Central Highlands

As one winds up the coffee-shrouded slopes of Costa Rica's Central Highlands, the dramatic climb gives way to spectacular views. If the mountainous peaks are not shrouded in enchanting cloud, it is even possible to simultaneously view the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Amid its mountainous terrain, the region contains a number of fascinating destinations. In the northwestern area, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve stands as pillar of conservation biology and nature travel.

Central Highlands

Costa Rica

Not far from San Jose, visitors can find Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall. In its southeast, the region contains both the Irazu and Turriabla Volcanoes. Bordered by lowlands to the north and the Central Valley to the south, the Central Highlands Region of Costa Rica awaits with beautiful discoveries around every corner. Home to national parks and protected reserves, the region supplies ample resources to nature-enthusiasts and outdoor-lovers. Its terrain boasts superb wildlife havens and thriving vegetation up to altitudes of 11,260 ft (3,432 m).

Rivers slither their way down the upper slopes of the continental divide, and misty clouds saturate the forest oaks and pines. Epiphytes and mosses decorate the trees, and ferns lounge along the forest floor. The Highlands' tree canopies are home to fantastic birds, such the Three-wattled Bellbird and elusive Resplendent Quetzal. Dotted with some of the most unadulterated and enthralling natural terrain, the region offers plenty of natural wildlife areas to explore.

The Highlands Region extends from the northwest town of Tilaran to the southeast Turrialba Volcano. It encompasses an elliptical expanse of spectacular green hills with unparalleled biodiversity, and many of the country's most important rivers bellow from high in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range to Costa Rica's fertile Central Valley. Birthing from high atop the crisp mountain ranges, these rivers supply the Central Valley Plateau (Meseta Central) with vital nutrients for flourishing crops.

Many of the country's active volcanic peaks are found along the Highland's Central Volcanic Mountain Range (Cordillera Volcanica Central). Volcanoes such as Poas and Irazu are some of the most spectacular and accessible volcanoes in the country. Easily accessible from San Jose, destinations such as Poas Volcano can be visited with day trips from the capital city.

Many serendipitous adventures await visitors to the Central Highlands. Experience the terrain's pure beauty as it unwinds along the road in front of you. The region's immaculate views and stunning scenery may entice you to spend your entire vacation in the Central Highlands.

Top Attractions

Destinations in Central Highlands

9 destinations

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Costa Rica Attractions

Heres a list of Costa Rica's Amazing Sights and Attractions

Flora Fauna
Flora Fauna

Rhinoceros Beetle


House Gecko


Monkey Tail (Guaba chilillo)


Glass Frog


Common Basilisk


Great Green Macaw


White-Faced or Capuchin Monkey


Glasswing Butterfly


Spectacled Caiman




Hawksbill Sea Turtle


Leatherback Turtle


Pink Shower Tree


Fishing Bulldog Bat


Scarlet Macaw


Stinking Toe Tree


White Leadtree


Long-tailed Hermit


Boa Constrictor




Common Dolphin


Fiery-billed Aracari and Collared Aracari


Spiny Green Lizard


Ice Cream Bean Tree


Leaf-Cutter Ant






Blue-jeans Frog or Strawberry Poison-dart Frog




Walking Stick


Resplendent Quetzal


Monarch Butterfly


Long-tailed Manakin




Green Turtle


Brilliant Forest Frog


Assassin Bugs and Kissing Bugs


Magnificent Frigatebird




Common Tink Frog




Chestnut-mandibled Toucan


Green Page Moth


Two-Toed Sloth




Green Heron


Narrow-headed Vine Snake


Bare-necked Umbrellabird


Collared Peccary


Loggerhead Sea Turtle


Turquoise-browed Motmot










Orca, Killer Whale


Bottle-nosed Dolphin




Milk Frog


Guanacaste Tree (Elephant Ear)


Red-Eyed Leaf (Tree) Frog




American Crocodile


Baird's Tapir


Owl Butterfly


Tonka Bean Tree


Black Ctenosaur


Keel-billed Toucan


Helicopter Damselfly


Vampire Bat


Humpback Whale




Fin Whale






Black Witch


Spider Monkey


Squirrel Monkey


Three-wattled Bellbird


Ground Anole


Saman (Samanea saman, aka Albizia saman)


Brown Pelican


Mantled Howler Monkey


Blue Morpho




Army Ant


Arboreal Termites


Chestnut-headed Oropendola


Violet Sabrewing


Olive Ridley Sea Turtle




Giant Toad or Cane Toad


Spotted Longwing


Three-Toed Sloth




Pacific Spotted Dolphin


Bullet Ant


Golden Orb Weaver