Costa Rica 2007, Trip Report, December 2. to December 5.

This summary provides a quick overview and easy access to information on the peaks climbed on my trip to Costa Rica in December 2007.

Copyright Petter Bjørstad, June 2004-2008

DateHeightNamePrimary factorLocationGPS elevation
December 3.3812 m Cerro Ventisqueros 117 m N09:28.549, W083:30.6123828 m
December 4.3820 m Cerro Chirripo 3727 m N09:29.046, W083:29.3203837 m
December 4.3807 m Cerro Piramide 114 m N09:28.742, W083:29.2393826 m
December 4.3752 m Pico Sureste 160 m N09:27.660, W083:28.8753762 m
December 4.3760 m Cerro Terbi 228 m N09:27.382, W083:29.6463778 m
***** **** ***************** **** **** **** **** **** ******** ****
This is a rough drawing of the trails and some of the peaks that is posted at the mountain hut.
Note that "GPS elevation" is the "raw" measurement. This GPS measured the sea level at the nearby coast to
be 9-10 meter, thus actual elevations should be adjusted downward by about 10 meter.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica is about 51.000 square kilometer with a population of about 4 million. This small country is located north of Panama and south of Nicaragua. Costa Rica is an example on how a Latin American country can make significant progress provided that energy is used constructively instead of (as often is the case in Latin America) destructively.
Costa Rica has been governed by democracy for more than 50 years. The country eliminated its armed forces many years ago, in fact the first country to write the no army policy into its constitution. The current president Óscar Arias Sánchez, won the Nobel Peace Price back in 1987. The country has protected about 25 percent of its territory in national parks and visitors do notice the public awareness of sustainable tourism, low carbon emmision policies etc.
Costa Rica has a well developed health care system as well as good educational infrastructure. Spanish is the national language, but a large part of the population do also knows adequate English, certainly well enough that visitors without knowledge of Spanish face little problems.

The main airport is located just outside the capital, San Jose. There are frequent connections to the USA. The town of Liberia, located in the province of Guanecaste (north-west in Costa Rica) also has an airport with direct connections to the USA. Flying from Europe, one should try to avoid the USA, since they exercise a very inconvenient transit scheme. Basically, the USA enforces that all passengers pass through US Immigration and even US Customs before catching their connecting flight. This is cumbersome and requires extra time, the country has not understood the word "transit" as it is practiced in the rest of the world. At least two airlines, Sansa Air and Nature Air, operate domestic flights, these flights typically cost US dollar 100, each way between many points within Costa Rica.
Roads and Driving.
The main north-south highway, the Pan-American Highway, is a two lane, paved road. This road has fairly heavy traffic with many trucks and few places to perform a safe overtake. There is a fairly extensive set of dirt roads, these roads may be difficult to use when there is substantial rain. Also, bridges are often missing. Overall, people tend to have or rent SUV type vehicles when driving outside the main cities of Costa Rica. Traffic in San Jose is heavy and driving habits are fairly aggressive, however not as bad as in a few other countries that I have visited.
Lodging and currency.
There is a large tourist industry in Costa Rica, their main market is North America. Accommodations range from expensive luxury 5 star hotels to inexpensive, but nice hostels. The use and acceptance of credit cards is widespread, many places will also accept US dollars. The local currency is roughly converted to dollars (2007) by striking out the last three figures, then multiply by 2.
Useful contacts.
A helpful local travel agency that can organize permits and local logistics. Their email is:, phone number +506-215-2412.
Hotel Uran, right in front of the Chirripo trailhead. An email address is, phone number +506-742-5003 or +506-859-5242.
Kap's Place, an inexpensive hostel with free internet and breakfast in San Jose. Their email is, phone number +506-221-1169.

A note on GPS measurements:
I tested the GPS at sea level on the Pacific Gunacaste coast on the day before this trip. At that location, the GPS showed consistently a reading of 9-10 meter. Thus, it seems that for this area (as also found in many other locations worldwide) my GPS is giving readings that are about 10 meter too high.
As can be seen from the summary of the 5 peaks climbed, there is an unusually large difference between the official elevations and the elevations as measured by my GPS. Note that for Pico Sureste, there is no official elevation, thus I have subtracted 10 meter from my "raw" GPS measurement and assigned this elevation to the peak. The prominence of the peaks has been estimated based on the difference between measurements in the cols and on the peaks, they are therefore believed to be fairly accurate.
Thus, there is a consistent picture showing that the GPS seems to indicate that all peak elevations should be adjusted about 7-8 meter upwards.

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