Chirripo Hike and Cloud Forest Costa Rica Tour
This authentic Costa Rican tour is designed for adventurous travellers looking for a physical challenge, off-the-beaten path destinations and overwhelmingly beautiful landscapes. It encompasses nature, adventure and genuine cultural experiences. After getting a glimpse of San José, you will immerse yourself in the cloud forest of the Dota region, where you will have the chance to spot some amazing wildlife and waterfalls. Next, you will embark on a 3-day hike that will take you through astonishing landscapes to Costa Rica’s highest peak: Chirripó. Lastly you will visit the Biolley community, where you will experience rural life and some of Costa Rica’s most important traditions.
- Go bird watching in one of the most pristine cloud forests of Latin America
- Hike in search of beautiful waterfalls in Los Santos Region
- Watch an amazing array of wildlife, including birds (quetzals), monkeys and butterflies
- Work your way up Costa Rica’s highest peak and admire its unique landscapes
- Partake in a women-led community project and learn about Costa Rican coffee tradition
- Enjoy delicious traditional meals and the warmth of the local people
This is a private tour and you will be accompanied by an English-speaking local guide during all excursions. The Chirripó Hike is in a small group (between 5 and 10 people). The price displayed is per person based on two people sharing. All of our tours can be tailor-made to suit you.
This 10-day tour of Costa Rica is designed to make you experience diverse off-the-beaten path destinations in this beautiful country. After a visit of San José, you will travel to the Dota region and stay in the lovely Tami Lodge. Here you will enjoy beautiful landscapes, meet rural communities, hike to breath-taking waterfalls and go on a bird-watching excursion in search of the resplendent quetzal. Next you will travel to the mountain town of in San Jerónimo, where you will start your multi-day trek to Costa Rica’s highest peak, mount Chirripó. During this Chirripó Hike, you will enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the country. Finally, you will visit the Biolley rural community, where you will learn about coffee production from a women-led association, while you experience authentic culture, visit rural ecosystems and taste local traditional food.
This is a private tour and the itinerary can be tailor made to suit your interests, requirements and travel dates. We can include these and other destinations across Costa Rica.
Day 1: San José – Welcome to Costa Rica (-/-/-)
An English-speaking guide will welcome you at the airport and drive you to your well-located hotel in San José. Along the way, our guide will give you all the tips and recommendations to get the most of your stay in Costa Rica. The rest of the day is free for you to relax and settle in, then perhaps take a walk around the city. There is plenty to do in the capital, from walking in its parks, visiting a museum, taking a food tour or browsing in the shops and the busy central market.
Day 2: From San José to Dota (B/L/-)
After breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel in San José to start a private journey to the beautiful Tamí Lodge in the region of Dota. On the way, you will enjoy the wonders of this fertile land in a guided tour in Copey de Dota, where you will learn about highland tropical fruits and you will have the chance to see how a semi-organic farm operates. The tour finishes with a delicious traditional lunch. Free afternoon once you arrive in Tamí Lodge. The next 2 nights will be spent deep in the cloud forest surrounded by nature but with access to all your basic needs and amenities. Experience Tamí Lodge’s unique luxury tented camp with spectacular views of Los Santos Region.
Day 3: Activities in Tami Lodge (B/L/-)
Wake up early and take part in a small-group Quetzal watching tour that lasts around three hours (quetzal main viewing season is from December to May). Go in search of the resplendent Quetzal with its iridescent green feathers, its long, graceful tail and right red breast! Later, you will enjoy a traditional breakfast and at the lodge. Then, a 4WD transfer will take you to Providencia de Dota where a half day hike to Los Santos Forest Reserve starts. During this challenging but rewarding hike, you will see more than 3 beautiful waterfalls over 20 meters high settled in the lush nature. After the first part of the hike you will enjoy a well-deserved traditional lunch before trekking back through a beautiful trail to see another two waterfalls. Free afternoon and evening to rest.
Day 4: From Dota to San Jerónimo (B/-/D)
Free morning in Dota. Several optional activities available: hiking, farm tours, adventure park (canopy, zip lining, rappel, etc). After time for lunch, a private transfer will take you to the town of San Jerónimo (approx. 2.5 hours), where your trek to Chirripó will depart from the following day. Tonight, you will sleep in a private cabin with all the necessary commodities for a pleasant stay. Members of the community and the local rural tourism association of Cerro Ena (ATURENA) will host you. ATURENA was founded in 2007 with the intent to develop an eco-friendly, rural tourism and adventure project in the community of San Jerónimo. Its main goal is conservation: protecting the environment and natural resources through sustainable rural tourism. The association has over 70 families from San Jerónimo and neighbouring communities, and they play a crucial role in the rural ecotourism of the area. Dinner will be home made traditional food, that you can have with your hosts or on your own. Free evening to relax or explore the town.
Day 5: San Jerónimo to Chirripó Mountain Lodge (B/L/D)
Today is the first day of your trek to Mount Chirripó, the tallest mountain in Costa Rica: it rises to an altitude of 3,820 meters (12,532 feet) above sea level. This incredible hiking experience will take you through five different ecological zones and spectacular landscapes. It is inhabited by a wide range of flora and fauna, including orchids, tapirs, quetzals, monkeys and pumas. Today's hike is 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) long and ascends 2,400 meters (7874 feet) – it is more demanding than your average trail.
After a very early breakfast, a shared transfer will take you to the start of the trail (approx. 15 min). You will begin your ascent alongside a small group of fellow adventurers (between 5 and 10 people). An English-speaking naturalist guide will be with you for the duration of this trek. After 6 to 8 hours hiking through beautiful landscapes, you arrive at the mountain lodge of Los Crestones, where you will enjoy a well-deserved lunch. Accommodation is in shared rooms with bunk beds (4 beds per room). Free afternoon and evening to explore the area. Several hiking circuits are available around Los Crestones.
Optional: If you are looking for a less physically demanding hike, we recommend Mount Ena, located in the Talamanca Mountain Range, with an elevation on 3,126 m.a.s.l. This 2-day hike also departs form San Jerónimo, covers 11 km approximately and lasts about 6 hours (each way). This trek can be tailored to your needs but we recommend a 3-day tour so that you can truly enjoy one of the most beautiful and unspoiled areas of the Talamanca Mountain Range.
Day 6: Chirripó National Park (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast at Los Crestones, you will begin your ascent to reach the summit of Cerro Chirripó (5 km, approx. 2 to 3 hours each way), in time to watch the sunrise. Back to the lodge in time for lunch. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to explore other points of interests within the park, always in company of our naturalist guide.
Day 7: From Chirripó to San Jerónimo (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast, you will start your guided descent from Los Crestones to San Jerónimo (approx. 14 km), which should take between 6 to 8 hours. Upon arrival, your shared transport will take you back to your cosy private cabin, where a home made lunch will be waiting for you. Free afternoon and evening to rest and recover.
Day 8: From San Jerónimo to Biolley (B/-/-)
After breakfast (flexible time), you will be picked up at your cabin for a private transfer to the town of Biolley (approx. 2.5 hours). Tonight you will sleep in La Posada Cerro Biolley, a rustic but comfortable community lodge where you can enjoy the peace and tranquillity characteristic of a rural village. Located in the foothill of Cerro Biolley, the lodge is known for its stunning views of the Coto Brus Valley. Biolley is a rural community surrounded by the majestic mountains of La Amistad International Park. It offers wonderful landscapes, excellent climate and friendly people. Free afternoon and evening to relax.
Day 9: Coffee tour in Biolley (B/-/-)
After breakfast, start this small-group tour with a visit to a coffee farm where you will learn about the cultivation and harvesting process. This farm is a model of sustainable production and as such contains a great variety of native trees and plants. Following the farm visit, you will head to the “beneficio” (mill), to learn more about processing coffee from the women of the Association of Organized Women of Biolley (ASOMOBI), a valiant group o ladies who joined forces in 1997 with the aim of improving their families’ lives as well as those living in the buffer zone of La Amistad International Park. Their “beneficio” implements sustainable production practices by conserving water, making organic fertilizer, and using the coffee husks removed during processing as fuel. The local guide will explain each stage of the art of processing coffee. At the end of the tour, awaken your senses by sampling delicious coffee, processed and roasted by the women of ASOMOBI, the first group of women in the country to operate their own “beneficio”. Free afternoon and evening to relax or join one of the optional activities available, such as an amphibian monitoring night tour, Aguas Calientes de Coto Brus hot springs excursion or Sabana Esperanza hike.
Day 10: Biolley to San José or the Panama border (B/-/-)
After breakfast (flexible time), a private transfer will take you to Palmar Sur airport (approx. 1.5 hours) where you can take a 45-minute flight to San José (not included in the price). Alternatively, it can take you to the border with Panama (approx. 2 hours) to continue your journey to the town of Volcán and the Barú Volcano. End of tour.
- Trip duration: 10 days
- Countries visited: Costa Rica
- Level of difficulty: Medium
- Accommodation: 1 night in a hotel in San José, 2 nights in a luxury tent camp in Dota, 2 nights in a private cabin in San Jerónimo, 2 nights in a Mountain Lodge in Chirripó National Park (bunk beds), 2 nights in a rustic lodge in Biolley
- Transport: Private mini-van and 4WD vehicle
- Meals included: 9 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
You will be greeted at the airport on arrival by a local guide who will take you to your hotel and will be able to answer any questions, make any additional arrangements and generally ensure everything goes smoothly.
No minimum number of passengers required. Prices quoted are per person and based on at least 2 people travelling. You should expect a cheaper price for bigger groups.
Your passport is required at time of booking. For information on visa requirements, immunisations and health formalities please visit the FCO Travel Advice Website (for UK citizens) and US Travel Advice website (for US citizens).
Information on money changing in each destination, as well as what it is customary to tip for various services, will be provided.
This tour of Costa Rica has a medium level of physical difficulty and participants can choose to do as much or as little as they like. If you have any concerns or require special arrangements please call or email us to discuss. In case you prefer a less demanding hike, you can replace the Chirripó Hike by the Mount Ena Hike.
What to bring: Travel insurance, passport, binoculars, alarm clock, walking shoes, water bottle, daypack, sun protection, insect repellent, sun glasses and hat, swimwear, flip-flops, torch with extra batteries, comfortable light cotton shirts with long and short sleeves, comfortable trousers made of cotton or a light synthetic material (bring at least two sets of light clothes which can be washed and dried easily), shorts, rain coat, plastic ziplock bags, plastic bags for your luggage in case of rain.
- Best time to travel: Costa Rica has two seasons - Rainy Season (May - November) and Dry Season (December – April). Mid-November to May have good weather.
- Extra budget recommended: Around £200 / $250 per person to cover meals and other expenses not included in the itinerary
- What is included: Welcome reception at the airport. Transfers and overland transport. Accommodation. Entrance fees to sites of interest, museums and national parks mentioned in the itinerary. Guided activities and excursions with English speaking guides (some private, some as part of a small group). Meals as stated in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner). Contributions to the social and environmental projects visited.
- What is not included: Flights. Travel insurance. Alcoholic drinks. Additional meals or snacks. Travel within and around each town. Visa fees (if any). Tips. Souvenirs.
There is no minimum duration and you can take only the activities or destinations you want. To start creating your ideal, tailor-made tour to Costa Rica, please complete and send this form. Our Costa Rica team will be in touch shortly: