Costa Rica // The Zona Norte //

Los Chiles

The only reason tourists make it to LOS CHILES, a border settlement just 3km from the Nicaraguan frontier, is to break their journey on the way to Caño Negro, 25km downstream on the Río Frío, or to cross the Nicaraguan border – although the majority of travellers still cross at Peñas Blancas, further west on the Interamericana. There’s little to do in town other than soak up its end-of-the-world atmosphere – the highway peters out just beyond Los Chiles in the direction of the Río San Juan, leaving nowhere to go but the river – though you can while away some time wandering down to the docks, where the tumbledown houses evoke a forlorn, France-in-the-tropics feel.