Hiking is one of the preferred outdoor activities in Costa Rica, there are many places to hike in the country and it is a low-cost activity which is why it has gained so much popularity, whether you are an amateur or a professional, you are sure to find a mountain that fits your requirements.
Clearly the main goal if you are taking your hiking seriously will be the Cerro Chirripó Grande, this is Costa Rica’s highest peak with an elevation of 3,820 meters (12,533 ft.); but if you are just in the beginner stages of hiking, and just looking for different options of hills in Costa Rica you can hike safely, or even for a challenge here and there, we give you a few options of mountain peaks:
1) Pico Blanco & La Ventolera: There is no doubt that the mountains of Escazú are ideal for hikers with a bit more experience and looking for a challenge, being so close to San José they are easy to access. Pico Blanco is the fourth highest hill in the Escazú mountains, standing at 2,271 meters. The easiest way to get there is arriving to the San Antonio de Escazú Cemetery go up about 5 kilometer and there’s an area where you can leave your car. The hike begins and it is certainly uphill, so you need to be prepared with a lot of water and appropriate gear including a jacket for when you get to the top. The vegetation as you climb is amazing and once you get to the top the view makes you forget about the difficult trail. La Ventolera: Before you get to Pico Blanco, many people just stay here to just enjoy the view and a quick picnic, they even bring their pets.
2) Cerro Pelado: This one is in Guanacaste, taking the Route 1 to Liberia before reaching Cañas you have to then take the road towards Jabilla and from this point it’s about a 30 minute drive, there is a parking space area . When you begin walking the heat of Guanacaste will take its toll on you, make sure to bring sunblock, hat and lots of water; the first kilometer is the toughest one, in total it’s a 3 kilometer hike, once you arrive at the top the mesmerizing view will receive you and the temperature lowers considerably because of the strong wind, it is a truly amazing place.
3) Cerro Espíritu Santo: Located in Naranjo, Alajuela, it is perfect for beginners, with just 1,363 meters, and it is also easily accessible. It is said there used to be volcanic activity here, the vegetation is beautiful, it is also one of the best places to practice mountain biking.
4) Cerro Dragón: This peak can be reached through Aserrí or Acosta, but the recommended and shorter drive is through Asserí but you do need a 4×4 car. This is a challenging hike, not for beginners, the demanding walk can take close to 3 hours,
5) Bosque del Niño: Great for amateurs and the whole family and even for the experienced hiker. There are picnic areas and small cabins. There are three different trails, so you can choose the level of difficulty you want, the toughest one is the PN Poás Volcano. There’s a waterfall in the area that is a must visit.
6) Cabeza de Vaca : With an altitude of 2,790 meters above sea level, this mountain peak is located in the area of Prusia in Cartago. There are two different trails you can travel here, one of them is very popular and receives the visit of families looking to spend the day outdoors, the other one is more challenging and is the one that takes you directly to Cabeza de Vaca (Cow’s Head), it’s a long walk but worth it.
7) Barva Volcano: Very nice hike it has different trails that can accommodate beginners as well as experienced hikers. (Cacho de Venado 1,890 meters involves a walk of less than 2 hours, Vara Blanca observation deck; Lake and Volcano crater, and the toughest one Copey Lake which involves a total of 5 kilometers).
8) Peak Kamuk : This is more of an expedition, Cerro Kamuk stands at 3,549 meters (11,643 feet) and it is located in La Amistad National Park, in the remote Talamanca mountains, this is a full one week trip, so if you don’t have plans for Holy Week, this might be ideal for you. Only for experienced hikers.
If you don’t feel comfortable venturing out on your own, there are usually local guides that can show you all you need to see and know of these magical mountains.