The energetic Arenal volcano
The energetic Arenal volcano is the main attraction in this part of the Northern Zone of Costa Rica. The summit of the Arenal Volcano, rising 1,633 meters (5,436 feet) above sea level and continuously active since 1968, towers far above the northern plains overlooking a wind-swept lake and pristine cloud forests reserves. There is plenty to do besides volcano watching… beautiful and scenic part of the country with primary forests, Costa Rica ‘s largest lake and several noteworthy tourist attractions with it’s incredibly diverse population of wildlife awaits you in this part of Costa Rica . After nightfall the spectacle of Arenal’s bright red lava coursing its way down from the cone is an awesome sight indeed. Many visitors to the area enjoy the show from the luxurious surroundings of a local hot springs resort and hotels.
The climate in the region goes a long way in making the northern plains so special. Misty cloud forest environments, verdant rolling hills and fantastically fast lake make the region a must on any visit to Costa Rica . The ideal way to visit the region is by car. The landscapes as you drive along twisting roads make for incredible photographs. Of the 850 bird species identified in Costa Rica, 600 are permanent residents in their region. Off in the distance one can see the dark green and blue silhouettes of the Guanacaste and Tilaran mountain ranges. Don’t forget the binoculars!!
Monteverde Cloud Forest Area
Monteverde Cloud Forest Area In Spanish, Monteverde means “green mountain” and it is one of the most interesting and most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica . Best know for the world famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, there are a number of other reserves and activities in this area. For nature-lovers and birders Monteverde is a natural destination.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
This large reserve is one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in the Americas and includes eight distinct ecological zones. It protects more than 400 species of birds and over 100 species of mammals. In addition to the spectacular Resplendent Quetzal, you may see the endangered Bellbird, or Emerald Toucanet. There are also 30 species of hummingbirds. (We recommend stopping at the Hummingbird Gallery). As with most wildlife viewing early morning is the best time to go. Southern Horizons will be happy to make the arrangements for you. (Open daily 7 am to 4 pm).
Many years ago, when highways did not exist, the only way to journey through Central America was via the Río Sarapiquí. The enchanting scenery along its banks is a delight for those who want to get close to nature. The Sarapiquí runs through 84 kilometers of diverse landscapes, and is a good place to see birds, monkeys, turtles, caimans and more. The river has become a tourist destination for nature- and wildlife-watchers, and allows visits to the Río San Juan, Barra del Colorado and Tortuguero.
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
Caño Negro is a RAMSAR site of worldwide importance for wetlands conservation. The refuge is vital to the environmental balance of the country’s Northern Zone. This habitat shelters a wide variety of plant and wildlife species, many of which are unique or in danger of extinction, including seabirds such as the jabiru and reptiles such as caimans and turtles.
During the dry season, the refuge becomes an important feeding ground for the thousands of seabirds that arrive at the wetland. The plumage of some of these birds will change color and take on a pinkish hue due to the mollusks consumed by the birds. The natural wealth here includes plant and animal species found nowhere else in the country, including the prehistoric Gaspar fish—considered a living fossil. Visitor services include information, a park ranger station, trails, lodging, restrooms and drinking water.
CRS Tours designs vacation packages that cater to your specific needs. If you are looking for a Costa Rica family package, please visit our Costa Rica Family Vacation Packages section. If Adventure is what you expect, Costa Rica is the perfect place, jungles, whitewater rafting, canopy, horseback riding and so much more can be found at our Costa Rica Adventure Tours section. Our Costa Rica Vacaction Packages offers you the possibility to visit beaches, jungles, volcanoes, wildlife and a wide array of nature experiences in just a short time. If a customized package is desired, we recommend to visit the Costa Rica Self Drive Tours section and you also have the choice of selecting one of our Costa Rica Tours including Transfers. If the two of you love stunning, exotic landscapes and a vast array of unique activities in a country known for promoting ecotourism, the Costa Rica honeymoon offers the romantic get-a-way of a lifetime!
Until the late 1960’s, local people called this imposing giant Cerro Arenal, as there was very little to indicate that under the tree covered slopes lay the sleeping power of a volcano. But all that changed in 1968 when after a series of earthquakes the volcano blew, sending shock waves that were recorded as far away as the western United States. Now, with its flawlessly conical silhouette, Arenal Volcano is one of the most active in the world. However, the volcano is in a quiet phase right now.
La Fortuna Town
The hub of many of the area activities, the small picturesque town of La Fortuna is also only about 15 minutes drive from the volcano. Among the many tours available in the area include the Fortuna Waterfalls. These 230-foot high falls are usually reached by horseback, then a short, but demanding hike down to the bottom pools where one can enjoy the cool spray while picnicking before the return trip.
Rincon de la Vieja National Park
With over 14.000 Ha, Rincon de la Vieja National Park hosts one of the ecosystems with the greatest biological diversity. Rincon de la Vieja National Park is a volcanic system of over 600.000 years. The mountain top has nine eruptive points, which main active crater rises over 6,233.60 feet.
There are many activities you can do in Rincon de la Vieja National Park like canopying over a canyon, horseback riding, hiking the active craters, quadrunner riding, bird watching, and touring the geo-thermal zones. Taking the Inter American highway towards the north of the country, the land of the Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s national tree, we find one of the most impressive national parks in Costa Rica. Climbing up the top of Rincon de la Vieja Volcano will be a great experience, you can either do this on foot, horseback or in quadrunner. Just getting to the crater will put a glamorous view of Mother Nature in front of your eyes.
Monteverde is Costa Rica’s green jewel, an environmental amusement park where nature rules and conservation is part of everyday life. Eco-tourism was born in the cloud forest of Monteverde, as well as innovative ways to experience it, such as canopy tours through the trees and hanging bridges connecting mountains. This surreal world is filled with animals and plants in numbers too large to count. Monteverde means green mountain in Spanish and the name couldn’t be more appropriate.
The 2 most important reserves in Monteverde area are:
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve undoubtedly constitutes one of the natural sanctuaries with the most diversity in Costa Rica, Monteverde’s cloud forest is the home to hundreds of species, some of which are endemic, that will delight nature lovers. There are many activities to do in Monteverde, including exotic bird watching like the Quetzal, nature picture taking, hiking through the cloud forest, horseback riding through natural trails, canopy in the primary forest, visits to a huge butterfly farm, hiking through natural trails and floating bridge. By just arriving, the magic of the zone will captivate you, the tranquility of its roads, the kindness of its people, the pure air, and the nature around the place. It is like being in a different world. Through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve green trails, your hike through the cloud forest will be a memorable experience. You will be able to see over 2.500 plants, including 300 orchids and 200 ferns. In any tree, you will see some of the 400 species of birds that inhabit the park, like the Quetzal. In all places, life is rich and diverse.From the treetops of huge trees, cheer up and start a trip that will take you to the heart of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, the canopy in the cloud forest will let you fly through the trees and appreciate the treasures that this natural paradise keeps.