The Mines of Desmonte

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 years, who live in Atenas with my first wife, I try to find something special to do to take advantage of the short time that I have with them. One place that I like and know for over 25 years is “las Minas del Aguacate” located in San Mateo in the Province of Alajuela. These mines began to be exploited in 1821 during the gold fever and when they closed the mines, the place became surrounded with pools of water. It currently receives thousands of visitors each year who come and enjoy the waterfalls and natural springs. I went last April with my children accompanied also by my son’s girlfriend for a ride in the mines. We brought snacks and drinks and we stood at the edge of the largest pool of them all. At first the two girls did not want to get into the water; however Jourdan and I took only 2 minutes to jump from at least 6 meters high into the pool giving us an adrenaline rush after each dunk.

Las Minas Photo

After a while the girls lost their fear and they began to swim in the pool but refused to jump from the heights. However, just before we left, Bianca got on a lower ledge of about 4 meters high and jumped courageously into the pool with the applause of all the people around us. It was a beautiful moment especially since Bianca normally never takes any extreme risks. On our return from the mines we stopped at the famous cantina in downtown Desmonte where the specialty is Pork Chicharrones. It is prepared early in the morning in a giant pot directly across the street from the bar in order to draw attention with the rich smell of fried pork. The owner Victor has been serving customers at this same place for over 40 years!! After enjoying a few beers and some “Tapas” of chicharrones we returned to Atenas. Although it is only 20 minutes away, when you are in the mines and the jungle, you feel very isolated, like you are miles away from civilization.


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