Chirripó National Park is named for its most prominent feature, Cerro Chirripó, the highest mountain in Costa Rica. The park hosts important areas of Talamancan montane forest and Costa Rican páramo, with high endemism and extremely high biodiversity.
Mount Chirripó (Cerro Chirripó) is the highest mountain in Costa Rica, with an elevation of 3,821 m (12,536 ft) asl. It is located in Chirripó National Park and is noted for its ecological wealth.
The mountain was named "Chirripo," meaning "land of eternal waters," by Native Americans because there are many lakes and streams around the mountain.
The peaks of these mountains constitute sky islands for many species of plants and animals. Snow has not fallen at its peak in the past 100 years, according to the University of Costa Rica, but hail is sometimes reported.
The great height of Mount Chirripó relative to its surroundings is also evidenced by its particularly high topographic prominence of 3,727 m (12,228 ft), making it the world's 37th most prominent peak. On clear days it is possible to see across the country from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea.
Temperatures on the peak range from 4-18 ˚C (39-64 ˚F). Temperatures can drop to below freezing at night.
Chirripó National Park
Chirripó National Park is named for its most prominent feature, Cerro Chirripó, which at 3,821 m (12,536 ft), is the highest mountain in Costa Rica and the second highest in Central America. The 50,150-ha (125,600-acre) park was established in 1975 and encompasses parts of three provinces: San José, Limón and Cartago.
The National Park is located in the Talamanca Mountain Range, about 150 km (93 mi) from San José, in the country's southeastern region. The park is home to the highest peak in Costa Rica, a favorite of mountain climbers and hikers.
Cerro Chirripo Grande attracts the most visitors to the area. When the weather permits, both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea can be seen from its summit.
Five ecosystems found in the park include lowland tropical wet forest, premontane tropical wet forest, lower montane wet forest, montane wet forest and wet subalpine forest (páramo). Chirripó National Park is part of the Talamancan Montane forests ecoregion.
The climate is dominated by two seasons: a dry season lasting from December to April and a wet season from May to November.
Wildlife in the park includes spider monkeys, Baird's tapirs, peccary, jaguars and pumas. Over 400 species of birds have been identified in the park, including woodpeckers, woodcreepers and trogons. It is also home to over 260 species of amphibians and reptiles.
The Las Nubes Center for Neotropical Conservation and Research is a facility located at the southwest corner of the park and managed by the York University of Toronto through an agreement with Costa Rica's Tropical Science Center.