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Added by Melanie Forbes

Beautiful viewsLakesRemote locationLots to explore

This hike needs to be decided on and reserved months ahead of time. If this is something that you may consider doing, you can call the National Park's office and try to reserve spaces at the base camp. You will need to make a payment into their bank account within 72hrs (and they don't accept international bank transfers or credit cards!!), but Casa Mariposa (a hostel in San Gerardo de Rivas) can set you up with their agent who will help with making the payments, etc. Avoid hotels which sell complete packages as they as selling something they can't guarantee, as they can't make reservations until they have all of your info.

In order to get to Chirripo, you will have to drive through San Gerardo de Rivas, where you will register for the National Park and register for the accommodation at the base camp, Albergue Crestones. I recommend you spend the night in San Gerardo de Rivas (at Casa Mariposa) and you will be able to walk to start of the trail within the town. You officially start at 4,987ft and will walk 15km to the base camp, which is at 10,170 ft.

Needless to say, there is a lot of altitude gain on this hike, but it is absolutely gorgeous. There is a hut half way, at 7.5km, that sells coffee, agua dulce, snacks, has bathrooms, and free refills for water. The hike can take anywhere from 5-8+ hours depending on the fitness level, but most people seem to arrive at the base camp in about 6 hours. Be prepared for cold weather, because at the base camp it is quite cool and summiting Cerro Chirripo can be very cold with winds (around 0c). You can't camp or cook your own meals in the National Park, so you will have to pay at the base camp for food. It is definitely pricey, but it is good. Although the hike is steep, you can send up your pack with a porter and with food and accommodation provided, it is a nice experience for individuals of all skill levels. The lodge provides pillows, cover sheet, and sleeping bag on every bed. The showers are cold water only, so keep that in mind.

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