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Chirripó – San Jerónimo Route

San José

By: Qué Buen Lugar

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We went back to Chirripó National Park using a different route! Same kilometers, different flavor… arriving through the mystical Sabana de los Leones! A trail under the perfect shade and a ground covered with leaves that does not hurt the knees when going down.

How to get there? Take Route 2 towards Pérez Zeledón, after crossing the General River, continue for about 45 more minutes towards San Jerónimo de PZ until you reach the ATURENA operations center.

We went back to Chirripó National Park using a different route! Same kilometers, different flavor… arriving through the mystical Sabana de los Leones! A trail under the perfect shade and a ground covered with leaves that does not hurt the knees when going down.

How to get there? Take Route 2 towards Pérez Zeledón, after crossing the General River, continue for about 45 more minutes towards San Jerónimo de PZ until you reach the ATURENA operations center

What to bring?

 

Basic thermal clothing, a pair of thick socks, winter sweater, gloves, hat, waterproof jacket, hiking or trail shoes, headlamp, long pants, hat, sunscreen, chapstick, first aid kit and an excellent attitude.

Vehicle: Automobile

Parking: Yes

Pets: No

Camping: Yes

Contacts:

ATURENA: 8374 3443

Lodging Ecos del Chirripó: 7200 3856

Email: info@sanjeronimochirripo.com

Cost: Depends on the number of people.

We got 195,000/person with lodging, food, park entrance and transportation to the trailhead.

Day 0

We left San José directly without stopping one way to San Jerónimo de Pérez Zeledón, in total it took about 3:45 minutes from Santa Ana. When we arrived at Aturena (Cerro Ena Tourism Association) the day was semi cloudy, it was almost 4pm and we had to arrive with all the stuff ready to send the package that the porters carry.

The package that the porters carry is basically everything that we do not need to carry on our back, to better understand what this package carries, you can review our post WHAT TO TAKE TO THE CHIRRIPÓ? https://quebuenlugar.com/consejos/que-llevar-al-chirripo/

After leaving everything we went to our favorite lodging in San Jerónimo, it is called Ecos del Chirripó and it is a super cute mountain cabin with a good view and excellent food… perfect for a good rest before the hike. Here we finished accommodating everything for the next day and after dinner we went to sleep super anxious.

Day 1

We woke up at 3:30 am to have breakfast and then headed to Aturena since from here a 4×4 transport is coordinated and you arrive at km 0 of the San Jerónimo – Chirripó route at 5 am.

The first kilometer is next to a river, without much slope and perfect for warming up. After crossing the river, the slope begins within the forest, entering through a farm gate.

Around km 3 you reach a beautiful mountain cabin belonging to the family of our Guide Rolo (you can camp there), then continue climbing through many bushes of blackberries until you enter the forest again, which continues climbing without rest until almost km 5 where we stop for breakfast in a shelter surrounded by cloud forest with moss hanging like old man’s beard. Here is the first of the 2 points to refill water, so we recommend filling bottles because there is still 70% of the way to go.

After eating we continued climbing another 4 km until we began to see other hills such as Amo, Ami and Ena. At this point, the slope flattens out a bit and begins to descend until reaching the long-awaited Sabana de los Leones.

When we arrived at the Sabana de los Leones the forest opened up like a soccer field between the trees covered by perfect golden grass and few bushes. Small water channels are also formed that slowly drain the water to form other channels that wind their way to the end of the savannah.

The route through the savannah is spectacular, it is 2 flat km that help loosen our legs and thus prepare us for the last slope that begins in the lowest part where the Terbi River crosses. In this river it is perfect to refill water and thus hydrate the rest of the way to the hostel.

We reach the last hill, it’s two kilometers of suffering… In addition, the guides have different scary names for it, such as: White Death, La Cuesta Hijueputa and other macabre names.

If we compare it with the famous Cuesta de los Arrepentidos in San Gerardo… it is prettier because it has more green, the terrain is more pleasant (less loose), but as a downside it is longer and this makes it tiring.

When we finished the climb we arrived at the Sabana de los Leones Viewpoint, from here you can see the sheet and on the other side the long-awaited shelter of Base Crestones… so we continued walking 1.5 kms with slightly cloudy weather until we reached the shelter.

The first thing to do when entering the hostel is to register at the entrance and receive food tickets and then line up for lunch. If there is something good about the Base Crestones hostel, it is the food, which is delicious and they have different food options (the food is decided days before).

**Viking Tip: Afterwards it is almost mandatory to take a bath, this helps a lot to deflate muscles and then lie down for a while with warm clothes to rest and eat lunch.

During the afternoon we wanted to go to Ventisqueros but the weather changed and it started to rain… so we rested for the rest of the afternoon.

Day 2

We woke up at 3 am to start walking at 3:30 am, the hostel thermometer marked 5 degrees with a patch of moon and a cloudless starry sky was a clear indication that the sunrise would be epic.

We walked a little over an hour and a half passing through the Valley of the Rabbits and then towards the top. It was after 5 in the morning we reached the top of Cerro Chirripó with a completely clear sky, a perfect sunrise. I think we are very lucky because it is the second time that we have reached the top with good weather as Que Buen Lugar.

The view from up here is one of the most beautiful things we have experienced, we never get tired of coming here and I think we will continue to see it as long as we are healthy. I want to deeply thank San Isidro Labrador (and Tavo who invokes him) for chasing away the rain-laden clouds on 90% of our walks.

In total we were 2 hours at the top, taking photos, snacking and messing around until we decided to go down to take another break in the view of the stones that overlook the Valley of the Rabbits.

To finish, we went down to the valley and went to Laguna Ditkevi, which is 1.5 km from the Valle de los Conejos sign. The road is easy compared to all the routes, and it lasts a short time (about half an hour), it goes through some peat bogs (small lakes typical of the moor where water is filtered) and several underground rivers that are discovered in some steps.

After passing this part with puddles and a little mud, you go up a 300-meter slope and then begin to descend until you reach the lagoon. The Ditkevi lagoon has something magical, I don’t really know what it is… but it gives off a peaceful vibe. So it is ideal to slow down, assimilate everything beautiful that we have experienced and that absolutely all the effort has been worth it.

After a last picnic we went back to the lodge to have lunch and rest until the next day (the weather turned cloudy with rain).

Day 3

We woke up at 5 am to get ready and have breakfast. The day was a little cloudy and after leaving our luggage in the hands of the porters, we set off towards San Jerónimo.

On the way back there are only 2 short climbs, the first after the death hill and the second after Sabana de los Leones. The return journey is extremely tasty if we compare it with the common route of San Gerardo, all the threshing is in optimal conditions with leaves and this means that it does not hit the knees so much. Another point in favor that we had is that the savannah was cloudy so we didn’t get too much sun.

In total it took us about 5 hours to go down quietly, stopping on the way to eat a couple of times and refill water. When we managed to reach km 0, the 4×4 cars were waiting for us in which we went back to Aturena in San Jerónimo.

To finish, we bathed in the Ecos del Chirripó lodge and had a delicious lunch of chickpeas with chicken that revived us so we could return to San José with a full stomach and happy heart.

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