Chirripo National Park
Size: 50,150 hectares.
Distance from San José: 165 kilometers.
Dry Season: December through March.
Chirripo National Park, offering the highest mountain in Costa Rica at 3.820 meters above sea level, lies near the town of San Isidro del General, about 60 miles southeast of San Jose. The main way into the park is located northeast of the town of San Gerardo de Rivas.
The upper reaches of the park, which often include cold and almost always shrouded in mist, the northernmost example of the “Paramo” life-zone, which is typical of high-lying levels much further south. The park also contains large areas of lower montane and montane rain forest and offers excellent opportunities for wildlife photography and nature observation. Jaguars, other felines, coyotes, squirrels, rabbits, frogs, owls and the quetzal, the most common species found.
The park experiences wide temperature fluctuations. It can be as warm as 24 degrees Celsius during the day and then down to freezing at night. The difference in altitude between sea level and the high country is strong enough to give some people the altitude disease, particularly if they have spent a week or two lying in a dugout or on the beach. The best way is to take a trip here after spending at least a week hiking in the middle level as Rincon de la Vieja, or Monte Verde, the plan to begin the acclimatization process.