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Northern Plains

The Northern Plains showcases some of our most scenic countryside and small towns. Only a two-hour drive from San Jose, small agriculture communities and cattle ranches cover rolling hills and deep valleys. Known as the heart of Costa Rica, you’ll find a strong cultural identity here. The plains, rivers and most importantly the people make the North Central a must-see in any Costa Rica program. This area is divided into three areas.

The first is the Arenal Area, where the main attraction is the highly active, conical Arenal Volcano.

Curative mineral hot springs and wonderfully manicured gardens surround the volcano, which is among the most active in the world. In this area you’ll also find the Caño Negro National Park, which is home to deep caverns, high waterfalls, extensive forest reserves and hundreds of species of birds. With its several protected areas, lakes, lagoons, volcanoes, rivers and waterfalls, the Northern Zone is undergoing a boom in tourism service and adventure site development, so that nature-loving visitors can enjoy the region’s many riches.

Thanks to frequent rains, the Northern Zone features wet and evergreen forests as well as fertile plains—natural environments that serve as sanctuaries for water birds, reptiles, mammals and the prehistoric Gaspar fish, and important sites of interest for wildlife-lovers.