San Gerardo de Rivas Tourist Attractions
This small mountain village lies at the entrance to Chirripó National Park, the main attraction in the area. At an elevation of 1,350m/4,428ft, the village offers a pleasant climate and excellent scenery. Birding in the area is good and there are many hiking opportunities around the village.
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Chirripó National Park
Chirripó National Park is Costa Rica's most popular mountain park. The main attraction is Chirripó Mountain, the highest in the country at 3,820m/12,530ft. The Chirripó massif is part of the Cordillera de Talamanca. Also within the park are other high peaks over 3,800m/12,464ft. An attractive feature of the park is a mountaintop hostel offering high-altitude accommodations.This park features hiking trails that are easy to follow but offer very steep climbs. Different types of vegetation are seen while ascending the mountains. Lower montane and montane rainforest can be seen, as well as tall oak trees emerging above the main canopy. Walking at lower elevations offers good birding and butterfly observation and excellent vistas.Most visitors choose to climb Chirripó Mountain, which is a 16km/10mi climb to the summit from the ranger station. To reach the El Paramo hostel, which is 4km/2.5mi from the summit, it can take between 7 and 16 hours depending on climbing ability. From the hostel, other trails lead to the summits of other mountains in this massif.Several species of highland birds can be spotted in the park, such as the flame-throated warbler. Squirrels and blue and green frogs are commonly sighted. Tapirs are also present but more difficult to see. Above the rainforests, the mountain summits are windswept, desert-like and bare. Some climbers choose to hire a guide and rent a mule for assistance during the climb.
Thermal Hot Springs
Soaking in the thermal hot springs is perfect after a day of difficult hiking and mountain climbing.