Cerro Chirripo | Costa Rica, 2000

Distance :  26.1 miles (42 km)b_10

Avg.Time :  2 days

Start / Finish :

Season :

  • The dry season is from December to April.  Outside of these months you will see very few people on the trail.
  • During the wet season, it generally doesn’t rain before midday. Could be a good option if you are an early starter and want to avoid the crowds.

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Maps / Info :

  • You can pick up a permit and basic trail map from the ranger station. Situated one kilometre before the village of San Gerado de Rivas, the station is your best source of up-to-date information regarding Chirripo National Park.
  • For a general overview of the route to the summit, try Lonely Planet’s Costa Rica guidebook.

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Route / Conditions :

  • The main trail from San Gerado de Rivas to Chirripo summit (3820m) is well marked and easy to follow.
  • The trail climbs some 2500m, however, the ascent is a gradual one, and anyone with a reasonable level of fitness should be fine.
  • Starting from the pasture lands around San Gerado de Rivas (1350m), you ascend gradually into tropical lowland montane forests. From there you continue climbing into montane/evergreen forests, before finally emerging above the tree line into the windswept landscapes of the Paramo (tundra).


  • There are no water sources until half way up the ascent at the Llano Bonito shelter. Carry at least two or three litres from San Gerado de Rivas.
  • Views from the summit are a highlight. Be sure to make an early start from the El Paramo hostel (3392m).


Sleeping :

  • Officially speaking, camping is not permitted on the main trail to Chirripo. There is a large mountain hostel at El Paramo, 5km from the summit. Make your booking at the ranger station.

Overview :

  • The two things that really stood out for me about the Chirripo hike, were the sheer diversity of flora and fauna and the wonderful views during the final climb to the summit.
  • There is a hot springs a couple of kilometres from the ranger station, which is perfect for an after-hike bath. Ask in San Gerado for details on how to get there.

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