Monteverde is one of the most extraordinary places in Costa Rica. With hundreds of different animals and thousands of exotic plant species, it’s a delight for nature lovers. You can push your limits or find complete tranquility there. We’re sharing our favorite tips and attractions in Monteverde.
Why Monteverde is Such a Magical Place
Green mountain, that’s the rough translation. And Monteverde lives up to its name. The hilly area is surrounded by cloud forests, which are almost always shrouded in a blanket of mist.
A cloud forest is a unique type of rainforest. Due to the altitude and the tropical climate, fine droplets of water often hang in the air. That mist gives the forest a magical feeling.
The tropical cloud forests of Monteverde are among the most famous in the world. The high humidity supports an incredible variety of extraordinary plant and animal species.
How to Get to Monteverde?
Our road trip through Costa Rica starts in the capital, San José. There, we rent a four-wheel-drive car and drive to Monteverde, which takes about four hours.
Public transportation in Costa Rica is not the best. And while you could hire a driver, driving yourself is much more enjoyable and affordable. Make sure to choose a car with four-wheel drive (4×4) because the last 20 kilometers involve a very rough road.
We take a charming route through the Costa Rican countryside. Until suddenly, the asphalt disappears. “That probably won’t last long,” we laugh. Turns out, we were mistaken. The final stretch takes us uphill on a bumpy dirt road full of potholes. Not the most comfortable, but definitely adventurous.
Our Favorite Hotel in Monteverde
Although it’s quite remote, Monteverde is a highly touristy destination. So, we’re quite surprised when, after the challenging climb, we suddenly enter a bustling village. Shops, cafes, restaurants, and, of course, quite a few hotels.
We decide to opt for a unique place to stay. Chira Glamping Monteverde is technically a tent, but it comes with a comfortable bed and lots of luxury. You’ll have amenities like Netflix, a private bathroom, and an outdoor kitchen with a stocked fridge. In the morning, you can enjoy a delicious fried egg while gazing at the green hills.
One significant advantage of Chira Glamping is the incredible level of privacy it offers. The terrace, kitchen, bathroom, and tent are all hidden behind a door with a code that only you have. The service is excellent as well, as you can easily book excursions via WhatsApp.
The Best Attractions in Monteverde
Whether you’re seeking tranquility in nature or looking for adventure, Monteverde caters to both. Below, we list the most exciting excursions in Monteverde.
1. Ziplining through the Cloud Forest
In Monteverde, you can experience ziplining at various locations. Extremo Park, Selvatura Park, and Sky Adventures all offer this thrilling activity in the stunning cloud forests. We chose Sky Adventures for our ziplining adventure, and it was incredible.
A rickety cable car takes us to an altitude of 800 meters. The view becomes more breathtaking with each passing minute, although it’s hard to fully appreciate it for long. Before we know it, we’re soaring at high speed (up to 70 km/h!) over the treetops of Monteverde.
The staff is incredibly friendly and professional. Amidst all the adrenaline, there’s also time to admire the beautiful green hills.
2. Hanging Bridges
While ziplining allows you to look out over the cloud forest, if you’re curious about what lies beneath that green blanket of tropical plants, you must visit the Hanging Bridges.
We did this after our ziplining adventure in the same park. During a Sky Walk Hanging Bridges tour, you walk about 2.5 kilometers through the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Along the way, you’ll encounter several impressive hanging bridges.
These bridges guarantee Instagram-worthy photos. And if you take the route with a guide—which we highly recommend—you’ll spot a lot of wildlife. We wouldn’t have spotted the hairy tarantulas, brightly colored birds, and roaring monkeys without our guide’s keen eye.
3. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a beautiful protected nature reserve. Don’t expect thrilling activities here; instead, you’ll find an abundance of unique plants and animals. This reserve is home to half of all flora and fauna species found in Costa Rica.
We explore this vast nature reserve with a guide. With a special pair of binoculars, we get an up-close view of the colorful birds. Excitedly, our guide points out a group of exotic birds with long, graceful tails. “We rarely see those here; you’re lucky!”
Even without a guide, you can spend hours wandering around. You may spot fewer wild animals, but the walk through the green cloud forest is still incredibly peaceful.
4. Hummingbird Garden
Next to the entrance of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, you’ll find the Hummingbird Garden. It’s essentially a café with feeders of sugar water hanging on the terrace, attracting eager hummingbirds and creating a colorful spectacle of birds.
It’s a popular attraction among tourists, but one can question whether it’s desirable to lure the birds in this manner. We decided to skip this location because, in our opinion, a hummingbird is much more beautiful when you have to search for it a little bit.
5. Enjoy Drinks and Delicious Food in Santa Elena
There’s a cozy atmosphere in many places in Monteverde, especially in Santa Elena—a village in the Monteverde district—where you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes.
Since Santa Elena attracts many tourists, you can find a variety of meals to satisfy your taste buds, from classic Italian dishes to Mexican cuisine. The village has a friendly vibe, and prices are generally reasonable.
The Best Time to Visit Monteverde
The best time to visit Monteverde is between December and April. During this period, you’ll have the least chance of rain, and the average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) provides pleasant warmth. However, be aware that nights can get quite chilly.
From May to November, Monteverde becomes even greener. However, it’s advisable to skip visiting during these months due to heavy rainfall and a higher chance of thunderstorms.