Published: July 14th 2018
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Trailhead for Chirripo hike
San Gerardo is the base for hiking Chirripo, at 3820m Costa Rica’s highest mountain, though that’s not the only reason we’ve come here. Our guidebook makes it sounds like a scenic small village nestled in the hills with a few good accommodation options, and while we’re here I’ll see if I can be tempted to climb the mountain

The decision on Chirripo turns to be easy. J isn’t interested in the hike and I’m not keen to do this by myself as it is a fairly tough walk, but there aren’t any permits to stay in the park available for the next 4 days (a Dutch girl at our hostel gets the last one). It seems quite odd given this is low season and the village is all but deserted.

Instead we find that there is a decent day hike we can do through the Cloudbridge private reserve which is just past the trailhead. Though there is an entrance charge to Cloudbridge this is by donation and there is no need to buy entrance to the National Park. Cloudbridge has a couple of good waterfalls and decent opportunities to spot spider monkeys and quetzals, though we see neither.

Cloudbridge hiking

The hike we choose follows the river and then climbs a ridge to join the main Chirripo trail at about 2200m. We then follow the Chirripo trail 4km back to the trailhead, but it’s a very muddy path, churned up by the horses used to carry provisions up to the park lodge. It makes for very unpleasant walking and J is pretty unhappy (and muddy) by the time we reach the road having slipped over 3 times on the way down. I’m quite pleased now that I’m not hiking Chirripo tomorrow.

Time is beginning to press for we need to be in Panama City by the 16th latest and we are keen to make a diversion to the Osa peninsular, considered to be one of the best destination in Costa Rica. From here we should be able to make it in a day, though bus and boat connections make this a reasonable challenge so we will make an early start.

Additional photos below
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You can see why it's called Cloudbridge

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