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Experience Chirripó, a hike to the highest point of Costa Rica

The Chirripó with a height of 3´820 meters about sea level is the highest point in Costa Rica. It’s located at the National Park that got the same name and houses a great diversity. There are three types of forests that you can appreciate while hiking up. 

We start with the humid tropical forest, then, as the altitude of the trail increases, we find the cloud forest and its magical diversity of mosses, fungi, and birds; Once at approximately 3´000 meters above sea level, we will discover the beautiful sub-alpine moor.

aves chirripo

To enjoy the Chirripó National Park the best possible way, I recommend staying at least two nights at the hostel since the physical effort is very demanding to go up one day and down the next one. In the following, I will describe to you day by day what the Chirripó experience is about. So let’s start:

Day 1: On the way to San Gerardo de Rivas, de Perez Zeledón

Besides the two recommended nights to stay at the hostel, it is also important to stay one night in San Gerardo de Rivas, a community located at the main entrance of the Chirripó National Park. 

There are different hotels, and they are quite basic but fulfil their function, as they are the starting point for the adventure. On this day you can arrive around 3 p.m.

Important for this day:

Go to the office of the Chirripó National Park to check-in and that they give you the bracelet.

Go to the office of Consorcui, an organization responsible for the lodging and logistic, to organize everything related to the luggage and food.

Don’t forget to ask for breakfast for day 02 in the hotel where you stay this night.

Day 2: The challenge and adventure starts

The reason why you should stay in the town of San Gerardo de Rivas is to be close to the entrance of the National Park to start the hike early in the morning. The main advice of the experts for anyone who wants to take the adventure and hike up the Chirripó is to go in your tempo according to your physical condition, in order to not demand more than your body can give, to successfully take the task of the day: arrive at the Chirripó hostel! In other words, hike from 1´520 Meters above sea level at the starting point to 3´393 meters above sea level, where the hostel is located. This is a total distance of 14.5 km.

Camino al Chirripo

It is a very demanding hike, but you will fall in love with the landscapes! The best thing is when you get to see the Crestone in the distance (an emblematic rock formation of the Chirripó)! A reward to give you strength and continue the walk until you arrive at the hostel.

Crestones a lo lejos Chirripo


When you get there, you can eat your well deserved and delicious lunch! After you relaxed a little bit you can go in the afternoon to explore the surroundings. I recommend a perfect viewing point to appreciate and enjoy the sunset, which is located on the way to one of the attractions of the park called Sabana de Los Leones. This viewpoint will leave you speechless when you see how the sun hides behind the clouds at more than 3´000 meters. This is an unforgettable experience!

Atardecer Chirripo

Important at this day: Hotel at the Chirripó National Park

An association of people of the town of San Gerardo de Rivas has a hostel for those who want to experience the Chirripó. It houses up to 60 people and is located in the National Park. The rooms have two individual chambers, so 4 people per room. They also offer a food service which you have to organize when you register at the office or when you make the reservation. Remember that you can’t cook there, but they offer a chef service.

To warm up a little bit you can buy hot drinks since on the top the temperatures are very low and in the coldest month it can get to 0 or below, but you can just pay them in cash.

Day 3: Go to the summit and explore the surroundings

Something essential to do when you visit this National Park is to climb to the summit! It’s about 5 km from the hostel. You can see the sunrise at the summit, even though it’s more relaxed to eat breakfast at the hostel around 5:30 am and climb to the summit around 6:00 am. 

Lagunas Chirripo


This day is to explore the surroundings of the park, for example, the landscapes are incredibly beautiful, on the way to the summit you can see lagoons, rocky mountains, unique vegetation, impressive valleys and all of this together with the hike makes you enjoy every second of the adventure!

When you get closer to the Cerro Chirripó the summit is getting more difficult. To get to the top, you have to climb with your arms and legs. In other words, you need your hands to push yourself to get to the highest point, 3´820 meters above sea level. When you achieve this, enjoy a few minutes there, take photos and appreciate the landscape because you don’t reach the highest point of Costa Rica every day!

This day is to continue enjoying it! Another recommendation is to hike to the famous Crestones. The relief of the path is very steep, but when you reach the top you will say: “It was worth it!”. It is a place that enchants anyone with its beauty.

Crestones Chirripo Parque Nacional

Once you achieved this goal, you can continue exploring or go back to the hostel to relax and wait that the sun reflects in the Crestones, which you can see from the hotel.

Important at this day:

Ask for breakfast for day 04.

Day 4: Descent! The way back to San Gerardo

The best time to start the hike back is early in the morning. It’s recommended to get to San Gerardo at noon, so you can get prepared for the rest of the way back. When you leave early, you will have the luck to see a beautiful sunrise and hear the birds singing and welcoming the new day.

In the middle of the way, you can make a stop at Llano Bonito, because there is a picnic area for all hikers and a food stand, where you can buy a hot coffee and breakfast.

Hongos Chirripo

Many people say that the way down is more difficult than the way up, and my advice is to take hiking shoes in one size bigger than you usually wear because the descent causes a lot of impacts and you might lose some of your nails if you don’t follow this advice!

When you arrive at San Gerardo and just finished a 14,5 km hike, there is nothing better than taking a shower and eating a delicious lunch! The restaurant of the Hotel Urán offers exquisite dishes, exactly what you need after a great physical exercise.


If you like blooms, November is an excellent month to admire this phenomenon.

Floracion Chirripo Paramo

When you check-in at the association (Consorcio Aguas Eternas), you have to register and give them the luggage you want to be transported with the muleteer service (like this, you carry just the essential), like warm clothes for the hostel, snacks for those days, personal articles, an extra pair of shoes, and other things. The price is charged per kilogram and is a little high (about 5 USD per kg per way), so I recommend you to take just what you need. Contact me to give you some tips about what to bring and how to distribute the weight. 

And how the slogan of the Chirripó says: You have to live it! Or how the saying goes: “To hear a story is not the same as living it”. So don’t wait, I invite you to include a hike at the Chirripó, to the highest point of Costa Rica to your vacation. Just This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I would love to give you my advice about this adventure. 

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  • Janaina & Dieter, Brazil

    The trip was wonderful! Your help was invaluable and without your choices it would not have been so good! I am very very satisfied and very happy with the choices you made!

    Thank you very much for everything!

    Janaina & Dieter, Brazil
  • Kathrin, Ines, Matthias & Ingo, Germany

    Hello dear Aline, many thanks to you for the great compilation and organization of the trip. We were able to spend eventful, interesting and wonderful days in Costa Rica and will keep them in good memory. A thank you also goes to the ARA Tours team, which was available 24/7 for problems and questions, which were solved and answered quickly and reliably. The punctuality of the transfers offered should also be emphasized. In summary, it was a wonderful holiday.

    Kind regards

    Kathrin, Ines, Matthias & Ingo, Germany
  • Carina & Thomas, Germany

    Hello dear Aline,
    Now we have arrived back at San Jose Airport after a great trip. Everything worked out great and the tour was just perfectly planned and organized. Thank you very much. We take a lot of positive memories with us.
    Best regards.

    Carina & Thomas, Germany
  • Yvonne, Switzerland

    The Costa Rica trip together with my family is already behind us - it was wonderful!!! Everything went smoothly from A to Z, we had a wonderful time, no incidents and wonderful experiences.
    We all enjoyed it very much; the nature is enormous, but also the warm-hearted people, the cleanliness, the food - we are very enthusiastic!
    At this point I would like to thank you very much for your support in the preparation, for all the bookings, clarifications and enquiries!!!
    We visited the waterfall in La Fortuna and had a great view of the Arenal. In Monteverde we did a Hanging Bridges and Zipline tour and in Nosara a surf course. In Finca Rosa Bianca we did the coffee tour, it was all great, fun and interesting 😊. All in all, we saw lots of animals, always ate well, enjoyed the beaches....even in rainy weather 😊. Often we were even glad that it was overcast, otherwise it would have been almost toouuu hot for us.
    So THANK YOU again so much for everything!!!!

    Yvonne, Switzerland
  • Christina, Switzerland

    Many thanks for the extensive support (before, during and after the trip) and the professional handling of our concerns. With your support we had a smooth and unforgettable vacation in Costa Rica! Our favorite hotels: Hotel Plaza Yara and the Poas Volcano Lodge - a dream!
    All the best

    Christina, Switzerland
  • Jeanne, Bernd & Bill, USA

    Yay! I´m glad we are back on track. Thank you again for helping us with all these changes.
    I´m glad we choose ARA-you are amazing! Thanks for all your help! It made it a very memorable visit!

    Jeanne, Bernd & Bill, USA
  • Janka, The Netherlands

    Hi Eli & ARA Team,
    We have spoken to the guest and they are super enthusiastic about their Costa Rica roundtrip! Everything was well organized, nice hotels, nice mix of activities & beach and they have big compliments for you guys!!
    Many thanks for all the good work!! The guest highly appreciate it!!
    They had lunch nearby in Ara Ambigua Lodge, and they loved this place. Friendly staff and good food!
    Do you work with this accommodation? If so, we would love hear 😊
    Once again, heads off for this amazing trip!
    With warm regards

    Janka, The Netherlands
  • Thomas, Deborah, Eva & Paula, Switzerland

    Dear Priska
    Happily I write some words to you in English, so you can easily forward them also to Ara Tours, please. Thank you all, we spent a magic time in Costa Rica! Baumeler's and Ara Tours organisation and logistics were perfect, everything worked out even better than we expected. The tours were brilliant, we really enjoyed everything very very much!
    All the accomodation was absolutely wonderful... the setting, the quality, the food, with happy helpful friendly staff everywhere. It was a wonderful way to experience this beautiful country the way we did, on a private tour with personal guide and drivers. We saw and learnt sooo much - it would have been impossible to do so on our own.
    Especially we praise our brilliant guide Fernando Perez, we benefited so much from his truly wide knowledge and deep love for his Country which he passed on in lovely encouraging way. We even became friends and we will meet in Switzerland coming September! Also our driver Carlos Sandi was great, not only as a driver but also as a compagnion, animal spotter and photographer. Thank you!
    So.... now we just enjoy our last day...
    Sunny greetings, pura vida

    Thomas, Deborah, Eva & Paula, Switzerland
  • Yvonne & Andrea, Switzerland

    Hello all
    Unfortunately, our wonderful trip is already over and everyday life has caught up with us again. We would like to thank you very much for everything. The trip was planned exactly according to our wishes and we have seen so many beautiful places.
    Thank you Stefanie!
    We have felt completely comfortable and top cared for by you. Via Whats App we got immediate answers to our questions, with the car everything worked out great. In all locations we were treated very warmly and nicely. It was just so indescribably beautiful, we will dream of the beautiful experiences for a long time. In any case, we will warmly recommend you and hope for a next time. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Best regards.

    Yvonne & Andrea, Switzerland
  • Anita, Switzerland

    We have arrived safely in Switzerland and have already returned to work.
    It was a wonderful trip you put together for us.
    Your excellent service, as well as the 24 hour support service from ARA Tours, was truly outstanding.
    I have already recommended you several times and would book with you again and again. Thank you very much and keep me informed if there are any interesting offers.
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    Anita, Switzerland
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    Hello Pedro, our time in CR is coming to an end and we wanted to say "thank you very much for organizing a phenomenal week". Everything has been well organized and we have seen many beauties of nature. Thanks!

    Lukas & Isabelle, Switzerland
  • Reinout & Yvonne, The Netherlands

    Thanks Jenny for the clear answer. We will make an appointment via the link you gave us.
    Today we visited National Parc Cabo Blanco. What an amazing park, so quiet for tourists, so full of animals, really lovely and therefore together with Monte Verde, Cahuita and Corcovado the park today, Cabo Blanco, scores high in our ranking of most beautiful parks of CR.These parks give us reason, together with the Pura Vida in CR, to come back soon. We'll keep in contact.

    Reinout & Yvonne, The Netherlands
  • Dominik, Germany

    Good day Jennifer
    As we have already told Simone, the stay at Lapa Rios is extremely enriching, thanks to the well planned planting and the untouched environment we see a lot of animals. Contrary to the plans before the stay, we do not want to visit more animals in captivity at the end. We will have a look at the few hours before we leave.
    We thank you and your team very much for the excellent advice and the permanent support! We can only recommend Ara Tours.
    Best regards.

    Dominik, Germany
  • Daniel, Jana & Theo, Germany

    A big thank to you, you saved our vacation!
    Communication already worked very well in Germany. The help from you, especially through Aline, should be mentioned here. This was fantastic from the first WhatsApp message to the last. We already know Costa Rica, so we knew what we wanted and what not. Ara Tours was an important point of contact for us. We are very grateful to Aline precisely because our actual travel agent cancelled our trip 36 hours before departure. She immediately organized everything for us. Whether the hotel in beautiful Punta Leona, the tours to the national parks, even the shuttle service with the great driver Guillerno Ortega has to be mentioned here. We are very grateful to you, dear Aline, but also to the entire Ara Tours team. You too made our almost 3-week trip to Costa Rica unforgettable again. We would love to come back and of course we will book through Ara Tours again.

    Daniel, Jana & Theo, Germany
  • Alexander & family, Switzerland

    Thank you, everything really worked out great. Super organization and at any time quick info / help / support from you!
    We liked it very much. The conclusion in Quepos was crowning. We liked the beach in the National Park Manuel Antonio very much. We would have liked to stay longer, but we take home many wonderful, unforgettable impressions. PURA VIDA!
    Many thanks to you Aline! We will gladly recommend you to others.

    Alexander & family, Switzerland
  • Neumann Family, Germany

    - The route was super planned, first on the beach time to arrive and then only from Monteverde with excursions inland etc. and at the end again beach - perfect!
    - Support from Ara Tours was VERY good!!! Through Whatsapp reachability the service was great, very quick answers / very flexible, good suggestions etc. Also with the doctor Ara Tours helped with translations by phone - that was really very, very good!
    - The home stay day was an absolute highlight - very authentic - so we got to know the locals REAL, the family was super friendly and very open and have talked about everything. Not at all touristy perceived.

    Neumann Family, Germany
  • Marine & Bruno, France

    We would like to thank you personally for this beautiful trip that you organised for us and for the follow-up that you did throughout the stay. A big thank you also to Jennifer d'Ara tours! Thank you again and have a great week!

    Marine & Bruno, France
  • Walter, Switzerland

    We really appreciated your (almost) daily updates from Costa Rica on Covid and related issues. That was a highlight compared to other incoming agents worldwide! We thank you for your effort and wish you that you manage the coming time well and stay healthy.

    Walter, Switzerland
  • Ronald, Germany

    Our great compliments for keeping us informed every day on the developments. We wish you all the best and keep yourself and families in good health and mood during this unprecedented period!

    Ronald, Germany
  • Kathrin, Germany

    You are really super! It is impressive how you manage the crisis with your super flow of information and the great reversal. Hats off!

    Kathrin, Germany
  • Michael, Germany

    Hello, we were on a round trip in Costa Rica from 27.11., which was booked through BigXtra and organised by them. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much. The tour was simply amazing! The support by Carlos was just great. We have done many trips before, but this one was an unforgettable experience thanks to Carlos. Carlos speaks very good German and was able to sensitively introduce us to Costa Rica, its incomparable nature and its great, friendly inhabitants. Pura Vida became for us a term for the attitude towards life in Costa Rica. Please say hello to Carlos from us and once again a huge thank you to him in the name of the whole group of 8. We wish him only the best for his future.

    Michael, Germany
  • Evelyne, Switzerland

    Wie just did a 4 week trip in Costa Rica which was organised from ARA tours and we really liked it - well done Ara Tours! We also had a guide - his name is Enrique. His German is really good and he knows a lot about Costa Rica and he showed us a lot of animals. We had a wonderful time with hime - thank you so much Enrique!

    Evelyne, Switzerland
  • Tanja, Germany

    perfect tour perfect tour guide pablo, everything very well organised 👍👍👍👍🇨🇷🇨🇨🇷 were thrilled

    Tanja, Germany
  • Ines, Germany

    Many thanks and great praise to our tour guide Mauricio and our bus driver Adrian! We felt very comfortable during the 2 weeks in Costa Rica. The wide-ranging knowledge of Mauricio and the super driving skills of Adrian were particularly admirable. Thanks to the eagle eyes of both of them, we had the opportunity to observe a variety of animals in Costa Rica. Thank you for everything!

    Ines, Germany
  • Sabine, Germany

    I can only recommend ARA Tours. Thanks again to Nicole for the great planning of the tour and the support. Our tour guide Peter Käser was simply incredible (a walking encyclopaedia) and always had an answer to all my questions about the flora and fauna and the history of CR. Our driver Julio carried my father on his hands, for which I am very grateful. CR is also worth a trip for wheelchair users at any time (with ARA Tours, of course).

    Sabine, Germany
  • Thieme Family, Germany

    We would like to thank you once again for organizing our trip [...] through the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Our special thanks go to our tour guide Enrique, who with his extensive knowledge of flora and fauna about his country brought it very close to us and made us want to come even a second time. We were very glad and happy to travel with him, as he was also very committed to our problems on site, in addition to his competent function as a tour guide.

    Thieme Family, Germany
  • Antonia-Maria & Boris, Austria

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sensational effort! I do not know such a competent tour guide as with you really from nowhere else... and we have already traveled a lot... 🙏🏻🍀

    Antonia-Maria & Boris, Austria
  • Katja, Germany

    I wanted to thank you again for the great Costa Rica trip. We flew back home very happy and with many great impressions. A compliment for the super organisation. Everything worked out perfectly (except for the handover of the rental car, which was force majeure...). So thank you again and I have already recommended you to friends:-)!

    Katja, Germany
  • Denise & Alain, Switzerland

    Thank you very much for your email and the tickets. We really appreciate how quickly and efficiently you deal with our requests each time!

    Denise & Alain, Switzerland
  • Philippe, Switzerland

    Hello Christine Thank you very much for this information. The support is super👍 many thanks Gruss

    Philippe, Switzerland
  • Marianne & Stefan Gräub, Switzerland

    Otherwise, the planned trip was a complete success. Everything went well and the visits you organised were all very interesting. The visits you organised were all very interesting and gave us a great insight into the respective topics. The fact that the Ticos are very friendly and always ready to help was fully confirmed.

    Marianne & Stefan Gräub, Switzerland

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