Changes in structure of a Costa Rican upper montane Quercus forest were studied in twelve 0.1 ha plots along a chronosequence including 8- to 20-year-old Early Secondary Forest (ESF), 25- to 32-year-old Late Secondary Forest (LSF) and mature Primary Forest (PF). In 1.2 ha 2854 stems ≥ 3.0 cm dbh belonging to 42 tree species were recorded. Tree species richness per 0.1 ha ranged from 15 to 30. Diversity indices did not change significantly during succession. Stem density did not differ significantly among successional phases, while basal area was significantly higher in PF than in ESF and LSF. Maximum canopy height and basal area increased linearly during the first three decades of recovery. Height and dbh showed a significant, logarithmic regression for all forest phases. A period of 84 y was estimated as the theoretically minimum time needed for structural recovery. The maximum canopy height and basal area recovered two to five times slower in upper montane than in lower montane or lowland Neotropical forests.