Residents of San Jerónimo de Pérez Zeledón are expecting a boost in tourism now that an alternate and shorter route has been established to reach the peak of Cerro Chirripó.
The peak is the highest in Costa Rica, and climbing it is an outdoor achievement.
Said reporter Helen Thompson when she made the trek from San Gerardo de Rivas in 2008:
“After a groggy two-hour walk and a final scramble up to the peak of Cerro Chirripó, the intrepid walker sits 3,820 meters above sea level (about 12,533 feet), with valleys, lakes, and blankets of calm, white clouds spread out below. There is no sound except the wind and an occasional bird, a world void of human presence.”
Residents of San Jerónimo have been seeking a second access to the peak for years as a way to stimulate development. Last week an agreement was signed between the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación and the Asociación de Turismo de San Jerónimo. The first group of tourist hikers is expected next month.
Banco Nacional said that it supported the project through its social responsibility program.
San Jerónimo is a farming community where residents said they see a future in sustainable tourism that would include trout fishing, horseback riding and rappelling.
Community leaders said that the hike to the peak would take about five hours for a reasonably fit individual. They said the existing route through San Gerardo would take about three hours longer.
The hike to the peak is not for everyone. Expats and Costa Ricans have become lost in the Parque Nacional Chirripó, and those in San Jerónimo said they would encourage hikers to contract with local guides.