Climb the highest mountain in Costa Rica
Part of the Talamanca Mountain range, Cerro Chirripo is one of the most exciting tours to do in this country! Because of its altitude, the flora and fauna change drastically. During the rainy season, there is sometimes snow on the summit! On clear days, it is possible to see both ocean, the Pacific, and the Atlantic over Guanacaste and way beyond the Costa Rican Borders. Ideally, the climb is done at night in order to enjoy the sunrise at the early hours. This hike is not for the faint-hearted. Hikers must climb with enough clothing and a sleeping bag to protect them from the cold and the rain. Although the hike is well worth it with magnificent views and an abundance of nature.
Climbing Cerro Chirripo
Before climbing you must obtain a permit from the National Park Office in San Gerardo de Rivas. They will also provide you with a guide. You will need to make a reservation beforehand. You can drop by the office or call to make a reservation. However, if you call you are more likely to be told that there is a waiting list! The 19,5 km trail will take you through a biodiversity that changes as you progress to the summit where you will find tundra-like climate.
There are two huts for camping overnight if you do not want to carry a tent. The climb is rather strenuous and only those who consider themselves fit enough should engage themselves in this adventure. The first hut is at Llano Bonito, roughly half way up. This is more an emergency shelter and if you are up to it keep going! The actual refugees are only 500 meters away from the peak giving you time to climb the last distance in time for sunrise in the morning. Make sure you have plenty of food, snacks, and water supply as well as plenty of sunscreens as the sun is strong at this altitude. Enjoy the beauty of the Cloud and Rain Forest of Costa Rica; feel the close contact with nature, it is truly awesome.
The Chirripo National Park
While most people are attracted to the challenging climb, the rain forest of the park is no less amazing. The biodiversity and beauty are unmatched! It’s worth looking into the tours and explorations you can do around the whole region. As you enter the park you find yourself in an evergreen lower mountain forest, making your way into rainforest as you move up. This is where you see the awesome and majestic giant trees, 50 meters high or more, huge plants, ferns, and bamboos.
As you go higher you begin to look out into the valley all the way down and you can see the canopy of the trees that are just below. The view is comparable to that of a view from a canopy tour! As you keep going the vegetation changes and the leaves become smaller. The crystal clear water of the stream and freshness of the air is such a contrast to what you experienced a few meters below. By the time you reach the refuge, you may wonder whether you have left the tropics because it gets fairly cold!
The Trip Of A Lifetime
This is yet another wonderful experience that only Costa Rica can offer. The diversity and beauty of Chirripo will leave you with a great feeling of pride and achievement. You will find Chirripo by taking the Pan-American Highway East of the Capital of San Jose, 50 km past Cartago. You will pass the notorious Cerro de la Muerte (Mountain of the Dead). Many years ago people lost their lives as they succumbed to the severe conditions while walking the pass when it was no more than a small trail. You will then pass through San Isidro El General and reach San Gerardo de Rivas a few miles later.
If you travel by bus, there is a daily departure from the Coca Cola bus terminal in central San Jose. You will find some reasonably priced lodgings outside the park in San Gerardo de Rivas. Hotel Monte Azul is a choice, being right by the entrance of the park, perfect for hiking. A trip to Cerro Chirripo is a memorable hike that will transport you to a world of beauty, peace and mystery way beyond your dreams…
Check out this amazing national park and others.