Three hour’s drive south of San Jose, San Gerardo de Dota is one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets, a small, sleepy community that sits amongst the lush, cloud forested slopes of the Talamanca Mountains. Overlooked by the majority of visitors, the area is famous amongst bird-watchers the world over who flock to the cool highlands each year to catch sight of Costa Rica’s most famous bird. There, amongst the mossy mountain forests the Resplendent Quetzal reigns supreme, an iconic bird whose fabulous plumage stands out amongst the area’s 200 other species including woodpeckers, humming birds and owls.
Just across the Panamerican Highway which runs through the spine of the country, Mount Chirripó is Costa Rica’s highest mountain at 3700m above sea-level, a beautiful, forested peak that rises high above the clouds. At the base of the mountain, hikers gather at the small village of San Gerardo de Rivas to set off on an energetic two day trek to reach the summit where on the clearest days both the Pacific and Caribbean Coast are visible.