Chirripo Trekking Expedition
Chirripo National Park where you have the highest mountain of Costa Rica: Chirripo Peak, is a magical place that has been considered a sacred place by the different tribes of Costa Rica for hundreds of years. Nowadays the visitors that go there think that there is some special feeling that rejoice and makes you to have some inner force that keeps you going. The peace and solitude founded in Chirripo park, full of oak trees, and moorland above the tree line, with lakes and lagoons originated in the last glacial era, complete this incredible setting.
You don't have a highway all the way to the top, not even a tram or ski lift. The last town is San Gerardo de Rivas, a small village at 1300 meters above the sea level, where they feel proud of the conservation efforts to keep the place as unspoiled as possible. From there you have a well kept trail, and 15 Km later ( and 2100 meters of vertical gain ) you find the Centro Ambientalista El Paramo at 3400 meters above the sea level, which is the only place where you are allowed to stay in the regular trip.
This lodge or refuge belongs to the National Parks System. Many improvements have been done to the Refuge over the years, and now they have a small hydro electric plant set in a small river right by the Refuge to have electricity. And well with AC now there are other amenities but the one that most of the visitors thanks is the Wi-Fi and two computers from where you can tell your family and friends that everything is OK. Besides that the place is really basic: you have rooms with two bunk beds, toilets and showers with really cold water (well... maybe if you are from Norway or Sweden is not that cold.. )
The community have the service of porters which, depending on the season and the amount of rain, could be a horse or one of the villagers taking your gear. So now you can hike all the way up with just your camera, a jacket, some food and other important but light things and send your main load all the way up.
From the refuge you still need to complete 10 more kilometers to get to the summit of the Cerro Chirripo, but with just a 400 meters gain. So it is a "pretty much flat" trail. There are many other places to visit during your trip there, so at the end you will pack under your belt many more kilometers. Places like Los Crestones (check the main picture at the very top!!), Cerro Terbi and Valle de las Morrenas really worth the extra hike.