Pérez Zeledón (canton)

canton in San José province, Costa Rica

Pérez Zeledón is the name of the 19th canton of the province of San José in Costa Rica. The canton has an area of 1,905.51 square kilometres (735.72 sq mi),.[3] It has a population of 134,534.[4] The capital city of the canton is San Isidro de El General.

Pérez Zeledón
Flag of Pérez Zeledón
Coat of arms of Pérez Zeledón
Pe Zeta (Spanish)
Anthem: Himno Municipal de Pérez Zeledón
Pérez Zeledón canton in San José province
Pérez Zeledón canton in San José province
Coordinates: 9°20′28″N 83°44′26″W / 9.34111°N 83.74056°W / 9.34111; -83.74056
CountryCosta Rica
ProvinceSan José
EstablishedOctober 9, 1931
Named forPérez Zeledón
CapitalSan Isidro de El General
11 districts (distritos)
  • San Isidro de El General
  • El General
  • Daniel Flores
  • Rivas
  • San Pedro
  • Platanares
  • Pejibaye
  • Cajón
  • Barú
  • Río Nuevo
  • Páramo
 • Mayor[1]Vera Violeta Corrales (Partido Liberación Nacional)
 • Total1,905.51 km2 (735.72 sq mi)
 • Total134,534
 • Density71/km2 (180/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-6

The canton's boundaries are made by Río Savegre river, Río Guabo river, and the coastal mountain ranges. The canton has the highest mountains peaks of the Cordillera de Talamanca (Talamanca Mountain Range) on the east. In the middle of the canton, the Río General river goes from north to south.



The canton of Pérez Zeledón is divided into 11 districts (distritos):[5]

  1. San Isidro de El General
  2. General
  3. Daniel Flores
  4. Rivas
  5. San Pedro
  6. Platanares
  7. Pejibaye
  8. Cajón
  9. Barú
  10. Río Nuevo
  11. Páramo



The canton of Pérez Zeledón was made 9 October 1931. It was granted 4 districts: Ureña, El General, Daniel Flores, and Rivas. Ureña was the capital.[6]

Early Costa Rican Settlements


At the end of the 19th century, between 1870 and 1899, there were a few families living in the El General valley. The hamlets (Spanish: Caseríos) of El General, Palmares, Rivas, and Ureña were populated from 1900 onward.[6]

The Caserío of Ureña grew more. By 1911, during Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno's government, the Refuges of Ojo de Agua, El Cerro de la Muerte, and División were created. These refuges further advanced the growth of the region.[6]

Costa Rican Civil War


San Isidro de El General, Pérez Zeledón's capital, was given the title of Ciudad Mártir. This was because of the civil war of 1948 that happened here.

Decree Nº274 gave the city its title.[7] This decree established official recognition of the city's participation in the civil war of 1948. A section of the decree states (in Spanish):

la Junta Fundadora de la Segunda República, apreciando el noble esfuerzo y la valiosa contribución de San Isidro de El General, se siente obligada a hacer un público y oficial reconocimiento de tan loable conducta para que de ninguna manera quede ella relegada al olvido, sino que constantemente sea exaltada como merecen los grandes hechos dignos de vida eterna en los fastos nacionales.

Which in English would translate into:

The Founding Group of the Second Republic, appreciating the effort and contribution of San Isidro de El General, wants to make a public and official recognition of such conduct. Let it constantly be praised as good things are worthy of eternal national praise.

Pérez Zeledón was also the location of major battles during the Costa Rican Civil War. One battle was the Battle of San Isidro de El General. It happened around 6:30 am. 200 government forces fought the rebels at the city's central park. The battle was won by José Figueres Ferrer and his rebels. This battle secured the southern pacific region of Costa Rica for the rebels.[8]


Chirripó National Park 3820 meters above sea level
Picture of Cerro Chirripó

The canton of Pérez Zeledón's economy is characterized by agriculture, livestock, trade, industry and tourism. One fact that has helped this economy is the canton's geographic location; it is a 'bridge' between Costa Rica's capital (San José) and the southern areas that border Panamá.

Important farming activities:

The first two products are the most important in the region.

Livestock activities are also important. Pigs and cattle being the most important. The cattle is used for meat and dairy products.

Commercial activities have also become important. There are important credit unions, banks, local companies, media, and various other companies of the San José operating in the canton.



Its main attraction is ecological diversity. There is the Chirripó National Park (one of the highest peak in Central America and the Caribbean).

Another park in the area is the Parque Internacional La Amistad.


12 de Marzo School, San Isidro de El General, Pérez Zeledón

The first elementary school in Pérez Zeledón was established during Ascensión Esquivel Ibarra's government (1902-1906). It was called Escuela Mixta de Ureña and was in the Ureña district, south of San Isidro de El General's central park. After the Costa Rican Civil War the school was moved to a new building. It currently has the name "Escuela 12 de Marzo", in honor of the start of the Costa Rican Civil War. It had just ended when the school was rebuilt at its current location.[9]


  1. "Lista de alcaldes electos 2010 - 2016 en los comicios municipales" [List of mayors elected 2010 - 2016 in the municipal elections] (in Spanish). El País. 2010-06-12. Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  2. "Pérez Zeledón, San José" (in Spanish). Instituto de Formacion y Estudios en Democracia. Archived from the original (Microsoft Excel) on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  3. Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN), 2001.
  4. "Costa Rica Población total por sexo, total de viviendas por ocupación y promedio de ocupantes según provincia, cantón y distrito". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  5. "División Territorial Administrativa de Costa Rica" (PDF) (in Spanish). Instituto de Fomento y Asesoria Municipal (IFAM). 5 May 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 August 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 [1] Archived 2011-08-09 at the Wayback Machine, Spanish, Official Government Webpage.
  7. "Decreto San Isidro de El General Ciudad Mártir – El Espíritu del 48". elespiritudel48.org.
  8. "Comunicado del Cuartel General del ELN – El Espíritu del 48". elespiritudel48.org.
  9. [2] Archived 2013-06-16 at the Wayback Machine, Official School Webpage (in Spanish).