Before and after hiking the 15km trail up Mt. Chirripo, we stayed at Casa Mariposa, and were truly glad because it is the closest accommodation to the trailhead, and those extra km saved meant a lot to weary legs on the way down. The hotel is build on and around huge rocks above the Rio Chirripo, and the hosts Jill and John are super friendly and helpful, providing stoves, sleeping bags, and lots of information about the climb and the Refugio/hostel at the top. Casa Mariposa has private and dorm rooms at great rates, and all day use of kitchen is included. They will even pick you up from the public bus in San Gerardo de Rivas, just connect with them at www.hotelcasamariposa.net.
The climb itself is long but not difficult, and you pass through rain forest, cloud forest, a burnt area with very different vegetation and then, above the tree line is the final 5 k walk to the summit. Try and reach it by dawn, as you see the sunrise on the Caribbean side while the moon sets on the Pacific side of the country. The Refugio provides overnight dorm beds, icy showers, and free internet, but no toilet paper! Did I mention it is COLD up there? But with so many hikers from Europe and North America, it makes for a warm and interesting social event, and for a single person, it is easy to find folks to walk with.
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