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Fodor's Costa Rica 2014
Chirripó National Park
Chirripó National Park Review
The main attraction of this national park is Mt. Chirripó, the highest mountain in Costa Rica and a mecca for both hikers and serious summiteers. It's a 48-km (30-mile) roundtrip hike, with an elevation gain of 2,438 m (8,000 feet), so you need to plan gear and food carefully, be very fit, and acclimatize before setting out. The roundtrip usually takes three days—one day to climb to the hostel, one day to explore the surrounding summits, and one day to descend.
With the number of hikers limited to 40 per day, it's becoming ever more difficult to hike here, even with advance reservations. Phone reservations are accepted for 25 of those 40 spots, but only in early May and November. Only 15 potential spaces are available to hikers who show up without reservations. So your best bet is to try your luck and check in between 7 to 4 at the San Gerardo de Rivas National Parks Service office the day before you want to hike. Entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Maximum stay is three days, two nights. Admission is $15 per day, plus $10 per day for lodging. Ask for trail maps at the office. Don't try to sneak in: a park ranger will stop you at a checkpoint on the trail and ask to see your reservation voucher.
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