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Places to visit in the Chirripo Valley

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

The Chirripo Valley is all about living life outside #mylifeoutside

Chirripo National Park

The Chirripo National Park is the main attraction of the Chirripo Valley area. The hike up is 21km long and it takes about 15 hours over two days to get to the peak.

Each part of this hike is unique. Since the beginning of the course, the view is refreshed by premontane forests and their great diversity of species. Stunning views, exotic bird watching, coming across diverse species of mammals and reptilians, and a tour across moorland and glacial lakes are part of the adventure.

On the first day, you will head up to the Crestones Base Camp, followed by the second day of summiting Chirripo and heading back down to San Gerardo de Rivas.

This hike is recommended to experienced hikers, but it's accessible to anyone willing to experience the climb.

The view from the top is breathtaking! If you're in luck and the weather is clear you can see the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean from the peak.

Hiking up Chirripo is an unforgettable experience!

Here's some more information if you'd like to take on the challenge!

Cloudbridge Nature Reserve

Cloudbridge is a private nature reserve that stretches from 1550m to 2600m (5085-8530 ft) in altitude within the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica. Since 2002, 255 hectares (630 acres) of cattle pasture or cultivated land with a further 28 hectares (70 acres) of primary forest has been purchased by the reserve.

Since its inception, Cloudbridge has been dedicated to the conservation and reforestation of the cloud forest. Education and research have played a large part in what they do; teaching the importance of this unique habitat for wildlife, sustainable tourism, and climate change.

Cloudbridge hosts many amazing hiking trails, waterfalls, and is a natural habitat for a variety of wildlife. You can choose your adventure by hiking trails 30 minutes in length or explore the reserve more in-depth on trails that may take up to 8 hours.

The entrance fee is 5000 colones (or $8 USD) for foreigners / 2,500 colones for locals. If you can’t visit Cloudbridge, please consider making a donation. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated and help support their mission.

A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended to make it to the parking lot.

Casa Alegria and Butterfly Dome

A community hub and fun place to meet new friends, Casa Alegria has a cafe on the first floor and a studio space on the second floor. There is an evergrowing schedule for yoga and dance classes as well as educational enrichment opportunities. Feel free to drop in for a class or rent the space for your own event.

The Butterfly Dome alongside Casa Alegria, constructed in 2017, pulls in tourists from all over Perez Zeledon. The space, besides being a butterfly education center and an observatory, has been used for intimate concerts, weddings, private parties, an aerial silks retreat, and kids climbing club.

A small play park for little kids makes it ideal for family fun any day of the week.

Los Giantes Nature Reserve

A small family owned business and private reserve, Los Gigantes can be found in the heart of San Jose de Rivas. A short drive up the main road leads you to a house before the village pulperia (small grocery store) where you can pay your entrance fee. You can then park your car on the main road and walk 10 minutes to the trail head. The start of the trail walks you alongside the river where you can find blue-green pools that cascade one into the other. The hike up to the viewpoint can take up to an hour or more depending on your pace. There are a few rest stops along the trail where you can take a breather and feel the sensation of being swallowed by the forrest.

Once you arrive at the top, a spectacular view awaits. There is a cafe where the family serves a lunch of typical food, a flat pine forest, a kids' playpark, as well as picnic and lounge areas.

A twenty-minute descent down the main road takes you back to your parking spot if you choose to do this loop.

If you do not wish to take the full hike, but enjoy the view while eating lunch at the cafe, with a four-by-four vehicle, you can make it to the viewpoint by driving the main road.

The Day Pass at Rio Chirripo

A stay at Rio Chirripo is unforgettable, but if you weren't so lucky to be able to book a reservation, the hotel offers a day pass option to enter for a reasonable fee. The day pass includes a morning yoga class, breakfast, and use of the amenities such as the pool, one of two hot tubs, and their private riverfront. If you would like to upgrade your day pass experience, you can add a massage or facial in their spa room.

Talamanca Nature Reserve

The Talamanca Nature Reserve is a non-profit project, dedicated to protecting and enhancing the local flora, fauna, and avifauna, and provides employment to the locals in the village.

Miles and miles of inexplicable beauty, hiking tours to any of our waterfalls. The trails take you to each of the 10 waterfalls on the property. You must have a guide to go on the trails.

They also have comfortable accommodations, guided tours, internet, a restaurant, and a bar.

For more information on the Talamanca Reserve visit our blog post on places to stay in the Chrripo Valley

Secret Gardens

A must-see for botanical enthusiasts; the Secret Gardens hosts a variety of exotic flora. Located in the village of San Gerardo, the Secret Gardens are owned and maintained by a locally owned family. Besides winding trails that take you around the garden and up to a viewpoint with expansive mountain views, there is a cafe serving typical food and a few cabins for rent.

The Chirripo Trail from Los Angeles

For hikers that like to take the trails least explored, The Chirripo Trail from Los Angeles isn't a well-known trail, but is a favorite of most locals. Finding this trail is like entering a speakeasy. You must befriend a local resident and have them show you where it is.

Well worth it, the trail takes you from Los Angeles up to a viewpoint looking down the valley. From this high point, you are standing on the ridge that divides the villages of Los Angeles and San Gerardo. It takes approximately 30 minutes to get from the main road, up the trail, to the viewpoint. Because it is a relatively easy hike, the viewpoint is an ideal location to set up a picnic and watch the sunset on summer days.

From the viewpoint, you can continue along the trail into San Gerardo and link up to the Chirripo trail, from there you can continue to the summit (it is advised that if you use this trail, you still register yourself for the hike with the official office in San Gerardo) or you can drop down into San Gerardo at the trailhead for Chirripo near Hotel Uran.

Rio Blanco Waterfall

Another hidden treasure, this waterfall in the village of Herradura is not known to many, but is totally worth a visit. Although it is pinned on google maps for the public, finding the entrance to the trail, right off the public road, is a bit tricky. For your first visit, it is best to go with a local who knows the way.

Quesos Canaan

Quesos Canaan is a local business dedicated to sustainable agriculture, aiming to minimize its impact on the environment and utilize byproducts to benefit the farm. It all started in 2002, when Don Wilbert Mata started making Maduro Cheeses after receiving training from a Swiss man. Little did he know the significance this would have on his life and his family's.

At that time, the market for Maduro Cheeses was relatively unexplored, but the family found an opportunity in tourism, thanks to the proximity of Cerro Chirripó. This allowed them to introduce their new products, which initially didn't gain much acceptance among the Costa Rican population. However, today the market has expanded significantly, and the range of products has diversified greatly.

To provide customers with a deeper understanding, they offer Cheese Tours on the farm. You could learn how to make your own cheese or even milk a cow!

For more information about our tours and Quesos Canaan products, please visit our website at

La Piscina de Canaan

In the center of Canaan, on the main road behind the pulperia (small grocery store) is a pool that is only open in the summer season. Once you step into this zone, you feel like you are at a private resort. No one would ever imagine this gem is hidden behind the pulperia.

A small, family-owned business, the pool entry fee is paid inside the pulperia. For those seeking a non-chlorinated swimming pool, this pool is constantly fed by a nearby spring and is emptied every few days and refilled.

An ideal place for a kids birthday party, swim lessons, or family fun on hot summer days.

Finca Brinca

Finca Brinca, "The Leap Farm", is a plant nursery, pottery studio, and coffee shop in Los Angeles de Rivas. It's owned by John & Karyn, a couple who took the leap to move to Chirripó in 2021 after experiencing massive career burnout from running the rat race for decades in New York and & California.

Karyn is now a full-time ceramic artist, making pottery for sale in their cafe and teaching classes for the community. John runs the cafe and plays guitar there when he's not serving coffee. They serve Calderon Geisha coffee grown in Herradura by a neighbor next to their own farm, which is where the flowers, plants, and herbs sold at Finca Brinca come from.

Their farm, by the way, was purchased through Chirripó Properties. The shop features art and other creations made by local indigenous tribes, local Tico artisans, and ex-pats who have relocated to the mountain. A portion of all sales go into a scholarship fund that allows Karyn to teach Ticos and Ticas wanting to learn ceramics at no cost to them.

The Chirripo Valley has many activities and experiences to offer! Continue to follow our blog posts to find out more about this magical area, and why it's a great place to visit, stay, and invest!

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