The Arenal volcano is in the northern part of the country, in La Fortuna de San Carlos, located in the province of Alajuela. It draws attention for its majesty and imposing beauty and its almost perfect conical shape. La Fortuna area is characterized by having various attractions that make it an essential stop on the tour of all tourists who visit the country. There is the Arenal National Park full of trails within the Cloud Forest and where you can see the lava flows. Likewise, there are waterfalls, rivers to do rafting, relaxing hot springs, Lake Arenal for adventure sports or boat rides and the breathtaking hanging bridges.
Beaches full of palm trees and turquoise water are what you await in this region located from the city of Puerto Limón to the Sixaola River, on the border with Panama. Added to the spectacle of its places is the richness of its Afro-Caribbean culture and of course, its gastronomy. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is its tourist epicenter, Cocles, Manzanillo and Punta Uva, some of its best-known beaches and 30 minutes away is the Cahuita National Park, which has one of the largest reefs in the country.
South of the Central Valley is located the highest mountain range in southern Central America, the Cordillera de Talamanca, which extends to Panama. For hiking enthusiasts, the ascent to its highest point, Cerro Chirripó at 3820 meters above sea level, is a must. On the Inter-American Highway, at the Cerro de la Muerte, the cantón of Dota is located, which is a privileged place for observing the majestic quetzal. The country’s largest protected area is also found in this region: it is the Parque Internacional La Amistad which was declared a “biosphere reserve” by UNESCO in the 1990s.
Its proximity to the capital city makes it very popular and frequented, both by national and international tourists, to take advantage of the beauty of its forests, coastal cities, its fantastic opportunities for surfing, and also, its flora and wildlife. Being a region on the coast, there are many beaches that can be visited and are a short distance away such as: Jacó, Hermosa or Blanca. There is the world-renowned Manuel Antonio National Park, full of trails in the middle of the lush tropical jungle where you can observe animals such as sloths, monkeys and iguanas and where you can bathe in its impressive white sand beaches.
About four hours away from San José is Monteverde, in the province of Puntarenas. In this place the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is located, which was created through a coalition between scientists from the Tropical Science Center and the Quakers of the community with the aim of protecting its 4125 hectares. There is also the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, whose creation happened a few years later and its objective is to preserve the forest and help the community through tourism. The enormous biodiversity of its reserves made up of various species of plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects make Monteverde a paradise for nature lovers.
Considered one of the most exuberant regions of Costa Rica for its hundreds of kilometers of coastline, forests and great biodiversity. Some of the best known places in the area are Dominical, Uvita, Parque Marino Ballena and Isla del Caño, which are characterized by their green landscapes and wild fauna. The wonderful Corcovado National Park is located in this region and is on the Osa Peninsula. It is considered by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth”, it is almost completely covered with primary tropical forests and has 2.5% of the planet’s biodiversity!
The Nicoya Peninsula is located in the northern Pacific of Costa Rica and is partly in the province of Guanacaste and in the province of Puntarenas. When we think of visiting this area, we must imagine the enormous variety of paradisiacal beaches it has such as Santa Teresa, Malpaís, Nosara and Sámara. Each place to visit will have a variety of offers and experiences: surf classes, yoga retreats, spectacular sunsets, catamaran rides, visits to national parks, refuges or reserves. Something worth highlighting in this region is that it is considered a blue zone, one of the five in total in the world, and that stands out for the longevity of its inhabitants.
The northern plains are made up of regions rich in biodiversity; in fact, precipitation here is more abundant throughout the year and the land therefore very fertile. Excellent playground for observers of flora and fauna: Boca Tapada, off the beaten track or the wildlife refuge Caño Negro are perfect options for travelers in search of authenticity. It is also an area suitable for aquatic activities such as rafting or kayaking: Sarapiquí is the ideal spot to indulge in these disciplines. You will also find an exceptional site there: the Río Celeste in the Tenorio National Park. Legend has it that when God finished painting the sky, he cleaned his brush in this river.
The Rincón de la Vieja is a stratovolcano located in the canton of Liberia in northwestern Costa Rica. Among the 116 volcanoes listed in the territory, it is one of five in activity; the last eruption dates from 2021. It is one of the most voluminous in the country, it extends over more than 14,000 hectares, the visit of its national park in the Las Pailas sector allows you to appreciate its volcanic manifestations very closely: hot springs, fumaroles and mud pools. Some of these secondary activities are used to generate geothermal energy.
The Central Valley is where the majority of the population of Costa Rica lives. It includes the capital city of San José and the surrounding cities of Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago. Visiting these places is ideal to experience the culture, gastronomy and daily life of the Costa Rican. There are historical places such as the National Theater, the Basilica of the Angels, a variety of markets, museums and volcanoes such as Irazú, Poás and Turrialba.
Tortuguero National Park is located in the northeastern part of the country. Internationally known as a nesting site for green turtles, Tortuguero is a place like no other in Costa Rica, surrounded by rivers and canals, making its route, and its access, full of adventure and emotions. The visit will guarantee you experience, at its best, the flora and fauna of the Caribbean.