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Overview

With a lush valley ringed by volcanoes, the Central Highlands is the center of the nation. The country's major cities are here; each has a cathedral of note. Don't miss the wood-lined Basilica in Cartago. The mountain slopes are corduroyed in dark-green coffee bushes; Café Britt offers an amusing educational tour. You can even drive to the summit of Poás and Irazú volcanoes, where trails wind around the misty summits. Hikers find satisfaction in Braulio Carrillo National Park, while history buffs should check out Guayabo National Monument. Sarchí is fascinating as the country's main center for artisanal works, while ...

With a lush valley ringed by volcanoes, the Central Highlands is the center of the nation. The country's major cities are here; each has a cathedral of note. Don't miss the wood-lined Basilica in Cartago. The mountain slopes are corduroyed in dark-green coffee bushes; Café Britt offers an amusing educational tour. You can even drive to the summit of Poás and Irazú volcanoes, where trails wind around the misty summits. Hikers find satisfaction in Braulio Carrillo National Park, while history buffs should check out Guayabo National Monument. Sarchí is fascinating as the country's main center for artisanal works, while charming Zarcero is known for its topiary. Dozens of venues display Costa Rica's astonishing wildlife. Not to be missed are Zoo Ave and the World of Snakes. At La Paz Waterfall Garden, you get to see them all in one, including frogs in a walk-through herpetarium, while trails lead through canyons to thunderous waterfalls. La Guácima is the setting for two must-see sites: by day, flit by the Butterfly Farm to walk amid lepidoptera inside a netted garden; by night, Rancho San Miguel hosts an Andalusian horse show. Visitors are spoiled for fine accommodations. Opt for a deluxe boutique hotel such as Xandari or Finca Rosa Blanca.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to April dry season is best