central highlands

A mountainous land of bubbling volcanoes and whitewater rapids, Costa Rica’s Central Highlands are the fertile land where its renowned coffee is grown.

The bustling capital city of San José and the rumbling Poas volcano are two icons of this diverse and exciting landscape. Known as both the geographical and cultural heartland of Costa Rica, about 60% of the population live within the Central Highlands. With a colonial history stretching back to the first steps taken by the Spanish on the Americas, ancient ruins provide a window into what came before the New World. Slow-paced agricultural towns lie alongside bountiful national parks, with the more adventurous traveller having everything from zip lining to mountain climbing on offer.

things to do

  • Although the volcano currently dormant, Arenal National Park has mountains to hike, lakes to fish and rivers to raft within its lush cloud forests.
  • Poás volcano offers visitors the chance to gaze into an active volcano without the exertion of hiking, and the surrounding geysers can explode 250m high.
  • Home to 50% of Costa Rica’s plant species as well as an incredibly diverse variety of wildlife, Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo is nature at its best.
  • With over 3,500 pieces of gold, the Precolumbian Gold Museum in San José provides excellent insight into the mysterious past of Costa Rica.
  • Once the capital of Costa Rica, Cartago is home to the spectacular Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles.

Essential Costa Rica

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best time to visit

December - April

This is usually the busiest time of year to visit Costa Rica, however it also has the lowest chance of rainfall. With a temperate climate that seldom experiences extreme weather conditions, the average temperatures of the Central Highlands usually stay between 26-29°C all year.

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