Cerro Pelado is a very old horshoe shaped volcano located 12 kilometers from the city of Cañas in Guanacaste. The name of this hiking destination literally translates into the barren hill, this is because of hard winds that batter the area on a constant basis and most of the terrain is made up of rock so hardly any vegetation or trees grow there or can even take root.
Any type of vehicle can get there and there is no price of admission or payment for parking. Once you arrive all you have to do is open the gate in front of the parking area, leave your car in the shade and start hiking.
How to get here? Waze
The first hills are fairly inclined and tough, the hardest ones are around a 60 degree angle, and the ground is covered with small rocks so be sure to bring some decent hiking boots, they will definitely help! After about 30 minutes of walking at a steady pace the path will start to decline and the hills will become easier to walk. The climate is very nice and even though it may be hot out there is so much wind that you can barely feel the heat.
During the summertime it can get very sunny so it is very important to bring sunblock, hats and especially a lot of water. We made the mistake of only bringing a few liters of water so Dylan had to hike all the way back to the car and drive to the nearest supermarket for water. Also, if you are bringing along any heavy equipment, such as tripods or cameras, definitely distribute the weight amongst yourselves and your hiking buddies because if you don’t, the person carrying everything will not be having a great time – just ask Dylan (I can’t stop giggling).
Camping is more than accessible but remember to bring a camping mat because the ground is uneven and littered with large rocks. You don’t want to be trying to sleep with a sharp volcanic rock jutting into your back! We definitely encourage to only camp during the summer season but if you made the decision like we did to go during the rainy season, definitely bring a very sturdy and waterproof tent. We were hit by a very hard tropical rainstorm and actually had to leave because our tent wasn’t good enough.
After about 4 kilometers of hiking you will reach a series of hills, which are the highest peaks of Cerro Pelado. From the very top of you are treated with a huge 360 degree view of the Gulf of Nicoya, the Chira Island, the Tilaran volcano and green landscapes as far as the eye can see. We were hiking with some friends and we all sat down and just stared at the land stretched out before us. Its just one of those views that you remember for years to come.
The highest peak of Cerro Pelado is a solitary rocky mountain jutting out into the sky. Dylan and our friend Mauricio decided to hike to the top and they said the view was amazing. Just see for yourself below.
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