Region Guide for Central America

Use this Region Guide to easily find and compare Crags.

Table of contents

1. Central America 358 routes in Region

Summary:
JFMAMJJASOND
seasonality
Unknown, Sport and other styles

Long/Lat: -77.123331, 16.530601

1.1. Belize 0 routes in Region

1.1.1. Belmopan 0 routes in Crag

1.2. Caribbean 239 routes in Region

Summary:
Mostly Unknown

Long/Lat: -79.811445, 21.562971

1.2.1. Dominican Republic 4 routes in Region

Summary:
All Boulder

1.2.2. Aruba 16 routes in Region

Summary:
All Unknown

1.2.3. Cuba 219 routes in Region

Summary:
Mostly Unknown

Long/Lat: -79.826069, 21.715963

1.2.4. Cayman Islands 0 routes in Region

1.2.5. Bahamas 0 routes in Region

1.2.6. Turks and Caicos Islands 0 routes in Region

1.2.7. Jamaica 0 routes in Region

1.2.8. Haiti 0 routes in Region

1.2.9. Puerto Rico 0 routes in Region

1.2.10. Unitied States Virgin Islands 0 routes in Region

1.2.11. British Virgin Islands 0 routes in Boulder

Description:

The Baths

1.2.12. Saint Kitts and Nevis 0 routes in Region

1.2.13. Antigua and Barbuda 0 routes in Region

1.2.14. Montserrat 0 routes in Region

1.2.15. Guadeloupe 0 routes in Region

1.2.16. Dominica 0 routes in Region

1.2.17. Martinique 0 routes in Region

1.2.18. Saint Lucia 0 routes in Region

1.2.19. St. Vincent and the Grenadines 0 routes in Region

1.2.20. Barbados 0 routes in Region

1.2.21. Grenada 0 routes in Region

1.2.22. Trinidad and Tobago 0 routes in Region

1.2.23. Netherlands Antilles 0 routes in Region

1.3. Costa Rica 113 routes in Region

Summary:
Sport, Trad and Top Rope

Long/Lat: -84.265088, 9.723702

Description:

Introduction

Historically, Costa Rica was colonized by Spain until its independence in 1821, and as a result Costa Ricans speak Spanish and have many traditional mores based in Spanish culture. Long since the governance of Spain, Costa Rica has developed into a world leader in terms of environmental stewardship and population happiness. According to the New Economics Foundation, in 2009 Costa Rica was the happiest country on the planet. In terms of environmental stewardship, Costa Rica’s government has made the promise to become carbon neutral by the year 2021. Costa Rica also has 23% protected landmass, the largest in the world - an important attribute as the country hosts the worlds greatest species density and diversity. Today, the small Central American country is best known as a tropical tourist paradise, and a friendly (outside of the big city, expect to say Hola or Buenos to nearly everyone you encounter) Latin country of approximately 4.5 million people. Bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Costa Rica is renowned for its beautiful beaches, laid back culture, and amazing biodiversity. It may not come as a surprise to know that tourism is Costa Rica’s largest economic driver. In fact, tourism creates more currency exchange than all agricultural crops (the largest three being coffee, pineapples and, bananas) and industry combined. Agriculture has long been replaced as the major provider for the Costa Rican people, and now holds only 8.6% of the GDP, while industry accounts for 31%, and tourism 60.4%. Actually, Costa Rica has the largest tourism industry in all of Central America, a fact that is closely related to the relatively good quality of life, infrastructure, and political stability. The tourism industry itself has developed way beyond the all-inclusive-lay-on-a-beach-for-a-week-holiday. The country has become a hotspot for adventure, hosting some of the worlds best white water paddling and rafting, heart-pounding high bungees, tropical rainforest canopy waterfall rappelling, canyoning and caving, world class mountain biking, and hiking. Costa Rica’s exotic natural environment also allows foreigners and locals alike to get up close and personal with dense rainforest, majestic sea turtles and marine wildlife, a plethora of colourful birds and parrots, active volcanoes, coral reefs, monkeys, crocodiles and so much more. Beyond the tourist attractions, Costa Rica also hosts a wonderful culture, rich history, and a beautiful people. National pride among Costa Ricans, or Ticos (feminine, Ticas), is strong, particularly regarding the economic prosperity, high literacy rates (97%), access to sanitation and clean water (92% and 97% respectively), stable political establishment, and relatively low crime rates, in comparison to other Central American countries. In general, Ticos consider themselves as peaceful (a fact that is enforced by the abolishment of the army in 1949) and fun loving. The saying ‘Pura Vida’ is regular in Tico conversation and literally translates to ‘Pure Life’, but embodies a wider lifestyle that provides a free-spiritedness and stress-free ease of living. The high national pride is well deserved not only for the comparative standard of living, but also due to the quality of life. With national public health care (alongside a private system), a varied diet, a fairly stress-free lifestyle, and tropical climate, Ticos have a longer life expectancy than many ‘more developed’ nations such as the United States. The high quality of life that Ticos enjoy permits them to divulge into their natural environment, arts and culture. On most weekends, many will visit one of the countries stunning beaches, hike the mountains of the central valley around San José, see a movie in a local cinema, or go into the city to visit a museum, see a play, art gallery, or concert. To say the least, there is nothing short to do in Costa Rica, however there is one activity that will always stand above the rest as close to the Tico heart: fútbol. As with the rest of the Latin world, Costa Rica loves soccer. Almost every town is situated with three main landmarks in the center: a church, a major bus stop, and a soccer pitch. If you ever lack something to talk about with a local (unlikely), you can always pick up a local paper and find a solid section dedicated to the sport: catch up on the latest, and let the soccer talk fly. As Costa Rica looks into the future, many developments lay on its horizon. With almost one third of its population under the age of 15, the number of North American and European expats increasing every year, and increasing foreign investment, the demographic and economic landscape of the once mainly coffee producing country is undoubtedly going to go through some heavy metamorphosis. However, it is not only the future of Costa Rican society that appears promising but also the Tico climbing scene. It has been about a decade since individuals took to the vertical world in Costa Rica, and there is much potential for the expansion of routes, areas, and population interest. For more on this read the section Costa Rican Climbing History at the end of the Introductory Chapter.

Climate

Costa Rica has two seasons, rain and sun. For the most part, rainy season occurs between May and November with the rainiest months being October through November. The dry season, between December and April, is the best time to visit the country, with the best months being from late December through February when the temperature is warm, but there is a constant breeze. Later into the dry season temperatures can become very hot as the northern winds die down. This is especially true on the coasts. As for climbing, the best time is late December through February. However, year round climbing can be obtained due to the fact that some crags, like Cachi, are overhanging, and therefore in a light rain remain dry. In the dry season it is best to search out climbing that is shaded, as the tropical sun can make the rock too hot to touch and midday humidity can create a sauna like atmosphere.

1.3.1. San Jose 0 routes in Crag

1.3.2. Cachi 35 routes in Crag

Summary:
All Sport

Long/Lat: -83.797883, 9.843135

Description:

Introduction to Cachi

Due to the ease of accessibility, decently close proximity to San José, rainy season climbing options, high traffic, and constant upkeep of the wall and surrounding grounds, Cachi Crag is by far the most popular climbing area with Ticos and visitors alike. Both the range of difficulty and number of routes keeps climbers coming back for more. On weekends expect the wall to get fairly busy, especially the right side of the wall where the easier routes are concentrated, as this is when beginner groups make their appearance.

The Wall

Cachi hosts a single wall with approximately 35 routes. There is no trad climbing at Cachi, and all climbs are a single pitch. Grades range from beginner 5.6 to teeth clenching hard 5.13+. At the base of the wall is an iron rich light oarange-red dirt that has been cleared of debris, vegetation, and obstacles making for easy access and hassle-free belaying.

The majority of the routes are squeezed into a relatively small space of approximately 30 meters across, however there is currently development expanding the wall and number of routes.

The Rock

When you approach the Cachi Crag, the first thing you will notice is the irregularity of the wall which can be characteristic of some besalt formations.

The besalt you find at Cachi is a very unique style of climbing. If you have never climbed besalt like this before, you are in for a pumpy treat.

Just like granite, besalt is an igneous rock solidified from magma, and is widely considered to be the most common rock in the Earth’s crust. It is a fine grained, dark coloured rock that often forms in irregular ‘blocky’ formations. As a result, at Cachi you will find that the wall is littered with large feet, fat pinches, and plethora of slopers. The mass amount of slopers can often be deceiving in making one think that there are numerous handholds, when in reality most spend the majority of time on the wall trying to determine where your next ‘good’ handhold is.This can be quite the endurance test. The combination of fine grained besalt and sloper based climbing handholds can also easily lead to the quick deterioration of finger pads.

Compared to other rock types, besalt weathers relatively quickly which can create fragments of rock to become detached, cracked, or loose. If you find a loose rock while climbing, as with at any climbing crag, if possible, remove the dislodged piece in a safe manner so that subsequent climbers do not run the risk of an unwelcome surprise.

Difficulty

Conveniently, the climbing generally becomes gradually harder from right to left (when your back is to the river) due to the natural overhang of the wall. Regardless of whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced climber, there is a lot to do here.

Eating

In order to get the most climbing out of your day at Cachi it is recommended that you pack a lunch. There is also a couple of sodas (small eateries) and bars in the town up the road if you have not packed a lunch or feel like eating out. Other than this, restaurant choices are slim in the area. Heading back towards Cartago there are some restaurants along the highway that can host good meal potential.

Another option is to drive into the town of Cachi where one can find restaurants, sodas, and a grocery store. The town is approximately 2km from the.

The River

Another factor that you should take into consideration when climbing at Cachi is the river. Being connected to the dam system at Lago Cachi, the river water levels can rise and fall very quickly without warning. Please exercise caution when along the riverside.

Also, when climbing, the ambient noise from the river can create difficulty in communication between climber and belayer. This is especially true when the climber moves above the tops of the trees.

Things to Remember

Costa Rica, more often than not, is an adventure to climb. Between trekking through jungles, fending off insects, and crossing paths with tropical animals you are sure to have a great day out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when climbing in Costa Rica:

  • Bring extra water. With hot and humid often in the forecast you will drink more water than you may expect.
  • Pack a brush; steel is best. Many climbs can become dirty after the rainy season and if you are climbing something that is friction dependent, you may need to do some spring-cleaning.
  • It gets dark early and fast. This is especially true if you are in a ravine. Pack a headlamp or plan to get out early so that you do not get stuck in the dark.
  • Bring a Spanish-English dictionary, if necessary. You never know when a couple words of Spanish will get you out of a jam.
Access Issues:

Payment

Climbing at Cachi Crag costs 4000 colones and can be paid directly to the land owner, Don Vidal, upon arrival. If you are arriving during an off time, (during the week) you may have to visit Don Vidal’s home in order to obtain the key to open the gate before going down into the valley (the gate is at the base of the valley accross the bridge). On most weekends he is down at the crag climbing with his daughter or hanging out with the climbers. You can contact Don Vidal (does not speak English) for more information at 8867 8259, email at rockclimbingcachi@hotmail. com, or check out the Cachi Escalada Facebook page.

Equipment

Don Vidal has some equipment for rent, however selection is limited. I would highly recommend bringing your own equipment. If you do not have equipment and are in the market, Costa Rica is the wrong place to be. With a very small climbing community, the sale of climbing equipment is not commercially viable for most outdoor retailers. Your best option is to order it online. If you are desperate, Mundo Adventura (P:2221 6934) in San José has a basic supply of climbing equipment (shoes, chalk, etc.).

Approach:

By Car

Approximate Travel Time: 55 minutes

Exit San José on the Interamerican Highway (also called the Pan American Highway or Costa Rica Highway 2) eastbound towards Cartago. Just outside of San José you will pass a large mall with movie theater on the left side. Immediately after the mall you will come to a toll booth (the toll is approximately 200 colones).

Follow Highway 2 until you are about 2 km west of Cartago city. Here (currently traveling southbound) you will take a left bending road at a soccer pitch off Highway 2 and onto Highway 10 (now traveling eastbound into Cartago - there is a large sign). Highway 10 will take you directly through Cartago. Once you pass a large immaculate white basilica, stay right after the soccer pitch. Drive south for approximately 200 m to the next major road (Avenida 3) and then make a left.

This road will exit Cartago heading towards Parasio de Cartago on Highway 10. You know you are just outside of Parasio de Cartago when you pass a large cemetery on the right side. Once in Parasio de Cartago, make a right in the center of town at the corner of the park. Following this road you will go down and then back up a hill. A white sign on the right hand side (approximately 100m after the park and not overly obvious) will indicate where to turn left for the road to Cachi. Follow this road (and the signs for Cachi) as it will lead you down into the valley where Lago Cachi and the Cachi dam is located.

Look out for the bridge which crosses the mouth of Lago Cachi, passing the dam on the right hand side. Following the dam, take your next left up a small, low incline hill with the dam now on your left and then at the fork in the road, make a right. The road will continue through a small town. There is a soda and a bar in this town that can provide a post climbing beer and snack. Continue straight through the town. The road will bend to the left around a green church, followed by a small elementary school. About 400m after the school there will be a cemetery on the left hand side, the entrance to the crag is the next unpaved driveway on the left.

The land owners house is another 500m down the road on the left hand side. If you are driving a 4x4 vehicle with high suspension/ ground clearence (SUV, pick-up truck, etc.) you can venture down the entrance to the crag, and park at the base of the wall. Only 4x4 vehicles should go down to the base of the valley. This is because the road is unpaved, very steep and contains a lot of loose gravel and rock. Even if you are driving a 4x4 vehicle you may wish to think twice about driving down the driveway during the rainy season (May to November) as heavy rains can make the road downright undriveable.

By Bus

Approximate travel time: 2 hours

From anywhere in San José take a taxi to the Lumaca bus terminal (P:2537- 2320). Alternatively you can also ask to be taken to the bus for Cartago to get to the same location. Any taxi in town should know where the terminal is. If you are walking, the terminal is located at Avenida 10 and Calle 5.

There is no direct bus to the town of Cachi from San José, so you will need take the bus from San José to Cartago and then transfer in Cartago onto the bus for Cachi. The bus from San José to Cartago takes approximately an hour and will cost just under 500 colones (or take a 700 colones direct bus).

Get off in the center of Cartago. Pay attention for the soccer pitch on your right hand side once you get into Cartago. Your stop is the one following the soccer pitch, which is beside a large white-walled Cathedral with red painted trim around the base of it, in the middle of town (this is located at Avenida 3 and Calle 6). Most Ticos will get off the bus here, as should you. Don’t forget to thank your bus driver. Once off the bus directly across the street is the bus stop for the Cachi bus. This stop is kitty-corner (diagonal) to a MusManni bakery.

The bus to Cachi will take approximately an hour and will also cost just under 500 colones. You must get off the bus before it gets to Cachi. Keep an eye open for the dam at Lago Cachi. The bus will cross the bridge with the dam on the right hand side and then take a left at the next street. It will climb a small hill and then take a right, turn a bend and go through a small town (this is not Cachi). Shortly, the town will thin out and the bus will reach a large green church where it will do a three point turn and go back the way it came (it will now go to the town of Cachi). Get off the bus here when it is doing its three point turn (at the green church). Remember that this is also where to catch the bus back to Cartago. Just ensure the bus is going to Cartago and not Cachi. Note: You never actually go to the town of Cachi (see further instructions on the return trip via bus).

Walk the opposite direction the bus came from towards the church and then around the bend past the school on the left hand side. Continue down the road for approximately 500m. You know you are close when you pass a small, white, ceramic clad cemetery on the left hand side. The next major unpaved driveway on the left that goes down into the valley is the entry point for the crag. Standing at the roadside you should be able to see the crag across the valley. Don Vidal’s home is another 300m past the entrance on the left. You can identify his residence by a sign reading Cachi Escalada.

The approach is a beautiful yet steep downhill walk to the river at the valley floor. When you get to an obvious fork in the road, stay left in order to use the bridge to cross the river. Once across the bridge, follow the road past the gate to the crag. If the gate is closed (it may be closed if Don Vidal has yet to open it) you will need to contact Don Vidal to obtain the key.

Returning by Bus

In order to return to San José by bus, head back to the bus stop near the school and the church. On regular hours the bus comes about every 45 minutes. Ensure that the bus you get on is going to Cartago and not Cachi. Once you arrive back in Cartago, the bus will drop you off at the same stop you you originally picked it up to head towards Cachi. This is where your return trip differs slightly from your trip to the crag. You can either get a taxi to take you to the terminal for San José bound buses, or you can walk for about 20 minutes. Walking central Cartago can be a bit confusing and from where the Cachi bus drops you off, the San José bus terminal is 6 blocks North and 5 blocks West. It is best to ask a local how to get to the terminal.

Where To Stay:

Besides climbing, the land owner has worked hard to provide a positive experience for climbers and non-climbers alike. For example, camping (3000 colones per night) is available both by pitching a tent under the tarp covered camping area or by renting one of the two rooms in the cabin which hosts a bed. The cabin has a picnic table, basic shelving, sink, and a bathroom for use as well.

The property also has a beautiful spring water fed swimming hole down by the riverside. The swimming hole has a bolt in a rock on one side and a tree on the other, so if you have a slack line bring it along and set it up overtop the swimming hole. This is a great activity to warm up before climbing and perhaps wait for the sun to get off the wall. There are also hiking trails along the river that lead to a small cave and more camping areas.

Ethic:

Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment.

Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne.

Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly.

  • Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip.

  • Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large.

  • Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

1.3.3. Rio Oro 10 routes in Crag

Summary:
Mostly Trad

Long/Lat: -84.209956, 9.939207

Description:

Introduction

Rio Oro is a small wall in a tributary of the Virilla river system. Although not as fruitful as Forum, Cachi, or some of the other climbing locations in Costa Rica, Rio Oro does have some advantages. Firstly, the short walls, but higher grades provide an advanced version of El Coliseo that beginner climbers may find useful. Also if you like the idea of highball bouldering, but don’t have the confidence to go the distance off a rope, this is a good training ground. Finally, the location and ease of accessibility make it a painless half day trip. This being said, Rio Oro does have a lot of homemade anchors and bolts. It is highly recommended to bring some stoppers to back up your belay, or top rope off of one of the many trees, rather than lead some of the routes and chance a fall onto a homemade bolt. Accidents have happened here so if you choose to climb at Rio Oro, please stay safe and be cautious

The wall

The routes at Rio Oro are either on the 9m high main wall or on a series of dislodged boulders that are a couple of meters shorter. The wall can often become dirty due to the rainy season, especially near the top of the wall, so it is recommended that you bring a brush. Many are in need of replacement, and proper anchors, however most can be climbed using top rope stations set up on trees.

Routes are listed left to right on the main wall (when facing the main wall), and counter clockwise on the free standing boulders. Many routes have homemade hardware and therefore cautious climbers may wish to back-up their lead with trad gear or slings. All routes are short, but most pack a punch worth their weight.

The Rock

Like Forum and El Coliseo, the rock is Ignimbrite, giving characteristic pockets and large sections of featureless vertical wall. Here you are going to find two main features, cracks and shallow pockets, although the odd pinch does show face. The shallow pockets and knobby feet require finger strength and footwork that will hone your skills.

Most of the climbs are vertical or nearly vertical with the exception of a few that are slightly overhanging.

Descent / Exiting the Ravine In order to exit the ravine, you can either leave a rope on the large tree and climb out, then providing a top belay to your partner, or you can climb the large tree roots that run up the main wall. The roots can sometimes be dirty, and the most difficult section is at the top, so make sure that you are feeling strong and confident before scaling the roots.

Eating Because of its location in the center of a housing area, there are no grocery stores or restaurants in the direct vicinity of Rio Oro. The best option is to bring food and water with you down to the wall. Other options include stopping off at Forum along the way to grab a bite at Mega Super, or one of the many restaurants in Lindora, or continuing along the highway towards Ciudad Colón for the eatery options for 'El Coliseo'.

Things to Remember

Costa Rica, more often than not, is an adventure to climb. Between trekking through jungles, fending off insects, and crossing paths with tropical animals you are sure to have a great day out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when climbing in Costa Rica:

  • Bring extra water. With hot and humid often in the forecast you will drink more water than you may expect.
  • Pack a brush; steel is best. Many climbs can become dirty after the rainy season and if you are climbing something that is friction dependent, you may need to do some spring-cleaning.
  • It gets dark early and fast. This is especially true if you are in a ravine. Pack a headlamp or plan to get out early so that you do not get stuck in the dark.
  • Bring a Spanish-English dictionary, if necessary. You never know when a couple words of Spanish will get you out of a jam.
Approach:

By Car

Approximate time: 20 minutes

Take highway 27 from the south Sabana west out of San José towards Escazú, Santa Ana, and Ciudad Colón. After the tollbooth, where you will have to pay 290 colones, you will pass Multiplaza (a large shopping mall) on the left hand side. Continue on the highway for approximately 10 minutes, passing the Forum complex on the right after a large hill. After you pass the Forum Complex you will take the next exit off the highway. This off ramp will take you down to a housing complex on the right side with a large yellow wall. Do not stop here, but rather continue straight, driving back up and seemingly onto the highway, however stay in the right lane and exit on the road that goes off the highway to the right. This road will then bend to the left around a building with blue tinted windows and take you to a guard office with a large glass bestowed building directly in front of you, and a red walled house on the right. Tell the guards that you are going climbing and there should be no issues. Depending on the guard, they may not like the idea of you driving in, so instead offer to park in the parking lot in front of the large glass building. Whether you walk or drive in, follow the road into the housing complex. You will pass two T intersections, one on the right and then one on the left before coming to a 4-way intersection with a stop sign. At the stop sign make a left and then at the next street, turn right (there is a park on the left side once you have turned right). Follow this road as it curves to the left and then drive/walk approximately 300m. The entrance to the climbing area requires you to cross an empty fenced off lot directly to the left of a small light coloured house with red roof . If you drove into the housing complex, park on the road in front of the empty lot. Make sure that you do not park in front of the small house with the red roof, as the owner has been known to be not overly welcoming to climbers. If she does say anything, be polite and mention you are climbing in the ravine. Cross the field and find a small opening in the trees from which you can rappel down into the ravine.

By Bus

Approximate time: 30 minutes

Get yourself to the Comtrasuli (P: 2416-8036, 2258-3903) bus terminal, also the terminal for Ciudad Colón. Take a collectors (not direct) bus towards Ciudad Colón, and get off two stops after Forum. The bus driver will only stop at the first stop after Forum if someone has requested it. If the bus has exited the highway and gone through the free tollbooth, then you have gone too far. The best option is to ask the driver for the Urbanization de Rio Oro. The bus will let you off just after the pedestrian overpass with a blue guard rail, past the main entrance for the housing complex that is Urbanization de Rio Oro. You will need to walk back (opposite direction of traffic) approximately 50m and cross in front of the large glass building. The guards may ask you some questions, or they may just let you go without waking up. If they do request some information, just let them know that you are going climbing.

Continue walking down the street into the housing complex until you reach the first 4-way intersection (also the first stop sign). Make a left and then take your first right at the small park. This street will bend to the left, and then walk 300m to where you will find multiple vacant lots before a small light coloured house with a red roof. Cross the last lot just to the left of the house and in the middle of the back of the lot you will find a small opening in the trees from which you can rappel down to the base of the main wall in front of Media Luna.

Ethic:

Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment.

Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne.

Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly.

  • Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip.

  • Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large.

  • Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

1.3.4. El Coliseo 3 routes in Crag

Summary:
All Sport

Long/Lat: -84.220921, 9.926166

Description:

Introduction

El Coliseo is slightly west of the town of Piedades and hosts a very modest three climbs on a small wall on the edge of a farm. Despite the lack of route quantity, the area is a good spot for strong beginners who are starting to lead, is relatively close to San José, and is free.

The wall

A single wall of approximately 10m hosts all three of the routes at this area. The wall is situated near the entrance of a farm and you should ask permission from the landowners in order to climb. The wall itself is practically vertical, with a slight forward lean, and large overhanging trees. The section that has been bolted is the only spot on the wall that is suitable for sport climbing as the remainder is either covered with vegetation (mostly tree roots or vines) or is too short to justify bolting. Bouldering is an option.

The Rock

The rock here is ignimbrite and has a good number of deep pockets, cracks and crimps. Rock quality is good; just expect to do a little cleaning early in the climbing season.

Routes

A single small wall of approximately 10m hosts only 3 routes that provide a good learning ground for those not wanting to jump head first into lead rock climbing. During the wet season, the wall can become very dirty due to the rain, therefore summer climbing is recommended and you may need to do a quick cleaning of some of the holds. Climbs are listed from let to right when facing the wall and your back is to the road.

There is also the possibility to do some bouldering. Despite only having three routes, all three are of good quality.

Eating

Although El Coliseo may not provide as many routes as some other areas in Costa Rica, there are some good eating locations in the area. Da Marco Ristorante Italiano (P:2282- 4103) and La Oveja Negra Bar y Ristorante (P:2203-0606) are highly regarded by locals and visitors alike. Da Marco serves up homemade Italian (obviously) cuisine and mainly caters to the Hotel Canal Grande customers, while the latter has a tasty tapas menu. You also have the option to head into Piedades for Chinese, or Tico cuisine. For those tight on budget, there is a supermarket just down the road from the crag.

Things to Remember

Costa Rica, more often than not, is an adventure to climb. Between trekking through jungles, fending off insects, and crossing paths with tropical animals you are sure to have a great day out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when climbing in Costa Rica:

  • Bring extra water. With hot and humid often in the forecast you will drink more water than you may expect.
  • Pack a brush; steel is best. Many climbs can become dirty after the rainy season and if you are climbing something that is friction dependent, you may need to do some spring-cleaning.
  • It gets dark early and fast. This is especially true if you are in a ravine. Pack a headlamp or plan to get out early so that you do not get stuck in the dark.
  • Bring a Spanish-English dictionary, if necessary. You never know when a couple words of Spanish will get you out of a jam.
Approach:

By Car

Approximate time: 25 minutes

On highway 27 out of San José head west towards Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colón. The highway is at the far west side of Paseo Colón and travels south of La Sabana. Just outside of San José you will have to go through a tollbooth, which currently costs 290 colones. Continue driving for about 20-30 minutes and pay attention to signs for Ciudad Colón. Just before exiting the highway on the turn off for Ciudad Colón, you will pass a Ducati Motorcycles dealership and a large Bali store which is part of a larger modern looking glass and steel building on the right side. Take the turn off, and pass through a second (free) tollbooth. The off ramp will bend to the left and then lead you down onto a road. Take your first, immediate left, the resturant La Oveja Negra will be on the left side. Follow this road until the T intersection. Take a right and drive for about 2 minutes to the rock, keeping to the left of the San Marcos shrine. The rock is at the entrance to a farm (finca) with a blue gate, just before the road becomes gravel.

By Bus

Approximate time: 35 minutes

From anywhere in San José take a taxi or walk to the Comtrasuli Terminal (P:2258-3903, 2416- 8036) (also known as the terminal for Ciudad Colón). Any of the collector buses for Ciudad Colón will do and should cost no more than 500 colones (350 at the time of writing). You can also catch one of the collector buses to Puriscal or Palmichel, as they take the same route to your destination, however they cost 20 colones more. After approximately 30 minutes on the bus pay attention for the second tollbooth you will go through. Unlike the first tollbooth just outside of San José, the bus will come off the highway and pass through the second one without paying, as this tollbooth is out of commission. After going through the tollbooth, the next stop is yours. The bus will take the off ramp, which bends to the left, and then drive down onto a street. Request for the next stop as you go through the tollbooth. The bus will stop at the first intersection, which is where you get off. Begin the approach.

Approach

Approximate time: 20 minutes

From the bus stop, take the south leading road up a short hill (no more than a 10-12 minute walk).When you reach the end of the road, you will have a choice to go either right (towards El Coliseo) or left (towards Piedades). Turn right, and pass the Super El Piedades on the right side. The first street you pass on the right leads to Ciudad Colón. When you see the shrine with a statuette reading San Marcos, keep left and continue down the road for about another 3-5 minutes. The rock will be to the left just beyond the entrance to a farm (finca) with a blue gate, before the road becomes gravel. Watch out for snakes as you cross the field! There are over 130 species of snake in Costa Rica, 17 of which are venomous. Make a lot of noise and be aware.

Ethic:

Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment.

Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne.

Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly.

  • Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip.

  • Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large.

  • Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

1.3.5. Pico Blanco 5 routes in Crag

Summary:
All Sport

Long/Lat: -84.127601, 9.893001

Description:

Introduction

Climbing at Pico Blanco is one hell of an adventure. Including the fact that it is best to stay for the night, one could say that it has the feel of a mini expedition climb. All factors combined, this is the most extreme location of all mentioned in this guide. Not only is getting to the top of the wall a challenge, with the lowest grade being 5.11c, but getting to the base of the wall is also a challenge with solid class 4 trekking constantly uphill through venomous snake inhabited forests with no or little trail to follow. Moreover, the weather and amount of time it takes to get there makes Pico Blanco suitable for only the fit, strong-willed, adventure seeker.

The Wall

There are multiple walls on a single large feature of rock called El Torre (The Tower), which is visible and aesthetically magnificent from a good portion of the latter bit of the approach. El Torre jets up out of the hillside and provides a view of San José as an incredible backdrop while climbing. Because of the high altitude, cool temperatures, and amount of mist, lichen has coloured much of the wall in bright oranges, yellows, and greens.

There are various features such as a large slab section, an arête, and straight vertical wall. Also a large ledge provides a second belay for multi-pitch climbing. There is great potential for expansion on this rock, as the wall around the 6 routes that have been bolted is vacant.

The Rock

The metamorphic rock provides visually pleasing arrays of colours, and a physically enjoyable selection of pockets, ledges, and crimps. The rock can be a bit chossy due to the constant heating and cooling from the changing weather. I would highly recommend a helmet.

Eating

Bring all food and water as the closest source of either is a 2 hour hike into San Antonio. Many locals drink from the nearby river regularly without problems. If you are bringing food in, please ensure you take your garbage out.

The Weather

The elevation of Pico Blanco (2428m) can be both friend and enemy as weather can change quickly from sunny, windy, and cool, to cloudy, windy, and cold. In the heat of the Costa Rican summer, Pico can be a comforting place to climb thanks to the much cooler temperatures (sometimes 10°Cdifference or more) found in the mountains in comparison to the valley and city. However the weather can also wreck havoc on your climbing plans. If the cloud ceiling is particularly low, expect the weather on Pico Blanco to be wet, cold, and windy, even if it is hot and sunny in the city. For this reason, it is always good to not only check the weather forecast before you leave to climb, but also to look up at Pico Blanco and determine if clouds are engulfing the peak.

Routes

Pico Blanco hosts a great potential for more than the 6 routes that are currently found on a single section of the mountain. With many other rock faces around the summit of Pico Blano, it would not be a suprise if future developments were targeted for this area. All of the routes here are at the harder end of the spectrum and have incredible exposure, with views of San José and the surrounding valley, giving Pico Blanco the feeling of being more like a big wall climb that single pitch sport climbs. Routes are listed counter clockwise starting with El Trepon de la Zeguea.

Approach:

By Car

Approximate time: 20 minutes

Take highway 27 from the South Sabana west out of San José. You will go under a bridge with a green mural of a butterfly, frog, and train painted on it and then over a large ravine. Take the first exit off the highway after the ravine. There is an EPAon the right and this road will take you down and around to the left under the highway heading southbound. Directly after going under the highway, there will be a Walmart on the right hand side and then a set of lights.

Continue straight through the set of lights past a T.G.I.F. restaurant. Maintain on this road, keeping to the left at the gas station. This will take you into central Escazu. You will be forced to take a right (due to the one way streets) and then at Calle 1 make a left. Go south on Calle 1 for approximately 1km, then make a left onto Avenida 8 (this is directly after the Colegio Nuestra Senora del Pillar). Go to the end of the street and make a right onto Calle 5. Take Calle 5 south for about 1.5km into the town of San Antonio de Escazu. Immediately after the large yellow church with red trim in the center of San Antonio de Escazu, make a right, pass the side of the church, the soccer field, cross a small bridge, and then keep to the left at the merging streets. Follow this road south past the Cementerio San Antonio.

At anytime if you are lost or unsure of your bearings, ask for directions to Cementerio San Antonio. Continue south, passing The White House hotel and casino on the left and keeping to the right at Parliament Hill. Another 750m after Parliament Hill the paved road will end. If you think your vehicle can handle light off-roading, continue to the top of the hill, and make a right in the opposite direction of the house with the high cement wall. Follow the dirt road, which will return to being paved for a short hill. At the top of the hill make a right and park along the trailhead, continuing the remainder of the approach on foot.

By Bus

Approximate time: 30 minutes

From San José take the blue San Antonio de Escazu bus from the Coca Cola area. The bus picks up from multiple stops around the Coca Cola, so the best thing to do is to ask where the closest stop is relative to your current location. Get off the bus in San Antonio de Escazu. There is a yellow church with red trim that has a bleak looking rose garden and twin clock towers. There is also a soccer pitch directly in front of the main entrance of the church. After dismounting from the bus it is ‘choose your own adventure’ time. You can: (A) take a 1.5 hour hike up the streets of Escazu until you reach the trailhead, and then hike another 1.5 hours to the rock face. Alternatively, (B) you can take a taxi as far as it will take you and then hike the rest. How far the taxi can take you will depend on if your taxi is four-wheel drive, or if your driver thinks his compact can handle the rough roads. Either way, ask your driver to take you to the White House (La Casa Blanca) Hotel/Casino/Restaurant. From this easily identifiable landmark (via taxi or heel-toe express) continue up the hill, choosing either the right or left of the building marked “Parliament Hill.” If you stay to the right (the shorter route), the paved road will end with a heavily fortified (a retaining wall, electric fence and security cameras) house on the left. Make your way to the top of the fortified house’s property where the road splits to the left and to the right. Make a right turn and continue on the unpaved road for approximately 500 meters until the road becomes paved again and bends up a hill to the left.

If you stay to the left of “Parliament Hill” the road remains paved until you hit the dirt raod at the top of the hill next to the heavily fortified house. If your vehicle is not ‘hearty’ I would recommend the longer but paved left route. Continue on the unpaved road.

Along the way you will be able to see rock formations above you on the mountain, but this is not where you will be climbing – although future development may open up this side of the mountain to climbing as well. The rock you are going to faces the opposite way, overlooking San José.

After approximately 200 meters the paved hill will summit with a slight turn to the right. At the top of the hill the road will continue to the left, and there on your right will be the main trailhead (which is actually a dirt road for the first 150 meters, but thereafter thins out into a rocky trail only accessible by ATV, horse, dirtbike, mountain bike and foot). Begin the approach on foot or ATV, dirtbike, mountain bike, horse, if available.

Approach

Approximate time: 1.5 hours

From the trailhead, walk away from the paved road passing the ‘container’ house on the left, followed by a chain-linked fence that is blocking a driveway leading down to a property. The trail will continue for approximately 10 minutes, until you begin walking parallel to a river. At one point the trail will move closer to the river so that there is direct access to the river. Just after this you will see a potrero on the right hand side. Apotrero is a Spanish word that means an area of land that has been cleared for cattle grazing. In this case, this potrero is on the side of Pico Blanco and is surrounded by a barbed wire fence. You will notice many large boulders and trees across the uphill potrero, however for the most part, the land is clear and there is grass. Climb over the fence and enter the portero, being mindful of snakes when crossing the land. As you hike the hill you will be able to see El Torre directly in front of you. Work your way up and to the left, until you reach a pine forest, which is bordered by another barbed wire fence indicating the end of the potrero land. Climb over this fence and continue up the center of the pine forest for approximately 10 minutes. Where the pine forest ends and the tropical forest begins, slightly to the right, there is a small, easy to miss trail that goes up between two partially ground embedded boulders. If you have a machete and have not been using it, now would be a good time to dawn this tool. Follow the thin trail through athe tropical forest for about 7 minutes until you reach the wall. Be careful for loose soil as the hiking is steep at some places. Use the surrounding trees to stabilize yourself being mindful of loose or uprooted vegetation that will not hold your bodyweight should you slip. For this part of the trek, bring a walking stick to help ground yourself. The first climbs are directly to the left as you reach the wall.

Where To Stay:

Pico Blanco can be climbed in a day, but it is a long day – up early, back late. If you do not wish to get caught in the dark or do not fancy a sunrise wake-up, a less rushed option is to camp and stay overnight, allowing for more time to work the wicked crux on Julieta-ta. The best place to camp is within the pine forest at the base of the rock. There are multiple flat areas where pitching a tent is feasible, and to go to the crag is only a 5 minute walk.

Ethic:

Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment.

Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne.

Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly.

  • Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip.

  • Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large.

  • Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

1.3.6. Forum 38 routes in Crag

Summary:
Sport and Trad

Long/Lat: -84.197693, 9.945252

Description:

Introduction

Climbing at Forum is a true Costa Rican adventure: Pura Vida! When climbing here don’t expect anything short of thrashing through the jungle, belaying in ferns and vines, and climbing tree roots out of necessity. Sadly Forum can be a little dirty, in almost every sense of the word, but don’t let that stop you from coming out. Here you are sure to find awesome technical routes worth their sleepless nights.

The wall

There are multiple walls at Forum.

The East Wall is a large flat wall with great exposure but often is extremely dirty after the rainy season. If traffic is low and it is still early in the dry season, you may want to bring some brushes and plan some time to clean some of the holds. With little tree cover, and facing westerly, the East wall also receives the most sun. Climbing midday may be out of the question as the sun makes doing almost anything on the east side of the river extremely sweaty.

The West Wall is much more featured and therefore does not become as dirty during the rains. Still, a good scrubbing may be needed if you are one of the first on the route after the rainy season. Also the west side of the ravine has much more tree cover and therefore is basically completely shaded by about 11AM onward.

The Rock

The rock at Forum is ignimbrite. Expect pockets, tall vertical cracks and block formations. Forum can be a little sketchy. The heavy rains of the wet season erode the walls and over time large sections of wall have fallen to the ravine floor. It can be an intimidating fact that most of what you are stepping on had to come from where you are climbing at one point in time. Thankfully, to date, no routes have been affected by rock fall and no climbers have been injured. This being said it is important to remember that no matter where you climb, no rock is 100% solid, and all rock must abide to the natural laws of the environment. Forum is no exception. Take caution when climbing near large blocks, the waterfall, overhanging sections, or loose looking pieces of wall. Also take notice to how cracks may have changed in size and shape. In general, the rock is better to climb later in the dry season, as it is easier to clean, is drier, and is more likely to be settled after the rains. This in mind, the overall rock quality is good and choss is rare.

Difficulty

A day out to Forum generally requires serious technical ability and some confidence in climbing prowess. Even the easiest exit out of the ravine, while only being a mild scramble is committing at some areas.

Eating

The closest place to get some grub is the Mega Super grocery store across from the Forum Business Complex. If you are looking for a restaurant, you are definitely in the right area. North on the road that is perpendicular to the highway is an area called Lindora, which hosts a plethora of restaurants that serve everything from traditional Tico cuisine to sushi and fast food (including Pizza Hut). Interestingly, Pizza Hut opened its first international franchise location in Costa Rica in 1972, and as a result was one of the first American fast food chains in Costa Rica.

The River

Sadly the potential pure beauty of Forum is seriously tainted by pollution. The river can sometimes smell like sewage and has litter in almost every direction of sight. During the wet season, due to torrential downpour, the river can rapidly swell and therefore extreme caution should be taken.

During the dry season the river levels drop so low that you can cross it at almost any point by stepping from stone to stone.

Also, as the middle of the day can become quite hot, you can often find cooler air temperatures down by the water.

Things to Remember

Costa Rica, more often than not, is an adventure to climb. Between trekking through jungles, fending off insects, and crossing paths with tropical animals you are sure to have a great day out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when climbing in Costa Rica:

  • Bring extra water. With hot and humid often in the forecast you will drink more water than you may expect.
  • Pack a brush; steel is best. Many climbs can become dirty after the rainy season and if you are climbing something that is friction dependent, you may need to do some spring-cleaning.
  • It gets dark early and fast. This is especially true if you are in a ravine. Pack a headlamp or plan to get out early so that you do not get stuck in the dark.
  • Bring a Spanish-English dictionary, if necessary. You never know when a couple words of Spanish will get you out of a jam.
Approach:

By Car

Approximate time: 15 minutes

From San José take highway 27 west towards Escazu and Santa Ana. This highway is just south of La Sabaña. Continue on the highway out of San José. You will have to go through the toll, which costs 290 colones. After the toll, you will pass the Multi Plaza mall on the left hand side. You will drive over a large hill and then after about 2km from Multi Plaza you will come to the Forum Business Complex on the right hand side. Keep your eyes open for a 3-plated road sign indicating the exit for Belen and Santa Ana, as well as the continued highway route to Ciudad Colón. Do not take this exit, but rather exit the highway on the next off ramp. This will be as soon as you see the Forum Business Complex – if you pass it, you can exit at the next off-ramp, take a left through the tunnel and back track.

If you exit correctly the road will take you parallel the Forum Business Complex’s main gate. Follow the road onto the overpass, which will allow you to go back towards San José. However instead of getting back onto the highway, stay in the right lane as you come down off the overpass and take the first right turn into the Mega Super parking lot. This turn comes before you reach the lights, and is still technically on the off-ramp. If you miss this turn then take a right at the lights and make your next right to back track to the Mega Super parking lot. Park at the west end of the lot before you start your on foot approach to the crag.

By Bus

Approximate time: 30 minutes

Getting to Forum is very easy by bus. When in San José get yourself either to the bus terminal for Ciudad Colón (called the Comtrasuli Terminal, P: 2416-8036, 2258-3903) or the bus for Santa Ana. The buses for Ciudad Colón are usually white with an orange base, while the buses for Santa Ana are blue. Make sure that the bus you take to Santa Ana is going to Forum 1. I would recommend the bus for Ciudad Colón over that for Santa Ana, as it lets you off directly in front of the Forum Building complex, and hence closer to the climbing. The bus terminal for Ciudad Colón is located on Avenida 1 west of the Coca Cola Market. The bus costs no more than 500 colones (350 colones at the time of this writing, to be exact) and will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Disembark from the bus at the Forum stop. You can ask which stop, or keep your eyes peeled for a large complex of yellow business buildings on the right hand side of the road. The buildings are surrounded by a long yellowish wall. On the wall a metal sign reads “Genesis” in cursive writing. Across the highway there is a Mega Super grocery store.

In order to catch the bus back to San José, from where the bus dropped you off, walk across the highway and east for about 20m to the trees. The trees are situated in between the off-ramp adjacent to Mega Super and the highway. A Ciudad Colón bus heading back to San José passes by here every 30 minutes and will pick you up if you flag it down.

The Approach

Approximate time: 12 minutes

The bus will let you off on the side of the highway. If you arrived by car, a good place to park is on the south side of the highway in the Mega Super parking lot. There are multiple ways to get into the ravine of Rio Uruca, all of which require rappelling down into the ravine from a tree. You can enter the ravine from the west or the east side. If it is late in the dry season, the river is very easy to cross and therefore it does not matter which side you enter from. However, if you are entering Forum in the early dry season, or anytime during the wet season (not recommended), the river may still be high and therefore crossing the river once in the ravine may not be an option. If this is the case, you will want to enter from the side you wish to climb, keeping in mind the inability to cross the river.

Ethic:

Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment.

Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne.

Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly.

  • Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip.

  • Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large.

  • Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

1.3.7. Piedra de Aserri 8 routes in Crag

Summary:
Sport and Top Rope

Long/Lat: -84.104513, 9.860996

Description:

Introduction

Just south of San José, on the border of a town named Aserri, a 30m high boulder jets out of the hillside and is well known by locals due to its prominence on the landscape.

If you wish to visit Piedra de Aserri it is recommended by locals that you do so in a larger group of 5 to 10, stating that theft and muggings have been issues in the past.

The wall

A massive boulder displaying a large white cross on top composes all the routes on a single wall. For most of the wall the bottom 5 meters are vertical and therefore support the majority of the crux moves before the wall leans forward slightly and the climbing turns to slab. The top of the wall has some vegetation that can easily be removed, or avoided. Unfortunately, it would seem that a teenage ritual is to throw garbage off the top of the rock, and therefore some of the vegetation acts as a catch basin for debris. Likewise watch for glass at the bottom of the wall. The view while standing on top of the boulder is worthwhile, and given the accessibility to the top, this is one of the few climbing in Costa Rica where topping out is an option.

The Rock

Unique to any other climbing in Costa Rica, at Piedra de Aserri you will find tons of small knobby rock protrusions that act as both crimps and pinches. As you stand with all your weight bearing down on a knob the size of a black bean, the thought of the tiny protruding rock breaking off commonly drifts through your mind, however the rock is surprisingly strong and of good quality. The texture of the rock is very rough, and finger pads wear down fairly quickly.

Difficulty

The slab nature of the rock provides finger strength moves with key balancing poses.

Routes

Being so prominent on the landscape, it is of no surprise that Aserri was one of the first climbing areas bolted in Costa Rica. Relive some of the history and scale the climbs done by the pioneers. Climbs are listed from left to right when facing the wall.

Eating

The 30 minute walk up to the rock puts you 30 minutes from your closest food source, so it is best to plan ahead and take some food and water with you. At the base of the approach there is a small super market (point of interest A) where you can get some last minute munchies or some after climbing rehydration. Within the town of Aserri there are also restaurants, sodas, and larger grocery stores.

Things to Remember

Costa Rica, more often than not, is an adventure to climb. Between trekking through jungles, fending off insects, and crossing paths with tropical animals you are sure to have a great day out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when climbing in Costa Rica:

  • Bring extra water. With hot and humid often in the forecast you will drink more water than you may expect.
  • Pack a brush; steel is best. Many climbs can become dirty after the rainy season and if you are climbing something that is friction dependent, you may need to do some spring-cleaning.
  • It gets dark early and fast. This is especially true if you are in a ravine. Pack a headlamp or plan to get out early so that you do not get stuck in the dark.
  • Bring a Spanish-English dictionary, if necessary. You never know when a couple words of Spanish will get you out of a jam.
Approach:

By Car

Approximate time: 35 minutes

The combination of congestion, one way roads, and nameless streets makes getting to Aserri a challenge to say the least. The best thing to do is to constantly ask locals for directions, first to Aserri, and then once in Aserri, to Piedra de Asseri.

From downtown San José, take Calle Central south until it turns into Costa Rica Highway 214 (which is actually just a regular, busy Costa Rican road). You will come to a roundabout that goes under the highway; continue south on 214. Continue on 214 for approximately 5km where 214 will combine with 209 and become 209 on a single road continuing south. You will pass a cemetery on the right hand side and after another kilometer or so you have reached the town of Aserri. From here it is best to ask a local for directions to the rock.

After passing the church and municipality building in the center of Aserri, continue straight through the next two intersections and then at the ‘Y’ in the road stay left. Drive for another 500m and park at the minisuper (small store or convenience store) on the right side. From here you will walk.

By Bus

Approximate time: 1hour

Catch the bus to Aserri from the center of San José. Ask around for the correct bus stop as the bus goes past the very busy intersection of Calle Central and The Interamericana Highway. Ensure that the Aserri bus you get on is for Barrio Mercedes. Tell the bus driver that you are going to Piedra de Aserri and he will drop you off at the minisuper where you will start your approach.

Approach

Approximate time: 20-30 minutes

From the minisuper, where you can already see the rock up on the hill above you, walk north east down the hill on the side of the minisuper. When a dirt road splits off the main road to the left, follow it up a short hill, and then when a smaller trail breaks off to the right up the hill, follow it. This sometimes steep trail will go directly to the base of the rock and will continue to the top of the rock where the white cross is.

Ethic:

Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment.

Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne.

Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly.

  • Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip.

  • Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large.

  • Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

1.3.8. Providencia 9 routes in Crag

Summary:
Top Rope and Sport

Long/Lat: -83.857975, 9.554632

Description:

Introduction

Situated in a valley in the heart of the Talamanca mountain range, Providencia (or Provi) is a magical place bursting with opportunity for the adventure lover. Already well known for its great quantity and quality of bouldering, Provi also hosts amazing hiking, and mountain biking and even some serious tree climbing with 30+ meter high trees and grades estimated up to 5.12.

Although rock route climbing is still in the development stage, with much of the work being done by Eric Allen, some top rope and sport climbs are scattered around the valley. The map of the town provided is meant to be a rough outline to what is where. However it is highly recommended that you inquire about a guide in town if you wish to get a full experience.

All the climbs, bouldering and non-bouldering, are on private land, so please ask the landowner for permission to climb prior to doing so.

If visiting Provi for its superb bouldering, I would highly recommend picking up Sierra Allen's Costa Rica Bouldering guidebook. This comprehensive guidebook provides all the beta for the boulders in Provi, Cerro de la Muerte and beyond.

The wall

Many of the 'walls' you will be climbing are in fact boulders that are too high for unroped climbing.

The Rock

In general you can expect weather worn rock that is slabby with loads of crimps.

Difficulty

Expect to find a find a good range of climbs from 5.7 to 5.13, however the exact current quantity of climbs is unknown.

Eating

There are a couple of restaurant/soda and small grocery store options in town. Most places that offer a bed also offer meals at a fixed price – just ask.

Things to Remember

Costa Rica, more often than not, is an adventure to climb. Between trekking through jungles, fending off insects, and crossing paths with tropical animals you are sure to have a great day out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when climbing in Costa Rica:

  • Bring extra water. With hot and humid often in the forecast you will drink more water than you may expect.
  • Pack a brush; steel is best. Many climbs can become dirty after the rainy season and if you are climbing something that is friction dependent, you may need to do some spring-cleaning.
  • It gets dark early and fast. This is especially true if you are in a ravine. Pack a headlamp or plan to get out early so that you do not get stuck in the dark.
  • Bring a Spanish-English dictionary, if necessary. You never know when a couple words of Spanish will get you out of a jam.
Approach:

By Car

Approximate travel time: 2 hours

4x4 vehicle required

Exit San José on the Interamerican Highway (also called the Pan American Highway and Costa Rica Highway 2) eastbound towards Cartago. Just outside of San José you will pass a large mall with movie theater on the left side. Immediately after the mall you will come to a toll booth (the toll is approximately 100 colones).

Continue on Highway 2 for another hour, passing the turnoff for Cartago. The highway will take you up into the mountains surrounding Cartago. As you drive the curving and continuously upward sloping road, take in the great vistas of Cartago city and Irazú volcano.

On Highway 2, approximately 75km's from San Jose, you will arrive near the top Cerro De La Muerte where on the left hand side of the road you will find Cafetería Los Chespiritos #1. Note that there are 3 Cafeteria Los Chespiritos that you will pass, and the final one is the one you are interested in. If you need a snack, here is a good place to get it before you go off the highway, however there are a couple of small grocery stores in Provi. From Cafetería Los Chespiritos #1 make the next right turn onto a dirt road beside the office for Parque National Los Quetzales. Follow the road down to the town in the valley for approximately 14km of scenic driving.

By Bus

Approximate time: 4-6 hours

In San José make your way to the new MUSOCbus terminal (P:2222- 2422 or 2223-0686) on Calle Central in between avenidas 22 and 24. It is best to buy your tickets in advance during the weekday, and make sure that you are there at least 30 minutes prior to departure. You want to buy a ticket to San Isidro which will cost approximately 3000 colones. Mention that you are disembarking the bus on Cerro de la Muerte at the Cafeteria Los Chesporitos #1. Likewise you can also say that you are getting off at Parque National Los Quetzales. It is best to ask about returning by bus in advance to determine if you are required to purchase a ticket. The bus leaves at 5:30 am, 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5:00 pm.

After getting off the bus you can either walk the very beautiful, but very long, 14km hike down into Providencia, or you can stand near the entrance to the national park office and hitch a ride. Obviously, the latter option holds a greater deal of uncertainty.

If you choose to walk down, it is very straightforward. There are no turns or places to get lost; so long you stay on the single road into Providencia.

Where To Stay:

The development of the town's reputation for bouldering has sparked climbers to come from San José on weekends and vacations. In turn, locals have met the demand for sleeping arrangements and now there are numerous places to stay in the valley. For real at home charm I would recommend Doña Ana's Bed and Breakfast (point of interest F on the provided map). For any bed expect to pay $10 to $20 per person per night.

Ethic:

Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment.

Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne.

Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly.

  • Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip.

  • Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large.

  • Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

1.3.9. Cerro de la Muerte 3 routes in Crag

Summary:
Sport and Top Rope

Long/Lat: -83.749742, 9.566736

Description:

Introduction

The name for this ominous peak was derived from historical incidences of travellers attempting to go over the mountain on foot and being improperly prepared for the cold, rainy conditions and often paying the ultimate price. Today the mountain is easily accessible by car, and acts as a major artery of the Interamericana connecting north and south Costa Rica.

In view of the climber, Cerro de la Muerte is better known for its rather precariously located boulder field, and subsequently vast amount of high quality bouldering, Cerro de la Muerte also hosts a modest three roped climbs. Although most come here for the bouldering, there is potential to bolt more climbs on some of the higher boulders.

The wall

All three climbs are on a single massive boulder formation approximately 20 meters high. The wall is nearly vertical and provides balanced climbing.

The Rock

The massive boulders at the top of the mountain are dark in colour and are very rough on hand and finger skin. Expect a lot of crimps and friction dependant holds on large rounded rocks. For the most part rock quality is good. Some cleaning may be need, and some crimps may flake off it they are hollow, however it is nothing to be deterred about.

Difficulty

Three easier routes ranging from 5.8 to harder 5.10, with potential for many more.

Eating

The closest location for some eats is at the Cafetería Los Chespiritos #1, which hosts a wide and fine variety of Tico roadside cuisine, from fresh blackberries to fried plantain. There are other restaurants and sodas along the highway in the direction of Cartago. Please do not leave any food wrappers or waste at the top of the mountain.

The Weather

Being on the very top of the mountain, the weather at Cerro de la Muerte is hardly every bright and sunny, and never balmy. Expect some cloud cover, cooler temperatures and chance of light precipitation as weather patterns constantly change around the mountain summit. Pack warm clothes, and bring a camera. If the clouds part, the views are impeccable, especially around sunrise and sunset.

Things to Remember

Costa Rica, more often than not, is an adventure to climb. Between trekking through jungles, fending off insects, and crossing paths with tropical animals you are sure to have a great day out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when climbing in Costa Rica:

  • Bring extra water. With hot and humid often in the forecast you will drink more water than you may expect.
  • Pack a brush; steel is best. Many climbs can become dirty after the rainy season and if you are climbing something that is friction dependent, you may need to do some spring-cleaning.
  • It gets dark early and fast. This is especially true if you are in a ravine. Pack a headlamp or plan to get out early so that you do not get stuck in the dark.
  • Bring a Spanish-English dictionary, if necessary. You never know when a couple words of Spanish will get you out of a jam.
Approach:

By Car

Approximate travel time: 2 hours

Exit San José on the Interamerican Highway (also called the Pan American Highway and Costa Rica Highway 2) eastbound towards Cartago. Just outside of San José you will pass a large mall with movie theater on the left side. Immediately after the mall you will come to a toll booth (the toll is approximately 100 colones).

Continue on Highway 2, passing the turnoff for Cartago, for another hour. The highway will take you up into the mountains surrounding Cartago. As you drive the curving and continuously upward sloping road, take in the great vistas of Cartago city and Irazú volcano.

On Highway 2, approximately 75km’s from San Jose, you will arrive near the top of Cerro De La Muerte where on the left hand side of the road you will find Cafetería Los Chespiritos #1 (there are three of these truck stop like cafeterias and they are numbered #1, #2 and #3 - you want #1, which is the last one as you come from Cartago). If you need a snack, here is a good place to get it. From Cafetería Los Chespiritos continue in the same direction of travel on Highway 2. If you wish to go to Providencia, you will make the next right turn onto a dirt road beside the office for the national park.

If you are climbing or bouldering at the summit of Cerro De La Muerte continue on Highway 2 for approximately 7 more minutes (about 6km) and then make a right onto the dirt road the provides access to the antenna towers. There are very few recognizable landmarks for which to identify the turnoff. Just know that if you pass a broken down blue house on the left side of the road, then you just missed the turn. If that is the case, turn around and take your first left following the ruined house. Follow the dirt road about 1.5km up to the towers and park at their base. The climbing is on the opposite side of the road as the towers and should be visible from the road on a clear day.

By Bus

Approximate time: 2.5 hours

In San José make your way to the new MUSOC bus terminal (P:2222-2422 or 2223-0686) on Calle Central in between avenidas 22 and 24. It is best to buy your tickets in advance during the weekday, and make sure that you are there at least 30 minutes prior to departure. You want to buy a ticket to San Isidro which will cost approximately 3000 colones. Mention that you are disembarking the bus on Cerro de la Muerte at the Cafeteria Los Chesporitos #1. Likewise you can also say that you are getting off at Parque National Los Quetzales. It is best to ask about returning by bus in advance to determine if you are required to purchase a ticket. The bus leaves at 5:30 am, 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5:00 pm.

Once you are off the the bus you will need to continue 6km in the same direction (away from San José), until you reach the unmarked radio tower access road on the right side of the highway. There is no easy way to identify this turn- off, however if you come across a broken down blueish-green house on the left side of the road, you have gone too far and need to go back approximately 50m. Follow the access road up to the radio towers and the boulder field. The climbing is on the opposite side of the road as the towers and should be visible from the road on a clear day.

Ethic:

Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment.

Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne.

Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly.

  • Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip.

  • Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large.

  • Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

1.3.10. Chirripo 2 routes in Crag

Summary:
Trad and Sport

Long/Lat: -83.483568, 9.472144

Description:

Introduction

The combination of cool weather, pristine natural environment and abundance of big walls and solid rock make Chirripo a climber’s dream playground. If only development of the area was allowed rather than prohibited by the national parks administration, climbers would flock to this Grade A area. This being said, there are two climbs in the park, both of which give a taste of what is yet to come.

The Wall

Big, hundreds of meter high walls occupy the mountain in various locations. Someone just needs to climb it, and sort out the access issues.

Chirripo hosts a massive potential for expansion in traditional, sport and multi pitch climbing. However due to red tape and bureaucratic apprehension climbing in the national park has been forbidden. Thankfully this minor setback did not stop an ambitious few that were ahead of their time and fully comprehended the great potential that Chirripo offers. Only two routes were able to go up, but these have inspired many to view Chirripo as having the promise to be Costa Rica’s premier climbing destination, if only its development will be permitted.

The Rock

Expect huge variety of bolds and climbing styles. Cracks, jugs, crimps, pinches and everything inbetween.

Difficulty

The two current routes on Chirripo provide a warm up at 5.8 and then a bit of a challenge at 5.10b, but the potential for almost every grade is everywhere on the moutainside.

Eating

All food that you plan to eat on the mountain must be taken in and out with you. Make sure you do not leave behind any garbage, and please do not take any natural elements from the park. If in doubt, check with park authorities.

Chirripo National Park

All activities on Chirripo, including climbing, are within the jurisdiction of Chirripo National Park. Because the peak of Chirripo is extremely popular (being the tallest) in Costa Rica and preserving the ecological wealth of the park is imperative, the park administration permits a limited number of visitors into the park each day. Therefore reservations are essential and come at a price. The best thing to do is to call the park administration at 771-5116, and if possible, months prior to your visit. The park is a good size at 508.49 km2, and therefore guides are highly recommended by the park administration.

Altitude

When climbing and hiking at Chirripo you should take into consideration the altitude. At 3820m above sea level, the peak of Chirripo is the highest in Costa Rica and affects athletic performance. Ensure to keep hydrated and well fed so to minimize the effects of the altitude. Remember that minor altitude sickness can occur as low as 2200 meters. Also prepare for much cooler temperatures as you scale the mountatin. Night time temperatures often dip close to or below freezing. If you lose control of body temperature due to cold, or if the altitude makes you feel faint, weak, out of breath, noxious, or ill, descend to a lower altitude and seek medical attention.

Things to Remember

Costa Rica, more often than not, is an adventure to climb. Between trekking through jungles, fending off insects, and crossing paths with tropical animals you are sure to have a great day out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when climbing in Costa Rica:

  • Bring extra water. With hot and humid often in the forecast you will drink more water than you may expect.
  • Pack a brush; steel is best. Many climbs can become dirty after the rainy season and if you are climbing something that is friction dependent, you may need to do some spring-cleaning.
  • It gets dark early and fast. This is especially true if you are in a ravine. Pack a headlamp or plan to get out early so that you do not get stuck in the dark.
  • Bring a Spanish-English dictionary, if necessary. You never know when a couple words of Spanish will get you out of a jam.
Approach:

By Car

Approximate time: 3.5-4.5 hours

Out of San José take the Interamericana Highway east towards Cartago. Just outside of Cartago City, the highway will turn south, continue on the highway towards San Isidro de El General. Once in San Isidro de El General, take the road north east to San Gerardo de Rivas. This is the town from where you will launch your expedition. From San José to the park is approximately 165km. The time it takes to cover this distance can depend on many uncontrollable factors such as weather, traffic, and road conditions. Plan accordingly.

By Bus

Approximate time: 4-5.5 hours

In order to get to Chirripo Naitonal Park you must first take a bus to San Isidro. An hourly bus departs just outside of the Coca Cola terminal in San José from 5am until 5pm and should take about 3 hours and cost no more than $10.

Once you arrive to San Isidro, then take another bus to San Gerardo de Rivas from the San Isidro terminal. This bus leaves the terminal twice daily at 5am or 2pm and costs no more than $2. In San Gerado de Rivas, either taxi or walk to the entrance of the park just outside of town.

Ethic:

Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment.

Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne.

Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly.

  • Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip.

  • Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large.

  • Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

1.4. El Salvador 1 route in Region

Summary:
All Unknown

Long/Lat: -88.848812, 13.648405

1.4.1. San Salvador 0 routes in Crag

1.4.2. AubuissonCerote 1 route in Crag

Summary:

1.4.3. Pico del Frente Fmln 0 routes in Crag

1.5. Guatemala 5 routes in Region

Summary:
All Unknown

Long/Lat: -90.425597, 15.592652

1.5.1. Guatemala 5 routes in Region

Summary:

1.5.2. Pacoc 0 routes in Crag

1.6. Gunko 0 routes in Crag

Unique Features And Strengths:

Interesting basalt formation formed roughly 500 years ago during the last volcanic eruption.

Description:

Physical endurance based climbing on the left side if the wall, compared to the more technical right side.

Approach:

Grab a cab from the city of Boquete to "Los Ladrillos". When you arrive, you will see the crag on your left, it is only 20m off the road.

Where To Stay:

There are plenty of hostels in the town of Boquete, but no camping in the area.

Ethic:

Chalk usage is welcomed, although hold chipping is frowned upon, as well as bolting.

History:

This crag was developed in 2003-2004 and has been enhanced in the years since. It was bolted by a small group of climbers led by one Gary Henning. Since then, the climbing has been maintained by Cesar Melendez, Christian Shreiffer, Dylan Moen Henning, and other local climbers who frequent the crag.

1.6.1. Panama 0 routes in Crag

1.7. Honduras 0 routes in Region

1.7.1. Tegucigalpa 0 routes in Crag

1.8. Nicaragua 0 routes in Region

1.8.1. Managua 0 routes in Crag