This is a picturesque and fertile land, temperate in climate and characterised by coffee plantations, pretty towns and spectacular, often active volcanoes. The highest peaks rise above the clouds to nearly 4,000 metres and on their slopes cloud and rain forests teem with orchids and birds.
San José lies in a wide, rich valley and has an excellent climate. Few of its older buildings have survived the centuries, as earth tremors are fairly frequent, so modern high-rises rub shoulders with faded 19th century buildings.
The Central higlands, due both to its altitude and mineral-rich volcanic soil, is the ideal place for coffee-growing. The heartland of Costa Rica, it is home to more than 60 percent of the population.