Chirripó and the Chirripó trek
Chirripó National Park protects 50,150 hectares of high elevation terrain. Cloud forest (above 8250 ft elevation) covers half the park.
Chirripó is also connected to La Amistad National Park, making this largest tract of protected forest in
Central America. On the top of Chirripó mountain there are numerous lakes
and this is the headwaters for many streams and rivers. "Chirripó" in the language of the indigenous people of the Talamanca
mountains means "Place of eternal waters".
Chirripo ticketing has changed. Click here for details!
If you want to climb Chirripó mountain, you must reserve and pay online. Just follow the link for detailed information.
(How do I get Tickets?)
The uphill trail is steep and can take up to 12 hours in poor conditions for
slow trekkers. Most hikers can do it in 6 to 8 hours so start your hike early in the morning.
The trek is 14.5 km to the base camp (Centro Ambientalista el Páramo) and then another 5.1 km to the
top. It is better to climb only to the base camp the first day
and continue the next day to the summit.
At the 7.5 Km mark (Llano Bonito) there is a shelter where you may refill your water bottle. At 14.5 Km you
reach the base camp, which is very basic with bunk beds, no heating and no hot showers. Blankets, pillows, a towel and a sleeping bag are provided with your reservation.
You may either bring cold food or purchase hot food from the restaurant at Crestones Base Camp.
The hike can be very difficult
but it is worth it. If clear, you can see the stunning views of
the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
See Hiker's Checklist
Costa Rica Bureau to here
average temperatures and conditions
Camp has an elevation of 11,152 ft (3400 meters) with daytime temperature 40 to
65°F (4 to 18°C) and nighttime 30 to 35°F (minus 1 to 2°C)
Weather on Chirripó is unpredictable and potentially dangerous if
you are not prepared.
Bitterly cold winds can exceed 100 kph with wind chill dropping
Rain is always a possibility, especially in midtoafternoon.
Temperatures usually fall to freezing or below during the night.
to get here (Map)
By Car From San Isidro:
Proceed south on the Panamerican Highway, route 2, for about 1 km (from the cathedral) you will see a sign for Parque Nacional Chirripo
as you pass over El Jilguero bridge. Get in the left turn lane at the light. A supermarket called Maxi Bodega should be on your left.
At the light turn left up the ramp - road and stay left. After about 8 km you will cross a bridge into the village of Rivas.
Follow the pavement. At the end of the pavement is a Cerro Chirripo Park sign: turn right onto an uphill paved road.
Continue for about 11 km, passing through the villages of Chimerol, Canaan to San Gerardo de Rivas (elevation 1350 meters).
The Park Office (SINAC) is located at the entrance to San Gerardo village, just after the Bar Marin on your left. Continue across the Rio Blanco bridge and up the paved road to the San Gerardo village center (church, soccer field, school). Here you will find the Chirripo Services Lodging office for Crestones base camp. There is a general grocery store across from the soccer field.
To Casa Mariposa: continue past the church in San Gerardo and stay to the right on the main road. You will cross
the Quebrada Chispa Bridge and then the Rio Chirripo Bridge. Continue up the steep road, keeping left, until you reach
Casa Mariposa on your left just beyond the Uran restaurant.
By Bus from San Jose:
Take a cab to the MUSOC bus station in San Jose (2222-2422). You will want to buy a bus ticket for San Isidro del General. Buses leave
hourly every day from 5:30am to 5:30pm. It is important to be there at least one hour in advance to get your tickets,
(office hours are from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The beautiful journey to San Isidro will take approximately 3 hours.
PLEASE KEEP YOUR VALUABLES ON YOU WHEN RIDING THE BUSES.
In San Isidro it is advisable to take a 4X4 taxi for about $30to34 to Casa Mariposa. Taxis often come by the bus depot but if you
can not find a 4X4 or a red, legal taxi head towards the town centre (by the big church). To get there take a right out of the
bus depot and head downhill. Take a second right at the MacDonalds and the centre is on your left a few blocks down.
If you have time and you want to take the local bus here are details of the service between San Isidro and San Gerardo de Rivas:
Bus from San Isidro to San Gerardo
The bus leaves from the Bus Station in the Mercado (market) south of the cathedral plaza. The bus marked San Gerardo leaves at the
Mondays through Saturdays:
*5:45, 8:30, 11:30 a.m., 2:30, 5:30
Sundays and holidays:
*9:30 a.m., 2:00 and 6:00 p.m.
.*as of February 9, 2015
The fare is 1100 colones (roughly $2)
More information at hernadezsolis.com
The 2:30pm bus can drop you off at the SINAC park office in time for checktoin if your are hiking Chirripo the following day.
The last stop is at the San Gerardo village center. There is a small grocery, a church and soccer field there.
Casa Mariposa is a lovely and hearty walk, 1.4 km, up the main road past the church. Cross the Quebrada Chispa Bridge, then the Rio Chirripo Bridge and continue up the final 450 meters to the Casa Mariposa, located just beyond the Uran restaurant
valley you can see cloudforests, waterfalls, Chirripó river, you
can visit local hot springs and especially climb the highest
mountain of Costa Rica Chirripó (3 820 m, 12 532 ft).
There is also troutfishing, horseback tours, art galleries, botanical gardens, hot springs, massage by a
certified masseuse and much more.
* 40to60 million
years ago in the Eocene by volcanic activity. The presence of
basaltic and andesitic rocks and tuffs are evidence
* 18 million years ago to
Tectonic folding followed by intense plutonic activity which
caused a rapid elevation of the entire area. This is Chirripo's granitic composition.
* 3to5 million years ago to
The definitive shape of the range was attained during the
* 25,000to30,000 years ago.
to Formation of glacial lakes by movement of ice which still
remain. There are utoshaped valleys, such as we can see in
Valle los Morenos, el Valle los Lagos, and el Valle Los Conejos
* Chirripó means
"Land of the Eternal Waters''. A Chirripó Trek in the rainy
season will provide views of numerous streams and brooks. On the top of Cerro
Chirripó Grande you will have a view of more than 30 lakes
and lagoons. Some of them disappear completely in the dry season.
* Many large rivers have
their source in the valleys of the Talamanca Mountain Range such
as Rio Chirripó Atlantico, Rio Telire, Rio Chirripó Pacifico and
the Rio Ceibo.
An extraordinary number of habitats can be found here,
as a result of the differences in altitude, soil type, climate
* Paramo to From 2,900m up
with mixed shrubs, grasses and perennial herbaceous plants of
Andean origin. Chusco is the dominant plant type
* Swamps to Composed of
herbaceous and shrub communities.
* Madrono Forests to
Predominant species of the upper parts of the park.
* Cloud Forest to Large
trees like the oak, sweet cedar, nargusta, elm, magnolia,
lancewood, and mountain cypress.
* Fern Groves to They are
mainly made up of the 1to2 meters high Lomaria fern and of
* 263 species of
amphibians and reptiles, and about 400 bird species have been
observed. Chirripó National Park shelters the largest population of
tapir in the country, puma jaguar, peccary, monkeys and many
other species of mammals.
* Among the birds should be
mentioned the most spectacular: The resplendent quetzal.
*Brave pretocolumbian Costa Ricans climbed the mountain for ceremonial purposes.
Each climber was given a special talisman to protect them from the spirit of the mountain.
In 1904 Agustin
Blessing, a priest and missionary of Talamancais, reported as the
1st nontoindigenous human reaching the summit.
* Following expeditions in
1905, 1913,1915, 1920, 1932 and 1942.
* From that time on many
expeditions have achieved the goal: Get to the second highest
peak in Central America: Mount Chirripó.
* On August 19th, 1975,
Chirripó National Park was officially established. The Park was
declared a "Biosphere Reserve'' by Unesco in 1982, and
of the "World Heritage Sites" in 1983.