Monteverde in the Puntarenas province happens to be one of the most visited Costa Rica destinations. The word stands for “Green Mountain” in Spanish. Sitting on the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range and being blessed with rolling green hills, justifies the name.
Although away from the tropical shores, it is popular for the cloud forest and ecotourism facilities. Monteverde is teeming with a diverse range of flora and wildlife. It is approximately 4,600 ft (1400 m) high from sea level. Because of the precipitation and moist clouds that hover there, it stays evergreen. Getting there is easy. The main town Santa Elena is the tourist hub there. It houses banks, bus stations, hostels, restaurants, and tour operators. You can reach Monteverde in around two to three hours by car from Liberia or San Jose airport. Direct buses from San Jose airport are also available and they take about four and a half hours. Below are the top things you can do there.
Top 10 things to do in Monteverde
None should skip Monteverde while on a Costa Rica trip! You can enjoy the following there.
1. Monteverde Cloud Forest
Monteverde Cloud Forest is the most popular attraction there. You can watch low, misty clouds creeping among the trees because of the high altitude of the forest. The place is a haven for a wide range of wildlife and flora & fauna. You can visit the cloud forest between 7:00 AM and 4:00 PM every day throughout the year. Better to go as early as possible to avoid the crowd. The park charges $25 for non-national adults and $12 for non-national children (subject to change). Better take necessary items to protect against the cloud and rain. You can also do Night Walking in Monteverde Cloud Forest. It delivers a different exhilaration as one can watch fantastic wildlife including under the canopy of the night sky. Better take a guided tour for watching nocturnal animals.
If you want to avoid the crowded trails of the popular Monteverde Cloud Forest, Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve offers an excellent alternative. It is higher, equally beautiful; less crowded, and offers a quiet environment. The trails are also full of a wide range of plants and animal species. One can visit the reserve from Monday to Sunday between 7:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Guided walks are also available.
3. Enjoy Adrenaline Rush through Ziplining
Besides enjoying tranquil forests teeming with wildlife, Monteverde offers a wide range of outdoor activities to enjoy an adrenaline rush. Costa Rica happens to be the home to some of the best cable runs in the world. And many of them are in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Several companies are there that offer these services. You can fly over the forest and enjoy an aerial view of the forest. Visitors can also take a bungee jump.
4. Admire birds at CURI-CANCHA Reserve
Located in Monteverde, it is a paradise for bird watchers. You can find a wide array of birds including the Resplendent Quetzal, Blue-Crowned Motmot, Three-wattled Bellbird, etc. there. Additionally, you will watch agouti, armadillo, two-toed sloth, spider monkey, etc. there. The reserve offers guided walks along natural trails and night tours to enjoy the symphony of frogs and insects.
5. Enjoy a Coffee tour
Monteverde has a huge coffee culture and nothing could be better than enjoying a cup of fresh brew. Taking the tour one would walk through the entire coffee-making process. It begins with an acquaintance with the lifecycle of the coffee plant beginning from the bean stage to processing and development. One can take the coffee tour with Cafe de Monteverde. It is close to the cloud forest and is well-known for its quality coffee plantations throughout Costa Rica. They organize daily garden tours.
6. Explore Monteverde Orchid Garden
Located in Monteverde it is more than a botanical garden. Visiting there you can watch above 450 different orchid species and flowers of more than 120 different types of flowers blooming throughout the year. The garden lets visitors enjoy every moment in peace and wonder in intense natural surroundings.
7. Visit the frog pond
It is located in Santa Elena and takes around 15 minutes to drive from Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. It is home to a wide variety of frog species from all over Costa Rica. They offer visitors to watch frogs twice; once during daytime and the other at night since some frogs are nocturnal. Kids will love these amphibian friends.
8. Watch Butterflies
Monteverde Butterfly Garden is also around 15 minutes drive from Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and is located near the frog pond. It features four climate-controlled habitats that are home to 30 species of butterfly. It also boasts more the 20 species of live insects. The place is open from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM every day and they conduct guided tour programs.
9. Take a Bat Jungle Tour
Located in Monteverde, it takes visitors to the world of bats with live bats flying through a simulated jungle environment. The bat garden boasts 57 feet (17 meters) long enclosure where 90 live bats belonging to 8 species, eat, socialize and nurse their babies. Lucky visitors can see a mother bat give birth right before their eyes! They conduct a guided tour for 45 minutes and visitors can hear the sound bats emit with the help of a special ultrasonic microphone.
10. Dine on treetops
You can visit San Lucas Restaurant to have a nice meal after a hectic day of outdoor activities. The restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience on tree tops. It features a glass box restaurant 50 ft high that offers wonderful views of downtown Costa Rica. The restaurant offers a 9-course dinner that takes one through a culinary journey of Costa Rica. They provide delicious dishes and offer great services.
Monteverde is an incredible travel destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts for individuals, couples, and families. It is also one of the places to spot Quetzal. Now that you have gone through the review, make Monteverde your next vacation destination.