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Mountain hiking in Costa Rica – TOP 3

Mountain hiking in Costa Rica is as popular entertainment as lying on the beach. This small, tropical country has over 26 national parks, numerous wildlife shelters and private reserves. Hiking in Costa Rica will provide you with amazing impressions and views among the stunning scenery and nature. Costa Rica has a wide variety of hiking trails suitable for every level. If you decide to go hiking, you can choose one of the many routes available, depending on your experience and time. You will find everything from easy walks on small hills to difficult mountain climbing. It is worth mentioning that the highest peak of Costa Rica – Cerro Chirripó is 3820 m above sea level, which makes it a serious challenge. Whether you choose an easy trip or a difficult hike, this country has them all. Here are our TOP3 wonderful mountain treks in Costa Rica.

How to prepare for a mountain hike in Costa Rica?

Before we get to the best mountain treks in Costa Rica, we must tell ourselves about the necessary preparation and safety rules. You must remember that Costa Rica is rich in wild nature, and you can hurt yourself with careless behavior. That is why safety rules should be observed when hiking.

  • Plan routes according to the possibilities and experience of all participants.
  • Going alone to the mountains is dangerous – always use a local guide who knows the routes well.
  • Before leaving, read the current weather conditions and forecast. Remember that the weather in the mountains can change quickly and although the temperature is tropical below, it can be chilly at the top.
  • Take the necessary equipment. Always wear footwear and clothing that is suitable for the weather.
  • You must have a drinking water supply and provisions with you when hiking in the mountains. Remember that during physical effort the body dehydrates very quickly and drinking large amounts of water is obligatory! If you lose your strength, a quick snack of fruit or sweets can help – take them with you on the trail.
  • Be sure to take a cell phone with a charged battery and saved emergency numbers – in Costa Rica, the emergency number is 911.
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Mountain hiking in Costa Rica

The best mountain hiking in Costa Rica.

As with all attractions in Costa Rica, it’s hard to name the best. We will try to recall here several mountain tours, which are the most popular and at the same time guarantee amazing views and great experiences. Remember that most of them are located in national parks and navigating them is subject to separate rules that may differ slightly in each national park. Familiarize yourself with the rules before setting out on the trail.

Cerro Chirripó – difficulty: high

Cerro Chirripo is the highest peak in Costa Rica, which is located at an altitude of 3820 m (12,530 feet). The area of ​​this mountain belongs to the Chirripo National Park, and its entrance is strictly regulated. Because the trip to the summit is long and exhausting, it usually takes 2 or even 3 days. The first night takes place at the base of the mountain, so that we set off very early in the morning.

The hike to the summit of Chirripó usually begins in the mountain village of San Gerardo de Rivas, from where the 14 kilometer trail to Crestones Base Camp begins. It is about 5.5 kilometers from this place to the summit, and the last stretch is an exhausting climb on a steep slope. This trip is exhausting and definitely not suitable for everyone, but the prize in the form of views can compensate for the hardships of hiking.

Entrance to the national park is strictly regulated and reservations are best done at least 3-6 months in advance. An easier option is booking at a travel company that will provide you with everything.

Cerro Dragón – difficulty: medium

Have you ever dreamed to ride a dragon? In Costa Rica you have the opportunity to defeat a real dragon and stand on top of a beautiful mountain called Cerro Dragón, otherwise known as the Caraigres hill. This mountain has a height of 2506 m a.s.l. and is located between the cantons of Acosta and Aserrí, in the province of San José. This peak together with the surrounding hills form a mountain range, which from a distance resembles a sleeping woman or a dragon. From the summit you can observe the Pacific Ocean coast or the Cerro de la Muerte peak on a clear day. The hills that make up this massif are protected by the Cerro Caraigres Conservation Area.

The trip to the top is not very demanding and can be done in one day. If you want, you can stay overnight in one of the surrounding villages, where accommodation for tourists is prepared. Remember that climbing to the top leads through wild areas, where you can easily get lost. We strongly advise against lonely trips. Also remember that the local guide will know exactly what and where to see to get even more out of this tour.

Manuel Antonio National Park – difficulty: low

This option is ideal for anyone who wants to take an easy trip through the wild Costa Rica. In this park you will see many animals in their natural habitat. This is definitely the case

Manuel Antonio is the smallest national park in Costa Rica, however, the infrastructure and trails are ideal for anyone who wants to experience an easy hike. With excellent signage, nicely spaced platforms and well-chosen viewpoints, a hike through the Manuel Antonio National Park is a great proposition for entire families. Because the park is not big, you can explore all the nooks and crannies of this place in one day. Keep your eyes open while hiking because monkeys, sloths and other animals are often seen directly on the path!

Mountain hiking in Costa Rica – what should you keep in mind?

Remember that Costa Rica is not only beaches and the ocean. It is also a wonderful nature that you can experience directly during trips. It is certainly one of the few places in the world that is so rich in natural resources. In today’s rushing world, it is definitely worth stopping for a moment and observing wild animals in their natural habitat. The views he will see on each of these trips will stay in your memory for a long time and you will definitely want to come back here.

According to what we wrote at the very beginning, you need to prepare properly for each trip, no matter what the difficulty is. Remember that a local guide can prevent you from making many mistakes that could ruin your perfect journey.

If you have questions about hiking in Costa Rica or are looking for a local guide, please contact us.

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