Where to go for rock climbing in Costa Rica

Where to go for rock climbing in Costa Rica

A rock climber scales a wall at Escalada Cachí, Cartago.

A rock climber scales a wall at Escalada Cachí, Cartago. (Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times)

Costa Rica has a good reputation for adventure travel and is a perfect place for hiking, surfing, ziplining, bungee-jumping, parachuting and many other activities. But there’s another exciting and growing sport in the country that is often overlooked — rock climbing.

When you look at Costa Rican mountains you may not see many spots to climb a rock wall, but hidden under all that foliage are some perfect spots to try this exciting sport.

Rock climbing is an extreme sport that consists of climbing up a natural rock formation or artificial rock wall. In many places, the route has already been established; you just have to get to the top. This sport is physically and mentally demanding, testing climbers’ strength, concentration, skill and mental control.

Some of the good rock-climbing spots are natural rock walls in Forum, or Cañón del Río Uruca, located behind Forum 1, Santa Ana; Aserrí Rock, in the city of Aserrí, south of San Jose; Cerro de la Muerte; Pico Blanco, in Escazú; Providencia, in Santa María de Dota; Atenas, in Alajuela; and Escalada Cachí, in Cartago. There are also artificial walls at some training gyms around the country.

Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times

Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times

These are all good spots to climb and enjoy the beautiful landscapes Costa Rica has to offer, but for beginners and those looking for easier access, the best option is Escalada Cachí. Located in the city of Cartago, between the small towns of Urasca and San Jerónimo, it offers stunning nature views.

The 25-meter rock wall has 42 climbs of all difficulties, ranging from those suitable for beginners to those best left to experts.

You can rent all the equipment you need here, including climbing shoes, harness and helmet. Every climb is equipped with steel bolts for security, and at the end-point of every route there are chains and anchors to use to get back down to the ground.

This is one of the few places where you can drive right to the wall in your 4×4 vehicle. And there’s a river here with a cold-water spring, and trails leading to a cave.

For those who would like to spend more than one day climbing, you can rent a small hut with a capacity of eight people, with a wood stove and a little dining room, or you can rent a campsite. This will enable you to hone your climbing skills even at night.

Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times

Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times

Escalada Cachí is just a couple of hours from the capital, and is easy to get to. It’s 3 km from the Cachí hydroelectric dam off the left side of Route 225, and there’s a sign on the left side of the road indicating the entrance.

For more info: Go to the Escalada Cachí website, or email rockclimbingcachi@hotmail.com.

Contact Amanda Zúñiga at azuniga@ticotimes.net.

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