What to see in Northwest Costa Rica

Northwest Costa Rica Attractions

Things to see and do in Northwest Costa Rica revolve mainly around exploring the stunning variety of natural landscapes and a number of world-class wildlife refuges and national parks. The region is scenically spectacular with volcanoes, forests, lakes, rivers and fertile lowlands, interspersed with small villages. Fortuna and Liberia are both good bases from which to explore the numerous attractions of Northwest Costa Rica, and the Monteverde community is an attraction in itself.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is one of the most famous attractions of Costa Rica and many visitors travel to the country primarily to experience this magical, misty forest world. The other well-known park in the region is the Arenal Volcano National Park which attracts visitors from all over the globe with its visibly active volcano. In both parks there are a variety of hikes and activities to be enjoyed.

Although these two reserves are deservedly world-renowned, there are many other wildlife refuges and national parks in the Northwest. Santa Rosa National Park is an important sea turtle nesting area and a wonderful place to see Costa Rican animals in their natural habitat. The Bolanos Island National Wildlife Refuge is an island where a variety of seabirds, including pelicans, nest, and it has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. White Cliffs National Wildlife Refuge and Junquillal Bay National Wildlife Refuge are two more popular wilderness areas.

Arenal Volcano National Park

The Arenal Volcano National Park is situated in what is known as the 'Energetic Heart of Costa Rica'. At its centre is the 5,356 foot (1,633m) Volcán Arenal, a typically cone-shaped…

read more


Fortuna is the nearest village to the spectacular Volcán Arenal. It has uninterrupted views of the volcano and provides a comfortable base for visiting the national park and other…

read more


Located 135 miles (220km) northwest of San Jose, Liberia is not so much a tourist destination as a convenient travel hub and gateway to the stunning beaches of Northwest Costa Rica. Liberia…

read more


Monteverde is a small community scattered along several kilometres of road that leads to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Originally bought for dairy farming, the reserve…

read more


Become our Northwest Costa Rica Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Northwest Costa Rica travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Northwest Costa Rica or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.