Four distinct volcanic mountain ranges split the country down the middle from the Nicaraguan border to Panama. Each is of a different size, with mountains of differing heights and ages; factors that lead to different climate zones within and around them. All told, there are 16 completely distinct climate zones in Costa Rica!

The Cordillera de Talamanca, the country’s oldest and southernmost range, includes Mt. Chirripó, Costa Rica’s highest mountain at 3,820 metres (12,500 feet.) The Central Volcanic Range features the volcanoes Turrialba, Irazú, Barva and Poás.

In the northwest is the Tilarán Range, whose altitude reaches 1,700 metres (5,000 ft) at the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Farther to the northwest is the Guanacaste Range. Near the Nicaraguan border, this range includes five active volcanoes; among them are Volcan Arenal, a popular tourism attraction,Rincon de la Vieja, and Miravalles, which is being used to generate geothermal energy.

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