Why This Mountain?
Costa Rica has long been a place of fascination for me due to it’s culture and the Spanish language. When I was in college, I asked to use my 8 weeks vacation time to travel to Costa Rica and take a 6 week intensive Spanish immersion course. I was denied the time off from my employer and the desire to spend extensive time in Costa Rica festered inside of me. Later I would change jobs and spend 2 months exploring the the land of “Pura Vida”, as it is called.
This trip left an everlasting impression upon me for the kindness I encountered with the many people that I met and the excitement I felt for adventure on my travels. I truly believe my time in Costa Rica then was the spark that led me to where I am today, living my dreams and feeling the most alive I have ever felt in my life. My sport of choice at the time was scuba driving, and I took my passion for that to both the East and West Coast of Costa Rica while snorkeling, scuba diving and taking surf lessons.
Now that I am going back in Costa Rica with a TJ Hiker group, it makes sense to take my passion for hiking up to the countries highest peak. This hike can be done in one or two days, although it is recommended to be done in two days due to the strenuous nature of the hike.
Mountain & Route Facts
Cerro Chirripó is the highest mountain in Costa Rica, with an elevation of 3,820 metres (12,533 ft). It is located in the Chirripó National Park and is noted for its ecological wealth. The high peaks in this and La Amistad International Park host important areas of Talamancan montane forest and Costa Rican Páramo with high endemism and an extremely high biodiversity. The peaks of these mountains, because of their height, constitute sky islands for many species of plants and animals. Snow has not fallen on the peak in the past 100 years or so, according to the University of Costa Rica, but hail is reported sometimes.
The great height of Cerro Chirripó relative to its surroundings is also evidenced by its particularly high topographic prominence of 3,727 m (12,228 ft), which makes it the 37th most prominent peak in the world.
From the summit, it is possible on clear days to see all across the country from coast to coast, from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea.
Forest fires have occurred in 1976, in the 1990s, and in 2012.
Climbing Chirripó is possible by obtaining a permit, or not, from the National Park office in San Gerardo de Rivas. From the trailhead, the summit can be reached via a 19.5-kilometre (12.1 mi) hike.