Plains of the North
The North Zone is in Costa Rica and borders in the north to Rio San Juan Region of Nicaragua. It is known for Arenal Volcano, but it has other gems that are not-so-hidden such as Lake Arenal and the Los Angeles Cloud Forest. Arenal is the world's 3rd most active volcano and can be heard rumbling several times an hour. The lava flow changes frequently, but even without seeing the lava the mountain is impressive in size and shape.
The Los Angeles Cloud Forest is not as visited as the Cloud Forests in Monteverde, but the wildlife is abundant and the locals are extremely friendly.
San Ramon is a moderately sized town that really only has one tourist attraction, the local church or cathedral. The church is large and in a state of repair but it is next to the town's central park which follows Japanese influence in its design. The north-eastern parts of this region are dominated by monocultural exploitation of sugar cane, citrus trees and pineapple farms.
To the locals. Find a good soda to frequent and meet the local Ticos or Ticas to better enjoy the region.
The best way to get to the North Zone is by car, the car offers the most flexibility to stop and experience the local culture on your trip to the North. Main entering routes are: Route 142 from Nicaragua border passing by Arenal Lagoon, Route 141 passing by Ciudad Quesada, Route 702 passing by San Ramon and Route 4 coming from the Province of Limon.
Regular buses from San Jose and San Ramon are available, the most used option is from Terminal 7-10, direct buses to La Fortuna, the bus makes a 20 minutes rest stop on Ciudad Quesada, then 1 hour later arrives to La Fortuna, the bus doesn't makes too many stops but passes by towns, thus overcrowding the bus with no A/C. Second option is taking buses at UEPSA Terminal in San Jose to San Ramon town, switch to buses to La Fortuna (60 meters east side), this route is more comfortable but slower, makes several bus stops, any route decided is recommended to take a Dramamine pill or have a plastic bag with small alcohol bottle handy.
SANSA commuter airlines serves La Fortuna during high season.