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Exploring the Natural Wonders of Costa Rica: The Northern Highlands

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

In what seems to be in a world of its own, the northern highlands of Costa Rica is an area of the country that feels distinctly off the beaten track. With its unique blend of distinct volcanic geology and lush forest teeming with exotic fauna, this area of Costa Rica is a 2 hour drive from Liberia airport or a 5 hour drive from the San Jose airport. Home to several modest lodging options and a few notable upscale resorts, there is an abundance of outdoor activities to partake in during a visit to this northern territory.



THE NORTHERN HIGHLANDS


North Central Region

Driving time from San José: 3 hr 55 min, 115 miles (185 km)


Visit the Tenorio Volcano National Park and its vibrantly turquoise blue waters of the iconic Rio Celeste river. Explore the relatively untapped and unfrequented Miravalles Volcano, known for its thermal hot spring pools as well as the Llanos de Cortez waterfall, the most stunning waterfall in the entire northern province of Guanacaste. Journey into the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, a phenomenal bird-watching and sightseeing heaven considered to be the third most important wetland in the world. Discover Lake Arenal, the country’s largest landlocked body of water which is known for its drive-around/bike-around rolling hills beauty and the great variety of water sports one can practice in it (such as kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, kite boarding and fishing).

By Adriana Garuolis & Markin Abras. Images courtesy of each featured property.

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