The central highlands encompass northern Costa Rica’s most fertile regions. Waterfalls, mountains and forests are found amongst undulating hills and near-perfect weather conditions allow Costa Rica’s famous coffee to grow plentifully.
The cloudforest reserves in the highlands of Costa Rica are one of the best places for birders. Lush with thick foliage, they are a haven for hundreds of species of birds, insects and butterflies.
The most popular of these reserves are the Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloudforest Reserves. Monteverde has six distinct ecological zones and is an excellent place to seek out the resplendent but elusive red and green quetzal.
Quieter, more peaceful experiences can be found in Bajos del Toro and San Ramon with lodges tucked away in beautiful private reserves with mystical, dense forests, rushing rivers and tumbling waterfalls and over 200 species of bird.
Whichever of the reserves you choose to spend time in, all of them are fabulous places to walk, especially in the early morning amongst shrouds of magical mist or atop canopy walkways, and adrenalin junkies can fly through the forest by systems of zip wires.
Please ask a specialist to discuss the best option to suit your needs.
At 1633 metres above sea level, the infamous Arenal Volcano has been until recently the most active in Central America and was considered to be one of the world's ten most active volcanoes! As you can imagine this is a popular spot for anyone wanting to visit Costa Rica therefore you should be aware, in peak season especially, this is by no means the peaceful area it once was. Despite the coach loads it can draw it is a stunning part of the country and well worth including on a trip to Costa Rica.
Although the volcano is no longer delivering its sporadic eruptions it is a magnificent peak and there is plenty to do in the area. The volcano can be difficult to see, especially in the dry season as it is often shrouded by cloud but its an incredible sight if you are lucky enough and the surrounding lava fields are also fascinating.
You can explore the area by combining a multitude of activities such as canopy walkways, horse-riding, canoeing and walking. The nearby hot springs, though busy, make for a special experience bathing beneath the stars and the nearby Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is well worth a day trip.
The volcano's growth over the ages has been characterised by a number of eruptions - the last major one of which occurred on 29th July 1968. This eruption blasted off the top of the volcano creating the volcano shape that can be seen today.
Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge
The nearby Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is well worth a day trip. This is one of the most densely populated areas of Costa Rica but we have found some fabulous accommodation in this scenic and beautiful region.
Suggested itineraries featuring Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves
- Monteverde Cloud Forest 11 miles away
- Tenorio Volcano 26 miles away
- Cano Negro 31 miles away
- San Ramon 31 miles away
- El Silencio Lodge 33 miles away
- Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui 48 miles away
- Rincon de la Vieja 50 miles away
- San José & Central Valley 56 miles away
- Northern Pacific Coast 57 miles away
- Punta Islita 64 miles away
- Esterillos 67 miles away
- Central Pacific Coast 72 miles away
- Playa Potrero 73 miles away
- Golfo de Papagayo 78 miles away
- Tamarindo 78 miles away
- Turrialba 80 miles away
- Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast 83 miles away
- Manuel Antonio 84 miles away
- San Gerardo de Dota 88 miles away
- Dominical 102 miles away
- Corcovado & Osa Peninsula 141 miles away
- Puerto Viejo de Talamanca 144 miles away
- Manzanillo 151 miles away
Accommodation choices for Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves, and which use the best local guides.