waterfall at the south end of the San Gerardo valley.