Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is located in central Costa Rica on the north-eastern boarder of Mount Chirripo National Park. The town closest to Cloudbridge is San Gerardo which is approximately 1.5 miles away. San Gerardo is quite small with a population of 350 people. The next largest city is San Isidro and is approximately 14 miles away.
Take the Panamerican Highway via Cartago south (Highway 2) for 135 km. A good map is essential. Once you’re out of San Jose it will take approximately 3 hours to reach San Isidro de El General. In San Isidro keep driving south on the Panamerican Highway for about 1 km (from the center of town) until you see the sign “Rivas 8 Km” shortly after the bridge. Turn left up onto this road. After about 8 km, at Rivas, the paved road ends: turn right onto an uphill dirt road. Continue for about 11 km, passing through Canaan to San Gerardo de Rivas (elevation 1350 meters). You’ll need a 4-wheel drive for the last stretch – see further details below for “Directions from San Gerardo to Cloudbridge.”
Directions by Bus from San Jose to San Isidro (then on to San Gerardo)
Traveling by bus is easier on the pocket and the nerves. Go to the MUSOC Bus Station (222-2422) in downtown San Jose. Buses leave almost hourly every day from 5:30am to 5:30pm. It is important to be there at least one hour in advance to get your tickets, although it may be better to buy them the day before (office hours are from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
The ride to San Isidro takes about 3 hours. While you’re waiting, use the internet cafe above the bus station. MUSOC has good buses, so transportation is comfortable. You get off the bus at the last stop, in San Isidro. Your bigger luggage will be placed under the bus, in the storage areas.
Directions from San Isidro to San Gerardo
From downtown San Isidro you can then take a taxi (about $20) or bus to San Gerardo de Rivas. (The bus to San Gerardo departs at 5am and 2pm, and returns at 7am and 4pm.). If you can afford it, the best is to hire a 4-WD taxi at the main square, and tell him you want to go to Chuma. Cost should be $25 or so. You can leave your luggage at Hotel Uran or Casa Mariposa and walk to Cloudbridge. Your luggage can be picked up later by Cloudbridge Staff if you are staying at Cloudbridge.
Directions From San Gerardo to Cloudbridge
You’ll need a 4-wheel drive to negotiate the last 2.6 km from the soccer field in San Gerardo. If driving your own car, park in the community of “Chuma” just before the Chirripo trail, since there’s no parking at Cloudbridge itself, and walk the rest of the way.Alternatively, you can walk up the last stretch or hitch a ride if a vehicle is going your way.
The social center of San Gerardo is the general store, the Pulpería, and the hotel/restaurant Roca Dura (on the right), and the soccer field (on the left). The Pulperia has a pay phone where you can leave messages (771-1866). Click here for more information on the village and places to stay.
In your 4-wheel drive vehicle, pass the soccer field and church on the left. Shortly after passing Hotel Vista al Cerro on your right, bear right at the fork down a steep dirt road. Cross two bridges, over the Río Chispa and then the Río Chirripó Pacifico. About half a kilometer on you’ll pass the community of Chuma with the Restaurant Albergue Urán and the Casa Mariposa on the left, and up the hill from there, the sign for the trail to Chirripó National Park. Continue all the way along the dirt road. Casa Amanzimtoti is about 1 km beyond the trailhead, the last house on the road (see map below). The entrance to Cloudbridge is a further 600 meters by footpath, past the house. Take these directions in Spanish with you just in case.