Cerro de la Muerte

The road from the Chirripo National Park to the capital passes through bamboo and oak forests and sisal plantations. A very dangerous stretch of road, known and somewhat feared for its sudden fog and icy cold winds, awaits the traveler at Cerro de la Muerte, the “Summit of Death.”

This poetic name for the 3,491-meterhigh mountain, the highest point on the Panamericana, dates back to the turn of the century. Prior to that it was known as the Cerro Buenavista for its beautiful panoramic view.

One year, cowboys and ranchers, who had been traveling for several weeks in order to bring their cattle from the Valle de El General to the markets of San Jose, spent the night on the icy pass (3,300 meters). Many of them got ill with pneumonia, which was, at that time, a deadly disease.

The “Summit of Death” is the northernmost peak of the Paramo, a landscape that is characterized by wind-swept highland bushes, moss, heather and tussock grass During the day, with a little bit of luck, you can spot a native sooty robin or a silken flycatcher. A bumpy trail (a four wheel-drive vehicle is necessary) leads from the pass to the summit (takes about 45 minutes on foot.

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