Visit Arenal & the Central Highlands
The mountainous Central Highlands lie to the north of San Jose and are the centre of geothermal activity in Costa Rica. The Arenal Volcano National Park has one of the most volatile reputations in the highlands and the booming eruptions and brilliant night-time lava displays of the Arenal volcano are legendary.
Large areas of the highlands spend the majority of their lives cloaked in thick cloud cover; these montain forests are the ideal habitat for many different bird species, ranging in size from the minute hummingbird to the three-wattled bellbird. The cloud forest reserves at Montverde and Santa Elena are home to animals found nowhere else in the world and are one of the highlights of any stay in Costa Rica.
Top itineraries in Arenal & Central Highlands
Costa Rica is a land of spectacular volcanoes, wildlife-filled cloud forests, fast-flowing jungle rivers and tropical jungles. Explore its natural-world highlights in Arenal and Monteverde before kicking back on the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park or Guanacaste.
Let expert guides introduce you to two Costa Rican gems – the rainforest of Sarapiqui and towering Arenal Volcano. You'll then enjoy a full-board stay at the Lapa Rios Ecolodge, hidden among the wildlife-filled rainforests of the Osa Peninsula.
Travel passed farmlands, forests, lakes and volcanoes to Arenal, the cloud forests of Monteverde and the wildlife of the Palo Verde and Rincón de la Vieja National Parks. Top it all off with a relaxing stay on the palm-fringed bays of Guanacaste on Costa Rica's North Pacific Coast.
Top places to stay in Arenal & Central Highlands
Regularly voted amongst the world’s leading hotels, this adults-only Costa Rican resort is truly stunning. It’s set beside a creek, pristine rainforest and the Arenal volcanic national park, home to a huge concentration of wildlife and tropical plants.
This luxury resort at the foot of the imposing Arenal volcano combines outdoor living with luxurious design and exquisite dining.
In a coveted location high in the famous Monteverde cloud forest, this resort has a wonderful chateau feel and is perfectly situated to explore the vast array of wildlife on its doorstep.
Where to go in Arenal & Central Highlands
The Montverde cloud forest is one of the most eerie and moving habitats on earth. We recommend you visit early, when the clouds still cling to the forest canopy to get a real sense of the beauty of this changeable environment.
The habitat of Palo Verde National Park changes with the seasons, spending half the year as a wetland haven and the other half as one of the best examples of tropical dry forest in Costa Rica. The dual nature of this forest is due to the annual flooding of the Tempisque Lake and river system. …
When to go to Arenal & Central Highlands
Arenal & Central Highlands articles
Meet our Arenal & Central Highlands experts
Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 0207 590 0697Meet the team