The Central Valley is the heart of Costa Rica. Not only does the area contain the capital city, San José, with its many bars and restaurants, but also highlands which are home to traditional coffee plantations and striking views. The Central Valley is also surrounded by impressive volcanic mountain ranges, especially the Cordillera Central on the eastern side of the valley. About three quarters of the country's residents live in The Central Valley, and you can see why - Costa Rica's geographical heart is home to San José, coffee plantations, volcanoes, and rapids ideal for rafting. The region has a very pleasant climate,
due to its altitude, meaning that days are warm without being sticky, and nights are comfortably cool. It is certainly worth spending additional time exploring this lush area on a Central Valley holiday, whether white water rafting down the Pacuare river, visiting the active Poas volcano, or learning about coffee roasting and the cultivation process of macademia nuts.
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What are the best ways to discover the Central Valley?
Central Valley holidays offer a world of possibilities for uncovering the charms of Costa Rica. As well as the country’s capital city of San José, the Central Valley includes many surrounding towns well worth visiting like Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago. Two of the region’s biggest natural magnets are also its most impressive: Poas Volcano and Irazú Volcano. Both towering natural giants are situated inside namesake national parks that draw visitors to their beautiful hiking trails through misty forests. In Irazú National Park, the Diego de la Haya Crater is a tough but rewarding walk. At its base, the crater is home to an otherworldly vivid green lake; reach the summit and see its shimmering waters in their full glory and take in the stunning views of Costa Rica’s largest and highest volcano. If your appetite for adventure is only just beginning, you’re in the right place. The Pacuare River churns up some of the best rapids in Central America, including class III and class IV rapids that wind through lush tropical rainforests and rocky canyons. After a day on the edge of your seat, retreat to your luxury eco-lodge for dreamy spa treatments, lakeside dining and a plush forest room with an outdoor shower and private waterfront terrace. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Who are Central Valley holidays best for?
Costa Rica is at the forefront of the ecotourism revolution and the country prides itself on the conservation and protection of its incredibly biodiverse environment. The choice of environmentally sound accommodation for Central Valley holidays is fantastic, making it a haven for green travellers wanting to contribute more than they take away. Adventure seekers can head out on tough hikes to hidden waterfalls, go wild swimming in blue lagoons, enjoy winding treks around towering volcanoes, zip-line through tropical rainforests and battle with bubbling rapids. Families are welcomed with open arms by friendly locals and the natural landscape offers endless opportunities for fun and exploration.
What can you expect on Central Valley holidays that you won't find anywhere else?
The Central Valley, and Costa Rica as a whole, is a true natural paradise and it has the data to back it up – the country houses nearly 6% of the world’s biodiversity and a rather astonishing 25% of its land is protected, one of the highest figures in the world. Added to this, Costa Rica ranks number one in the ‘Happy Planet Index’, which measures the wellbeing and environmental impact of a nation. Central Valley holidays offer a peek into a beautiful pocket of the world where joy and the natural environment are prized above all else.