Tackle the highest mountain in Costa Rica on a hike through Chirripo National Park

At the top of Chirripo National Park
At the top of Chirripo National Park

Travelers who plan on heading to Costa Rica in hopes of witnessing some of the world's most beautiful natural scenery and unique collections of wildlife will find much to explore in the Central American nation, as a full quarter of the country has been designated as protected land for national parks and reserves. As such, hiking has become one of the most popular tourist activities among leisure- and eco-tourists alike. For tourists interested in seeing the beauty of Costa Rica's unspoiled wilderness and challenging their own physical strength and stamina, a hike through Chirripo National Park may be just what the doctor ordered.

Chirripo National Park

Located within the driving distance of the city of San Isidro del General, Chirripo National Park is one of the largest and wildest parks in Costa Rica. The park covers an area of 50,849 hectares and rests in the middle portion of the Talamanca Mountain Range. Chirripo National Park is home to several ecosystems unique to Costa Rica, including the nation's largest expanse of paramo vegetation.

Challenging Hiking

Hikers attempting to tackle Chirripo National Park will find a wealth of challenges on the varied terrain that pervades the area, particularly during the rainy season (May through November) when many paths may be too slick or flooded to navigate. Though the region may be challenging, the area's rare mix of flora and fauna make the hike well worth the effort.

Hikers looking for a real challenge in Chirripo National Park will want to tackle Cerro Chirripo Grande, a long and strenuous climb that is 11 miles steep and nearly 10,000 feet high. Those who make the trip, however, will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful views in Costa Rica.

Abundant Flora & Fauna

Of the numerous varieties of plants to be found in Chirripo National Park, hikers will likely enjoy the vegetation permeating the cloud forest areas of the park. The area boasts a number of larger trees like sweet cedar, nargusta and elm trees, as well as rarer and more interesting ones like mountain cypress. Hikers can also find interesting plants and vegetation in the swamp, madrono forest and fern grove regions of Chirripo National Park.

Animals play an important part of the ecosystem as well, and Chirripo National Park is home to some of the rarest animals in the country. These include more than 260 species of amphibian and reptile, 400 bird species and the country's largest population of tapirs.

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