Cerro de la Muerte (Peak of Death), Province of San Jose

4.5
#5 of 8 in Nature in Province of San Jose
Cerro de la Muerte is the highest point in the Costa Rican section of the Inter-American Highway. Its name means "Mountain of Death" or "Summit of Death," since in the past crossing the mountains from the Valle Central meant a three- or four-day journey, on foot or on horseback, and many ill-prepared travelers succumbed to the cold and rain. However, the peak is now easily accessible since the highway runs close by.A drivable track from the highway (Kilometer 89) leads to a peak, with its cluster of telecommunications aerials. A short hike is also available from the highway to another peak marked with a barrel. A sign marks the high point of the highway (Costa Rica 2) at 3,335 meters (10,942 feet), from where the vehicle track and hiking trail begin. At this altitude, overnight temperatures can dip below freezing, but the sun soon raises the temperatures in the morning, with a high risk of sunburn in the thin clear air. Record temperatures reach below -6°C.This mountain is in Talamanca range, which extends from eastern Costa Rica into neighbouring western Panama. This range was a volcanic island in the geological past, it raised result of tectonic uplift and its separation from other mountain ranges means that it has developed many endemic species of animals and plants, often with affinities to Andean forms.The higher areas are páramo habitat, with stunted shrubs, dwarf bamboo, and tree ferns, and smaller plants like blueberry, gooseberry and lady's slipper. Below this zone, the natural vegetation is oak forest with bamboo understory, an excellent place to see the charismatic resplendent quetzal.
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Cerro de la Muerte (Peak of Death) Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
16 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Anybody with good driving skills, the ability to concentrate on a very serviceable yet curvy mountain pass road, can do this (yes, a sense of adventure does come in handy). Bare in mind, that this so ...  more »
  • We have made the detour via the Cerro de la Muerte extra from Cartago to Manuel Antonio. We set off in good weather, but soon came into clouds and spent most of the driving in the fog, so we have missed even the pass. At the prospect, we have seen some tiny clips only between the woken. In good weather, the route over the Cerro may have their charms. Advantage is also that drives the most heavy traffic not via this route.
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  • the views of the Cerro is like from the aircraft and fantastic. However it was hard to recognize opportunities for hiking.
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Google
  • The craziest, slowest, most dangerous and most beautiful road I've ever traveled on by automobile. If you want to drive through the clouds on the edge of your seat, then this is the ultimate highway for you. Bucket list! 😎
  • Beautiful nature, is almost untouched as soon as man slightly away from the gravel road. And more great views up to the Chirripó and the sea. Often, the Summit is also a meteorological divide. At 500 meters, you can have bright sunshine and fog. Note: only the highest point on the pass road will be shown on Google maps. But this is not the highest point of the mountain. Rather, a small dirt road from the main road is to the West that has no sign at all. Only if it is CCA 100 m on this gravel road, two large green pillars appear. To get PARQUE NACIONAL DE QUETZALES. You have then on the gravel road ca 4 km further to drive come always in the direction of the communication masts. Then you reach the striking rock formations, where you have wonderful views. This is really the pinnacle. The exit from the main road is located approximately at km 90 of road marking. The only reference to the junction is a white down bending arrow painted on the road.
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  • The view is magnificent, seems to be on another planet. It is too cold but OK with this beautiful view.
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  • Very cold
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  • Good view
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