The highest peak found in Costa Rica is Cerro Chirripo found in the fantastic Chirripo National Park, and that is just one of the many facets of the park.
From the top of Cerro Chirripo, you can view both the Pacific and the Caribbean if the sky is clear. This alone stands as reason to make the trip to the peak of the world’s 38th highest promontory. The ecosystems that make up Chirripo National Park are varied, and the forests can be described as both tropical and cloud forests. Towards the peak of Cerro Chirripo the land is arid and desert like making it reminiscent of the Rockies or Appalachian counterparts.
Cerro Chirripo may be the biggest attraction in the area, but it is not the only one. Chirripo National Forest is home to a plethora of ecosystems, animal life and plant life. There are hundreds of hiking trails, and what you are likely to find along the way will be worth preserving in memory or film for the rest of your days. The wet season from May to December will make Chirripo a difficult trek, but the dry season harbors dangers of wildfires. The last major wildfire happened in 1992.
Expect to see goldfinches, hummingbirds, flycatchers, climbers, warblers, escarcheras, owls and quetzals among the wildlife found in Chirripo National Park. There will probably be a number of birders in the park, and you might want to ask them to point out the more spectacular varieties. Be sure to do so in hushed tones. Other animals in Chirripo include rabbits, jaguars, tapirs, coyotes, squirrels, peccaries and pumas.
The lowland tropical forests look nothing like the higher elevation cacti and shrubs. The diversity of the primary forest disappears at around 9000 feet up the 12,530 foot Cerro Chirripo. Of the vegetation found in Chirripo, there is cañuela Batamba (Batamba fescue), mosses, ferns, bromeliads, palm trees and orchids. The cloud forest is also a purveyor of some enormous and beautiful trees such as evergreens and oak trees.
Chirripo National Park is found between the provinces of San Jose, Limon and Cartago. Some of the nearby cities and towns include San Rafael and Palmares, and when planning for your trip to Chirripo you should bring climbing gear (i.e. ropes, carabiners, hammers, etc.), hiking boots, a sleeping bag, tent, binoculars, a camera and food supplies.
Location: Chirripo National Park
Items to bring: climbing gear (i.e. ropes, carabiners, hammers, etc.), hiking boots, a sleeping bag, tent, binoculars, a camera, food supplies
Species of fauna: goldfinches, hummingbirds, flycatchers, climbers, warblers, escarcheras, owls, quetzals, rabbits, jaguars, tapirs, coyotes, peccaries, pumas
Species of flora: cañuela Batamba (Batamba fescue), mosses, ferns, bromeliads, palm trees, orchids, evergreens, oak trees
Cities nearby: San Rafael, Palmares
Ways to get here: Rental Car, Taxi, Private Shuttle, Hike (much of the area is only accessible by foot)