This is about an hour from the lodge...it's a great view, but at this point you really want to just curl up and whimper yourself to sleep. No, actually, it's a relief to know how close you are. But I didn't name it Monte Sin Fe, so I must have some people who agree with me!
A youth group on its way up the mountain never even made it this far. It makes a BIG difference if you are carrying your packs or if you paid $20 to have someone else carry them. If I did this climb again, I'd probably hire someone to carry my pack...I'm older now! :)
Then again, there's a race up and down Chirripo every year and the winners usually make it up and down in about four hours!
Chirripo is the highest mountain of Costa Rica. It's on a natural park, in the middle of the country, and hiking to the summit is not difficult at all, except that it takes more than 8 hours go and 8 back. The trip starts after Rivas, and during the climb you pass trough all the different climates of the country: rain forest, dry forest, open forest, coffe plantations and finally moors. It's the only place in the country where you'll see it.
It's hard to do it in the same day, so the best thing to do is to book at the refuge which is some km befores the summit. Pay attention to book in advance, because it's usually full.
It takes anywhere from between five and nine hours to climb to the lodge...then another 45 minutes to an hour or so to reach the peak (I suggest a night of rest in between for full enjoyment!). There are notebooks in which to leave greetings and comments. It's very interesting to see who else has been there and what their experiences were.
For those with leftover energy, there are several other hikes and peaks around the peak of Chirripo. This is but one other peak with amazing views of the area. Note, the clouds you see in the picture come and go so give it a minute to clear to see the view :).
Crestones Peak offers another amazing view of the sourounding areas. This is the most challenging of the peaks I climbed that day. To get to Crestones peak's top, I had to climb a rock wall. I had no rope, but I still managed well. I was so scared of the height when I reached the peak, that after a few minutes I went down... stupid I guess, but hey I got the chills looking below...jejeje
It's best to head to the summit of Chirripo (3820 meters above sea level) early in the morning. I woke up bright and early at 4 AM (2 AM is recommended). I was hiking towards Chirripo around 4:30 AM. On the way there, I watch the most amazing sunrise at this beautiful valley.
Click picture to enlarge. I arrived at the top of Chirripo around 6:15. The view from atop was amazing! No, I couldn't see both oceans due to the clouds, but it was worth it!