07 Oct Rock Climbing in Cachí, Costa Rica
The most popular spot in the country right now is Escalada Cachí in a lovely town called Cartago. You will need to take 2 buses to get there, travel time is about 2 hours total from the capital San Jose. Getting there by bus is possible but could be a little tricky if you do not speak Spanish, so rent a car for the next few days if you can afford it.
Should you decide to go by bus from the city, take a taxi to Estación de Lumaca in Calle 5 y Avenida 10. Fare should be about US $2 and buses depart about every 10 minutes. The bus takes about 45 minutes to reach downtown Cartago. Try to get on a direct bus for a much faster trip.
Be attentive as you arrive Cartago. You will notice the big green field or La Plaza de Deportes. Wait for the bus to move 500 meters more towards Convento de los Padres Capuchinos and get off right there.
Then you will board another bus to Tucurrique, on the north side of Convento de los Padres Capuchinos, diagonal to Musmanni bakery. The bus departs at 7:45 am, 10:45 am, 1:15 pm, 2:30 pm, 5:45 pm. The ticket price is less than US $ 2.
Once on the bus, you wont miss the Cachi Hydroelectric Dam. That will be a good time to alert the bus driver to keep in mind to stop at the entrance of Cachí climbing, which is about 150 meters from Cementerio de Urasca. On the left side of the road, you will see a big sign that says Climbing Cachí. It is quite difficult to find at night, so pay more attention to the sign and bring a strong flashlight.
View from the roadside
From there you can see the big rock at the bottom. Only big motorbikes and 4x4s are able to access this the gravel road for now. You may also hike down the path by foot. The entrance of the estate is about 500 meters away, past the metal bridge. About 15-20 minutes of careful walking down the pathway.
For exact driving directions: Waze
Para dirección en Español: Last One Outdoors
There are 39 different routes as of 2015, varying in difficulty for beginners, intermediates and professionals. All equipment needed is also provided from the climbing rope, shoes (smallest was US size 6), helmet, harness, chalk bag and guided instruction. If you’d like instructions in English, look for Israel to coach you.
Each route is labeled with a name and difficulty level in both Yosemite Grading System and the French Grading System to avoid confusion, although I might have seen some that are inaccurate. The easier ones are on the right side of the rock and gets more difficult towards the left! The rocks can get really hot during midday but cools down as the sun sets. Que calor!
The guides are only there on the weekends from Fridays to Sundays. However, if you are an experienced climber and coming with all your gear, you are able to stay there and climb when there is no one around on the weekdays!
Always happy to help, Israel
There are loads of camping areas near the routes and a few that are further into the property. I recommend staying beside the communal kitchen and bathrooms for convenience. The rooms above it share the same amenities and can accommodate a big group of up to 8 people. Quite a lovely view from the balcony.
The camping tent includes a mattress, pillows, bedsheets, sleeping bags and blankets. Temperatures drop at night so I would recommend bringing your sleeping bag if you have a thicker one. They do not provide any towels so make sure to bring your own. Headlamps or flashlights were quite useful as the area isn’t well-lit.
Head to the supermarket before driving there. There are no food or drinks available in the property or the immediate surrounding areas. Bring a lighter and practice your cooking skills using wood fire. Always best to consider meals that are fast and easy to prepare because the fire wood runs out quite fast and you’ll have to keep replenishing it. There are a few essentials like salt, sugar and some condiments in the kitchen. The tap water is not only potable, but comes out delicious and cold!
A few steps away from the main camping area is a relaxing natural pool. The water is crystal clear but quite chilly during the day. There is a serene river that runs by the property, although it rises fast during torrential rains, even reaching the bridge level. I wouldn’t recommend going there during rainy days for this reason. Also worth checking out the surrounding areas, Cartago is such a charming little town.
For more rates and information, check out their Facebook page or call +506 8867 8259 or +506 8610 9849 if you are able to speak some Spanish. Let me know if you made it there. Pura vida!