Snowcap is a resident from southern Honduras south to western Panama, to as far east as western Panama province (Monroe 1968, Wetmore 1968, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Howell and Webb 1995, Martínez-Sánchez and Will 2010). This species primarily occurs on the Caribbean slope, but occurs locally on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Guancaste in Costa Rica (Stiles and Skutch 1989), and also locally on the Pacific slope in western Panama (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). Snowcap is most common, in Costa Rica, in the Cordillera Central, and is uncommon to rare in the Cordillera de Talamanca (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
In Costa Rica, Snowcap primarily breeds at 300-800 m, and locally breeds up to 1000 m (Stiles and Skutch 1989). After breeding, most of the population descends to the lowlands (Stiles 1980, Stiles and Skutch 1989); occasionally individuals also wander to as high as 1400 m (Stiles and Skutch 1989). In Panama, occurs at 600-1650 m.