A list of the most frequently asked questions about climbing Chirripó and visiting San Gerardo:
PLEASE NOTE – THIS WEBSITE IS UNABLE TO MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR YOU! IF YOU USE THE CONTACT FORM IT WILL GO TO OUR ADMINISTRATOR WHO CAN ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS BUT CANNOT MAKE ANY RESERVATIONS OR CONTACT THE PARKS RESERVATION SYSTEM. HOWEVER THERE ARE A NUMBER OF LOCAL COMPANIES WHO CAN MANAGE YOUR RESERVATIONS FOR YOU AND WE ARE HAPPY TO FORWARD YOUR REQUEST TO THEM.
Q: How do I reserve a park entrance permit and accommodation/meals on Mt Chirripo?
A: Reservations are now exclusively made online at SINAC RESERVATIONS Follow the instructions to create a profile and then choose ‘BUY” from the options. You will be booking Chirripo permits via the San Gerardo route
Accommodation, food, guides and porters must be booked through Chirripo Services (a community group) at (506)-2742-5097 or CHIRRIPO SERVICES Please remember that overnight hikes book up very fast so you should be ready to make your reservation when those months open for ticket sales.
Q: What are the hours of the Chirripó National Park office in San Gerardo?
A: Office hours are 6:30 am – noon; 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
Q: How much does it cost to enter Chirripó National Park?
A: $18 + 13% tax for non-nationals per day. Approximately $4 + 13% tax per night for Central American Residents.
Note: there is now a 3 night maximum stay / 2 nights maximum in the high season
Q: How do I get tickets to hike Chirripó?
A: Tickets are reserved online. There are NO walk-in tickets available any more.
The park is now open year round, there are no closures.
The reservable tickets go on sale on a quarterly basis:
Open in the first week of July for visits September – November inclusive
Open in the first week of October for visits December – February inc.
Open in the first week of January for visits March – May inc.
Open in the first week of April for visits June – August inc.
One person may reserve up to 6 tickets. You must provide the names and I.D. (passport or cedula) number for each hiker.
NOTE: Permits are non-transferable and non-refundable
Online payment is made by credit card and a voucher will be emailed.
(Lodging/meals reservations MUST be made within 10 days of booking your Park permits but may be paid when you arrive in the country by bank deposit, or by credit card or cash at their office in San Gerardo)
With the new system the Parks Office hopes to provide more tickets (52 per day) and a better service to hikers than previously.
All hikers must report to the National Park’s Office in San Gerardo to acquire their actual entry permit before entering the park (up to one day prior to hiking).
Q: Can my hotel get me tickets to hike Chirripó?
A: Yes, some local hotels offer packages to make your reservation process easier.
Q: Can I hike Chirripó without staying the night at the Crestones Base Camp?
A: Yes and no. There is no camping permitted in the park without prior arrangement and with a guide for the Uran-Chirripó loop. Otherwise, all overnight stays must be in the Crestones Base Camp. You may, however, buy your Park Admission ticket for $18 foreigner, 2,000 colones Central American Resident. You may enter the park and hike for the entire day, returning at the end of the day.
Q: Can I get up to the top of Chirripó and back down in one day?
A: Some people can accomplish this extremely difficult task, but most make the hike with at least one overnight stay at the Crestones Base Camp.
Q: Can I get meals and a bed at the Crestones Base Camp?
A: Yes, this service is now offered via the Chirripo Services Once you have made your park entrance ticket reservation for more than one day your overnight accommodation is guaranteed though NOT reserved until you contact them:
If you book these services ahead of time you must call in at their office (at the plaza) to confirm before you hike.
17,250 colones per night includes sheet, pillow, blanket, sleeping bag (32,250 – 2 nights, 52,875 – 3 nights)
Rooms hold 4 people and there are 8 shared bathrooms with soap and towels provided
Electric lighting is available from 5 pm – 8 pm daily
Meals and prices
Breakfast: 5:30 – 8 am 5,000 colones
Lunch: 12 noon – 2:30 pm 6,250 colones
Dinner: 6:30 – 7 pm 6,250 colones
Vegetarian options are available, snacks available in the afternoon.
If you bring your own food into the park it must be cold and you must take away with you all leftover food and wrappings.
Q: Do I need a guide to hike Chirripó?
A: The trail up Chirripó is well marked and many visitors hike without contracted guide services. If you would like a guide, you may contact the Porters and Guides association at (506)2742-5225, or check out the Guides on this website.
Q: Can I ride a horse up Chirripó?
A: A limited number of horses are allowed into the park for portering services only. The only way up for humans is by foot.
Q: Do I have to carry everything myself up Chirripó?
A: Porter services are available for approximately $35/14 kilos each way. Porters receive bags between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. the day prior to your hike. You must present a paid ticket to contract porter services. You may contact the Porters and Guides association at (506)2742-5225.
Q: What should I bring on the Chirripó hike?
A: This is a sample of items some people bring:
- Water and electrolyte source (something with salts/sugars)
- Warm coat
- Rain poncho
- Good boots
- Spare shoes
- 2 pair socks
- Long sleeve shirt and layers
- Dry change of clothes
- Dry sacs for clothes
- Sleeping bag
- Headlamp and/or flashlight
- Backup batteries
- Water treatment tablets/filter/bleach (In case of emergency)
- Toilet paper
- Aloe gel
- Arnica gel or tiger balm
- Moleskin or duct tape for blisters
- Prescription medications
- Bag to pack out trash
- Journal & pen
- Camera with extra batteries
- Some money
- Power bars
- Dry or fresh fruit
- Milk powder or small carton
- Pre-cooked rice or pasta
Q: How cold does it get on Chirripó?
A: Daytime temperatures in the higher elevations of the park range between 0 and 15 degrees Celsius (32- 57.2 Fahrenheit). Nighttime temperatures have been known to get as low a –9 degrees Celsius (15.8 Fahrenheit)
Q: How long of a hike is it to the Crestones Base Camp?
A: If you want to climb Chirripó mountain it is recommended to start early in the morning. 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. The trek is 14.5 km to the base camp and then another 5.1km to the top of Chirripó. Most often hikers climb only to the base camp the first day and continue the next day to the summit.
At the 7.5 Km mark there is a shelter where you may refill your water bottle. There is additional water at kilometer 10.5. At 14.5 Km you reach the base camp.
Q: What is the elevation of Chirripó? What is the elevation of Crestones Base Camp? What is the elevation of San Gerardo?
A: Chirripó: 3,820 m or 12,532 ft. Crestones Base Camp: 3400 meters or 11,152 ft. San Gerardo Station: 1350 m or 4,430 ft
Q: How do I get to San Gerardo de Rivas?
A: View the map
Q: How warm are the Aguas Termales?
A: 38º C or 98º F
Q: Do I need to bring a fishing pole/rod to catch a trout?
A: At Cocolisos Truchero all you need to bring is a little money. All fishing equipment is provided. They can even cook your trout on site.
Q: What is the admission to enter Cloudbridge Reserve?
A: There is no charge to enjoy Cloudbridge Reserve, though donations are gladly accepted.
Q: Is there a bank in San Gerardo?
A: Sorry, no bank or ATM is available in San Gerardo. The nearest is found in San Isidro. Don Ulises in the pulperia (village store) will change dollars for colones at the daily exchange rate and now accepts payment by credit card.
Q: Are there quetzals in San Gerardo de Rivas?
A: Yes! They are seen on the Chirripó trail, Cloudbridge Reserve and sometimes right in town!
Q: When is the Chirripó Race?
A: The 3rd weekend in February is the traditional date for this amazing event. Over 200 participants race 32 kilometers, from the soccer field in San Gerardo to the Crestones Base Camp and back! The current record is 3 hours and 5 minutes! There are festivities in town during this weekend and over 1000 people are usually in attendance.