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) round-trip hike, with an elevation gain of 2,100 meters (6,890 feet) to reach the hostel, and another 340 meters (1,000 feet) to reach the summit. You need to be very fit and acclimatize before setting out. The round-trip 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 52 per day, it's becoming an ever-more-exclusive experience to hike here. Consorcio Aguas Eternas, a new consortium of lodges, porters, and guides, now controls access to the park and can provide everything from making the reservation with the park office to carrying up your gear, supplying pillows, towels, and sleeping bags, and even feeding you at the top in a simple restaurant. The experience will cost about $250 per person, and
includes one night in a lodge at San Gerardo de Rivas, two nights in the mountain hostel, and all meals. Though the mountain hostel has been improved, there is still no hot water for showers. It's chilly at the top so be sure to pack warm layers. The maximum stay at the hostel is three days, two nights. For more information, see the highlighted listing in this chapter.