This morning drive south following the Pan-American Highway through Cerro de la Muerte (Peak of Death, 11,000') and on to the Chirripó Highlands. You will be introduced to Talamanca’s forest and the surrounding Páramo forest which is home to the elusive Resplendent Quetzal and other cloud forest wildlife. Arrive to your lodge in the quaint village of San Gerardo de Rivas at the base of the Chirripo Mountain. The rest of the afternoon is yours free to enjoy the area.
You depart early morning to begin trekking into Chirripó National Park. The uphill trail is steep and can take up to 12 hours in poor conditions for slow trekkers. Fit, experienced hikers can do it in 6 to 7 hours. After passing the sign "Trail to Chirripo", you begin an uphill stretch called La Cuesta del Agua for about two hours. This climb crests at Monte Sin Fe ("Faithless Mountain"). Amongst the wildlife that you may encounter as you hike up and pass through dwarf cloud forests draped in "Old Man's Beard" mosses are monkeys, toucanets, trogons and several other species of birds. Today’s trek will finish at the Chirripo Shelter and Base Camp at 6 km below the summit where you will overnight. While temperatures may start out warm today, be prepared for chillier climates as you ascend. Costa Rica hikers have even found themselves in snow from time to time.
Rise before dawn this morning to trek to the summit of Mt. Chirripó before the fog rolls in. Chirripó National Park protects 50,150 hectares of high elevation terrain and cloudforest above 8,250' elevation covers half the park. Along the way you will pass by numerous lakes making it clear why the Talamancan Indians called it Chirripo or "Place of Enchanted Waters." If hiking on a clear day, the view to the Pacific and Atlantic is stunning. It's about a 1-2 hour ascent before descending to Valle de Los Conejos (Rabbit Valley). Hike to Cerro Terbi and Los Crestones before you continue descending to Refuge Llano Bonito and the mountain base. Transfer back to San Jose this afternoon.