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5 important tips if you want to climb Chirripó

Did you know that we are located at the foot of Mt Chirripó , the biggest mountain in Costa Rica? Second biggest in Central America? Thousands of outdoors enthusiasts visit each year to climb the mountain. From the peak you can see both oceans (Pacific and Caribbean), the ridge of volcanoes that run through Costa Rica and beyond, as well as lakes, incredible rock formations and the ‘paramo’ ecosystem typical of this elevation.

Costa Rica Holiday Homestay has recently begun helping our guests arrange their permits to hike the mountain which is a national park, and services such as overnight accommodation, meals, portering etc. If you are considering climbing Chirripó while you homestay with us here are 5 very important tips:

• Mt Chirripó is over 3,000 meters tall – a good challenge for mountaineers and hikers in good condition. You will enjoy yourself if you book to stay over one night, preferably two, as there is a lot to see and just climbing to the top and descending will take a lot of your allotted time.

• The experience of climbing Mt Chirripó varies throughout the year: from January to March we experience dry, sunny days with clear skies and very cold nights. Come prepared! From April to December there will be some rain of varying degrees but warmer temperatures at night.

• You MUST reserve permits to enter the National Park months before you arrive. See SINAC. We can make the bookings for you but likewise we need lots of time to be sure you get the dates and time you want. All bookings are now online. The process isn’t too difficult, but we’re here to help if it becomes mystifying!

• Also important to know is that you must arrive at least one day before your hike as you need to sign in at the National Parks Office before 4 pm the previous day. In fact we really recommend you arrive a few days ahead of your climb to acclimatize yourself to the altitude (San Gerardo is at 1,300 meters above sea level), take a few short hikes and gather your provisions. Likewise, you will need at least one night at your homestay afterwards to rest up!

• Most of our homestay families have years of experience hiking, guiding or portering on Mt. Chirripó. They are here to help you. They can prepare food for you to take with you and check your supplies so you don’t try and carry too heavy a load (pack light!).

Climbing Chirripó is an experience of a lifetime – it will take your breath away – and putting in some time to prepare thoroughly beforehand will make the hike all the more enjoyable.

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Cheese! Homestay family falls in love!


Recently one of our visiting homestay families decided to tour ‘Quesos Canaan’ – a small handcrafted cheese farm that produces a Swiss-type cheese from their small dairy herd. They milked the cow, listened to the weird and wonderful story of how Wilberth Mata and his family got started in hard cheese-making and then helped to make it themselves. Afterwards they bought some and returned to their homestay at Dona Graciela’s to enjoy it with their hosts.

Well, they liked that cheese so much that they’ve been ordering it up from anyone who happens to travel back to their hometown in Canada! The rules state that up to $20 worth of hard cheese can be brought into Canada and so that’s what they arrange. Only Costa Rica cheese will do! We bet that wasn’t an outcome they expected from their Costa Rica Holiday Homestay. Pura vida Quesos Canaan!

PS To include a similar tour in your homestay itinerary simply let Jenny know and she will reserve it for you. The tour lasts 2 – 3 hours includes a walk around the farm to milk the cow, view the biodigester and organic composter, making the cheese from scratch and, of course, a chance to taste it! Although Wilberth speaks Spanish Costa Rica Holiday Homestay provides an interpreter. See: Cheese Factory for more pictures. Tour price: $17 per person includes tour, transport there and back, guide and interpretation – tasters free!


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