The scenic road that winds through the high-altitude valleys from Empalme to San Pablo de León is appropriately called the Ruta de Los Santos. It's nicely paved to facilitate shipping the coffee produced in the region. On the 30-minute drive from Empalme to San Pablo de León Cortés, you travel through misty valleys ringed by precipitous mountain slopes terraced with lush, green coffee plants. The 24-km (15-mile) route also captures the essence of a fast-disappearing
traditional Tico way of life built around agriculture. Stately churches anchor bustling towns full of prosperous, neat houses with pretty gardens and vintage 1970s Toyota Land Cruisers in a rainbow of colors.