Chirripo National Park

Chirripo National Park

Although the hike to the peak of Mount Chirripo may be one of the most strenuous and challenging of your life, you may be rewarded when you reach the summit with views of both the Pacific Ocean AND the Caribbean on a clear day. You could also encounter winds in Chirripo National park up to 100mph and temperatures below freezing (This is not a typo)! You may be near the equator, but at 12,530 feet, conditions will be much different than at sea level. It can take 6-10 hours to reach the base camp from the park entrance. There is no camping allowed, but with reservations, you can sleep at the 2 camps on the way to the summit in rustic bunk bed style huts. You must bring water (and a water purifying system), and food. During your hike you will see rainforest, cloud forest, and finally the tundra. Near the peak, you will see glacier lakes and an ecosystem similar to the Andes with mostly shrubs and herbaceous plants. Chirripo means “place of enchanted waters”, so you will also see much beauty on your way up as you pass inviting waterfalls where you can cool down.

To limit the impact on the environment of Chirripo national park, the park is limited to 35 hikers a day, so you must reserve with the park service in San Isidro. They only take reservations twice a year ? May 1st and Nov 1st. Park admission is $7 Jan – Aug and Nov – Dec (additional $3 per person for overnight). The drive from San Jose (about 3 hrs) is one of the most beautiful drives in the country, but go SLOW as this is a winding road at high elevations with only a few guard rails! But you will not be tempted to drive fast, as you view the breathtaking scenery.

Things to pack: sunscreen, warm clothing, food and water. You can rent the following items at the hostel near the top: blankets, camp stoves, and sleeping bags. You must report to the San Gerardo de Rivas National Parks Service the day before your climb.

The GPS coordinates of Chirripo National Park are Lat – 9.501, Long – 83.5381

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