Northern Plains Travel Guide


Photo of Northern Plains Photo: Sportster, member

Plan Your Northern Plains Vacation

The rolling countryside northwest of San José and west of Alajuela holds a mix of coffee, sugarcane, and pasture, with tropical forest filling steep river valleys and ravines. The Pan-American Highway makes a steady descent to the Pacific coast through this region, which is also traversed by older roads that wind their way between simple agricultural towns and past small farms and pastoral scenery. West of San Ramón the valley becomes narrow and precipitous as the topography slopes down to the Pacific lowlands. An even narrower valley snakes northward from San Ramón to the northern lowlands beyond.


Northern Plains Hotels

A few sumptuous resorts hold court in northern Costa Rica, but this region is largely the province of smaller, nature-themed... read more


Northern Plains Restaurants

You'll never go hungry in this region. The north is the country's breadbasket, and the hotels and restaurants out here make... read more

Things To Do

Things To Do in Northern Plains

Explore the best sights, entertainment, and shopping with our top choices and insider tips.


Northern Plains Experiences

  • Top Reasons to Go to the Northern Plains

    Arenal Volcano: You can hear the rumblings of the world's third-most-active volcano for miles around, and, on clear nights, watch... Read more

  • Caño Negro

    Think a smaller version of Florida's Everglades and you'll have a good picture of the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Caño Negro.... Read more

  • Arenal Volcano

    The 2-km-high (1-mile-high) Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica's youngest and most active volcano, dominates the region's landscape.... Read more

  • Poás Volcano

    Towering north of Alajuela, the verdant Poás Volcano is covered with a quilt of farms and topped by a dark green shawl of cloud forest.... Read more

  • Eco-Lodges in the Northern Plains

    This territory as a whole doesn't garner the attention in eco-circles that other parts of Costa Rica do, but the country has a no more... Read more

  • What Is a Cloud Forest?

    Cloud forests are a type of rain forest, but are different from the hot, humid lowland forests with which most people are familiar.... Read more

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