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.
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 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.
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.
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.