Updated: March 5th, 2019
Cerro Chirripo in Costa Rica is the highest mountain with an altitude of 3,820 meters (12,533 feet) with a protected extension area of 50 thousand hectares (123,552.69 acres) of land.
This makes this place to be visited for many local and foreigners travelers.
However, the difference between this and other national parks, it is that this summit cannot be reached just for the day (Well, there are some exceptions, and some people have done it in one day and maybe Alex Honnold will do it as well LOL) but I think is essential to be fit for that!
Now if you are considering to visit Cerro Chirripo National Park and expect to stay at the base camp for a least one night.
Here is where the reservations process comes across, so we will share with you the steps that you need to follow:
Important: The all reservation process is component by two different entities that need to be contacted:
SINAC: This is an institution from the government and the permits are bought through them. They manage the online permits for a few national parks in Costa Rica.
For the rest of national parks, they have rangers selling the permits at the entrance of each park.
Consorcio Aguas Eternas: This is a group of neighbors who agreed to administer the base camp, food, and other services.
You need to buy these services through them.
Reservations can be made up to 6 months before your desired hiking date.
However, from my perspective, it’s not simple to make a reservation for Chirripo. And it could be worse when you live outside of Costa Rica.
But Consorcio Aguas Eternas has implemented an online system payment for those travelers who will visit Cerro Chirripo.
And this is the NEW step that we will talk about.
1. Looking for availability
Booking your own spaces through the SINAC website can be a little bit frustrating. Actually, from our perspective, this website is NOT completely user-friendly.
The main problem shows up at the moment when SINAC releases the spaces for the high season. Everyone logs on at once trying to get the spot they want.
For example: When I (Rodrigo) was planning to make the reservation for my group, the day that administration of the park (SINAC) released the spaces online, there were over 80 users connected!
So the website kept crashing as I was trying to reserve spaces. I was like: What the heck is this?
So, I tried MANY TIMES before getting our 4 spaces (me, Ligia, Jafeth and Mainor).
Mainly because I was trying to book for Semana Santa (Easter). All the Ticos (Costa Ricans) definitely wanted to go the same days.
And unfortunately this website has not changed and if you see the below comments of this post, you will notice that people still have the same problem up today.
2. Completing the process
When you are making your reservation, you’ll need to have the complete name and ID or passport number of every person who is going. Unfortunately, I did not know this. So, while I was in the process of booking spots, I had to call everyone and ask for their personal information!
3. Final payments
This is the payment just for the entrance fee to the park! Many countries have different prices for an entrance fee to a national park depending on where you’re from. Costa Rica is no exception. The price for locals is ₡4000 colones ($7.00 US) per day and the price for foreigners is $18.00 US per day.
However, this payment is not a problem because you can put your credit card number right away on the website and that will be processed.
The part where it gets a little inconvenient is at the moment when you need to do the payment for the accommodations and food at the base camp. (This used to be through a deposit in the bank account of Consorcio Aguas Eternas)
But DON’T WORRY! Here are some helpful steps and tips for making your reservation successfully.
Steps for making your reservation for Cerro Chirripo
You have probably noticed that there is not much information on the web about making your reservation for Cerro Chirripo.
We had to ask some friends and call Consorcio Aguas Eternas, which was frustrating for us because sometimes they did not answer the phone.
However, it doesn’t have to be so hard for you.
Luckily, we did all this process ourselves and we already know the right people from SINAC and Consorcio Aguas Eternas who to ask for every new step in the reservation process.
Step #1: Registering and doing the reservation
Instead of doing a huge explanation here about how to make your reservation on the website of SINAC Costa Rica, up to the moment where you can put the credit card number for the payment of the entrance fee, we will share the following video to help guide you through the process:
Step #2: Confirmation of spaces
As soon the payment is done on the website of SINAC, you’ll get an email confirmation sent to your inbox (of the email that you use for registration).
That should come from firstname.lastname@example.org, and it looks something like this:
Step #3 & Last but least: Payment of lodging and food
Consorcio Aguas Eternas will send an email for processing the payment of your lodging and food at the base camp.
This payment used to be through a bank deposit or transfer to Consorcios’ bank account.
They changed this and once you get your email from Consorcio, they will send you a unique link (user and password) for proceeding the online payment for the nights that you will stay at base camp, food and other services.
We have not used this new method but this is what we got told by Consorcio.
So it’s very important to communicate with them to make sure your reservation and payment goes through.
506: is the country code of Costa Rica*
Consorcio Aguas Eternas: (506) 2742-5097 ó (506) 2742-5200.
Consorcios’ Website: https://www.chirripo.org/
SINAC email: email@example.com
SINAC’s website: https://serviciosenlinea.sinac.go.cr/
By following these steps for doing your reservation successfully plus the tips in our post about Hiking Cerro Chirripo, anyone will be able to do this great trip.