Northern Plains: Places to Explore

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  • Braulio Carrillo National Park

  • Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge

  • Ciudad Quesada (San Carlos)

    Highway signs point you to "Ciudad Quesada," but this friendly hub city is simply "San Carlos" in local parlance. Like so many other places in Costa Rica, the landscape is splendid, but what passes for... Read more

  • Grecia

    The quiet farming community of Grecia is reputed to be Costa Rica's cleanest town—some enthusiastic civic boosters extend that superlative to all Latin America—but the reason most people stop here is to... Read more

  • La Fortuna

    As they say, "Location, location, location." Who would think that a small town sitting at the foot of massive Arenal Volcano would attract visitors from around the world? Nobody comes to La Fortuna—an... Read more

  • La Selva Biological Station

  • Monteverde and Santa Elena

    The area's first residents were a handful of Costa Rican families fleeing the rough-and-ready life of nearby gold-mining fields during the 1940s. They were joined in the early 1950s by Quakers, conscientious... Read more

  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

  • Nuevo Arenal

    Much of the original town of Arenal, at one of the lowest points near Lake Arenal, was destroyed by the volcano's 1968 eruption, and the rest was destroyed in 1973, when Lake Arenal flooded the region... Read more

  • Poás Volcán National Park

    Arenal may be Costa Rica's most famous volcano, but you can walk right up to the crater here at Poás. That gives it an edge in the "cool volcano visit" department.... Read more

  • Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí

    One of Costa Rica's lesser-known eco-destinations has been developing a growing selection of nature-theme activities in recent years. In the 19th century, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí was a thriving river... Read more

  • San Ramón

    San Ramón hides its real attractions in the countryside to the north, on the road to La Fortuna, where comfortable lodges offer access to private nature preserves. There's not much to see in San Ramón... Read more

  • Sarchí

    Tranquil Sarchí is Costa Rica's premier center for crafts and carpentry. People drive here from all over the country to shop for furniture, and tour buses regularly descend upon the souvenir shops outside... Read more

  • Tilarán

    A windmill farm in the hills high above Tilarán attests to its being the windiest place in the country, and this lakeside town is used as a base by bronzed windsurfers. For those days when you get "skunked"... Read more

  • Volcán Arenal National Park

    Costa Rica's largest inland body of water, shimmering Lake Arenal, all 125 square km (48 square miles) of it, lies between rolling green hills and a rumbling volcano. Many visitors are surprised to learn... Read more

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