Arenal, Monteverde, and the Northern Lowlands

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Arenal, Monteverde, and the Northern Lowlands - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    It's a shame that Caño Negro doesn't grab the same amount of attention in wildlife-viewing circles as other destinations in Costa Rica. Due...Read More

  • 2. El Trapiche


    Two-hour tours departing at 10 am and 3 pm guide you from the bean to the cup at this coffee plantation and old-fashioned trapiche (sugarcane...Read More

  • 3. La Fortuna Waterfall

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    A strenuous walk down 500 steps (allow 25 to 40 minutes) is worth the effort to swim in the pool under the waterfall. Wear sturdy shoes or water...Read More

  • 4. Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    One of Costa Rica's best-kept reserves has 13 km (8 miles) of well-marked trails, lush vegetation, and a cool, damp climate. The collision of...Read More

  • 5. Selvatura


    If your time in Monteverde is limited, consider spending it at Selvatura, a kind of nature-themed adventure park—complete with a canopy tour...Read More

  • 6. Arenal Volcano National Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    Although the volcano is in a resting phase, you might see an occasional plume of smoke. It is still worth visiting the network of three easy...Read More

  • 7. Butterfly Garden


    Thirty species of butterflies flit about in four enclosed botanical gardens. Morning visits are best, since the butterflies are most active...Read More

  • 8. Cafe Monteverde Coffee Tour


    Bite your tongue before requesting Costa Rica's ubiquitous Café Britt up here. Export-quality Café Monteverde is the local, sustainably grown...Read More

  • 9. Children's Eternal Rain Forest

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    The 54,000-acre rain forest dwarfs the Monteverde and Santa Elena reserves. It began life as a school project in Sweden among children interested...Read More

  • 10. Church of San Juan Bosco

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The town's squat, pale, concrete church, unremarkable on its own, just might win Costa Rica's most-photographed-house-of-worship award. The...Read More

  • 11. Don Juan Coffee Tour


    Small groups are the hallmark of these tours that last about two hours and let you see the coffee process from start to finish at the plantation...Read More

  • 12. Eco Termales

    Hot Spring

    Open hours at these family-owned hot springs are divided into two intervals per day (10 to 4 and 5 to 10), with only 100 guests permitted entry...Read More

  • 13. Ecocentro Danaus

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    A small ecotourism project outside town exhibits 60 species of medicinal plants, abundant animal life—including sloths and caimans—and butterfly...Read More

  • 14. Herpetarium Adventures Monteverde


    If you or your kids love creepy, crawly, slithery things, head here. Operated by Sky Adventures, this herpetarium holds more than 50 species...Read More

  • 15. Lake Arenal

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    Costa Rica's largest inland body of water, shimmering Lake Arenal, all 85 square km (33 square miles) of it, lies between rolling green hills...Read More

  • 16. Místico Arenal Hanging Bridges


    A series of trails and bridges form a loop through the primary rain forest of a 250-acre private reserve, providing great bird-watching and...Read More

  • 17. Monteverde Ecological Sanctuary

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    This family-run, 52-acre wildlife refuge is laced with four trails and houses birds, sloths, agoutis, and coatimundis. They focus on small group...Read More

  • 18. Monteverde Theme Park


    Only in Monteverde would visitors groove to the nightlife at an exhibition of 24 species of frogs, toads, and other amphibians. Bilingual biologist...Read More

  • 19. Orchid Garden


    More than 460 species of orchids, one of which is the world's smallest, are on display. Admission includes a 30-minute tour. ...Read More

  • 20. Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    Several conservation areas near Monteverde are attractive day-trip destinations, especially when the Monteverde Reserve is too busy. The 765...Read More

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