The highest mountain of Costa Rica is located in the center of this national park. The 3820 meter high Cerro Chirripo is the highest elevation between the volcanoes of Guatemala and the Andes.
Almost half of the Chirripo National Park is covered by evergreen cloud forest. Oak trees, alders, laurels and several kinds of mosses grow here. Pumas, ocelots, jaguars, tapirs, peccaries, rabbits, coyotes, anteaters and many other species live in this national park.
Birding highlights include hummingbirds and quetzals. Many birdwatchers travel to Costa Rica simply to catch site of this magnificent bird. Above 3400 meters much of the vegetation gives out and the few trees are much smaller.
Even for inexperienced hikers it is possible to reach the summit of the Chirripo. But one shouldn't underestimate the ascent. The terrain is not difficult but it is exhausting. In higher elevations it is possible that the temperature drops below 0 Celsius. In some few cases hikers had to suffer under the affects of the altitude sickness.
For the ascent one should at least calculate 2 days. It is necessary to stay one night at a refuge on the mountain. Who is too lazy to carry his own sleeping bag and meals can hire a guide with a horse. Not only tourists, as well a larger number of Costa Ricans hike the Chirripo every year.
When the sky is clear it is possible to sea both oceans from the top. The close by volcanoes Irazu and Turrialba can be seen as well. For the indigenous people the mountain was holy. Shamans and the heads of tribes celebrated religious rituals at the foot of the Chirripo.
The first documented ascent was done in the year 1904 by Pater Augustin Blessing. Today the Chirripo is a big attraction amongst tourists and Costa Ricans. Each year there is a marathon at the Chirripo. Mostly people from the area win this competition. It is not without dangers to run on those rocky paths on the slopes of the Cerro Chiripo.