If you are here when Chirripó National Park is opened, I would highly recommend finding the time to climb the highest mountain in Costa Rica. But before you begin your adventure, I have a few words of advice that would have been helpful for our expedition.
After finding out that we were entering the rainy season and the National Park was going to close for maintenance, a fellow Veritas student and I took the next available weekend to head to San Isidro (the town closes to the park). Being naive college kids we were more or less unprepared for the extremity of the 19 kilometer uphill hike. However, regardless of our stupid mistakes and our credulous attitudes it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had. Therefore here are some tips:
1– If you are spending the night at the base camp, located 14 km up the mountain, make sure to bring enough FOOD (we were hardly ate the second day for our one jar of PB&J was slim)
2– Know that if you want to use a stove to cook, bring your own (also enough propane), they will not let you use the stove that is up there (we made the mistake of not bringing one, lucky it is possible to eat cold refried beans and corn tortillas- not my favorite meal).
3– Make sure to bring blankets/sleeping bag for the hostel at the base camp. It surprisingly gets really cold at night (I never thought I would be shivering in Costa Rica).
4– Pack your dry clothes in a waterproof bag (garbage bag) incase it rains- we were lucky that it did not rain on us until we were heading back or else all of our dry, warm clothes would have been soaking wet, and we would have been miserable.
5– Bring a headlamp- shockingly it gets dark at night, and if you want to walk to see the sunrise on the summit you’ll be walking in the dark.
6– IT GETS VERY COLD SO BRING ENOUGH CLOTHES (Yes I know, I thought they were joking too)
7– Don’t forget your passport copy. You will need it for the Ranger Station.
8– Know that you need to purchase a permit to climb the mountain. There is limited space, and it is necessary to be at the ranger station when it opens right at 6:30 a.m.. For everyday you are hiking the permit is $15 and to spend the night it is $10 (we spent 2 days and one night- climbing the mountain in one day may not be worth it.. I would recommend staying at least one night if not two).
9– FOR SURE WAKE UP TO WATCH THE SUNRISE ON THE SUMMIT. We left the hostel at 3 a.m. in order to see the sunrise at 5:15 on the top. It was well worth it.