Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica and explore the National Park & Reserves!
Visiting Monteverde, Costa Rica
Monteverde is a small town in the mountain ranges of Costa Rica and a major destination for ecotourism in the country. About 3 hours from San Jose, it is one of our top recommended destinations in Costa Rica. Monteverde is the best place to experience a cloud forest. Cloud forests were given their name because you will see a thin veil of clouds just below the canopy. The clouds eventually dissipate into water on the leaves and drip down, watering the plants below. It is breathtaking to see from above.
The three main reserves that protect the sustainability of the cloud forest covered mountains in this part of Costa Rica are the Monteverde Reserve, the Santa Elena Reserve, and the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. A quarter of a million tourists from all over the world come here to explore these biodiverse highlands. There’s a total of 755 tree species there, which means, that one square mile, The Monteverde Cloud Forest can have more species of trees than the entire Unites States of America. Visit Monteverde to experience what Costa Rica is all about: incredible biodiversity and environmental preservation.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The best part of Monteverde are the foggy, mysterious cloud forests. Thanks to the humid climate, you won’t see so much beautiful nature anywhere else. Hike with a guide for the best chance to spot wildlife and discover the magical cloud forest up close. You can learn all about the natural surroundings and rainforest plants. Don’t forget rain gear, hiking boots and binoculars for the best experience!
Santa Elena Costa Rica is a small community just 5 kilometers from the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. This small town offers the best of both worlds in luxury as well as budget accommodations. But generally it is considered a haven for backpackers who flock to Santa Elena in large numbers. Here you can find some basic amenities like a supermarket, post office, health center and bank.
Ecological Night Walks
See the a whole different world of wildlife and let a guide show you all the mysterious animals that emerge at night. You’ll walk with small groups and experienced guides who know exactly where to go to see animals. Sleeping birds, sloths, snakes, monkeys and tarantulas are just a few animals and insects you might see!
Discover the cloud forest on horseback and let professional guides point out the local wildlife along the way. Tours can last from two hours to eight days and can accommodate people aged 6-100. Touring the Cloud Forest on horseback is not an experience you will soon forget!
Coffee and Chocolate Tours
Taste some of the best, and freshest, coffee and chocolate in the world and learn about the history and culture of chocolate and coffee in Monteverde. You will even get to participate in the process by harvesting, peeling and roasting the coffee beans! When you’re finished you’re rewarded with an incredible cup of coffee and gorgeous views of the Cloud Forest.
Cloud Forest Train
Explore the cloud forest on a replica 19th century train. It travels at 5 miles per hour and is a great adventure for families traveling with young children. The tour takes about an hour and comes with a guide ready to answer all your questions about the Cloud Forest.
Get ready to get muddy on awesome ATV treks through the cloud forest. The tours start with a safety presentation and practice session to make sure you’re ready for your adventure through the Cloud Forest. You’ll drive by waterfalls and scenic vistas before you get to spin 360 turns in the mud. Don’t forget to bring dry clothes!
Ranariums and Serpentariums
Learn about more than 25 species of frogs and amphibians from local bilingual experts at the Monteverde Frog Pond. See some of the most venomous snakes in the world. Only 1/2 inch of glass stands between you and these slippery creatures.
Monteverde Sky Walks
After exploring the forest floor, accelerate your heart rate and explore it from the sky. With almost 2 miles of trails and 6 suspension bridges, you will get to see the cloud forests at the canopy level. Make sure to bring your camera to capture the beautiful birds soaring through the sky.
Monteverde Sky Trek
Monteverde is famous for its unbelievable ziplining tours. Get ready to get your adrenaline pumping as you fly through the cloud forests on some of the best zip lines in the world. Many zip line companies also offer the superman zip lines, tarzan swings, repelling and even bungee jumping.
Bird watchers from all over the world flock to Monteverde in hopes of witnessing a resplendent quetzal, a Three Wattle Bell Bird, a Mot Mot or many other of the 400 known bird species that live in Monteverde or periodically pay a visit. Monteverde has 2000 species of plants, 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds.
Visit from January to May: Visit between January and May for the best weather.
Get there early: The reserves restrict the number of visitors so arrive by 7am during the high season.
Rent a car: For convenient transportation you can rent a car. However If you rent a car, make sure they know you plan on going to Monteverde.
Bring rain attire: Don’t forget proper rain gear and water-proof shoes (hiking boots recommended) and binoculars.
Hike with a guide: It is not very easy to spot wildlife in the cloud forest, so it is best to hike with a guide who can help point it out.
Getting to Monteverde is relatively easy. For the fastest and most convenient transportation, rent a car right from the airport upon your arrival. You will take the Interamerica Highway and drive through San Ramon towards Liberia to get to Monteverde. There are also shuttle services available from San Jose. Private shuttles are a little more expensive, from $200-$300. Shared shuttles, however, are more affordable from $50-$100. You can also take the public bus provided by Transmonteverde from Terminal 7-10 in San Jose.
The Monteverde culinary experience should also be considered as one of Monteverde’s highlights. Restaurant Lucia – with its sophisticated gourmet cuisine – is at the top of our list, followed by El Bosque and Johnny’s Pizza. Morpho’s Café is one of Monteverde’s well-kept secrets and is perfect for travelers on a lower budget. The local ice cream is another item every visitor should indulge in when visiting Monteverde. And don’t leave without trying fresh Monteverde cheese, chocolate and coffee!
Where to Stay
It may be in the middle of the cloud forest, but Monteverde has many very nice and comfortable hotels to choose from. Of all the Monteverde hotels, the El Establo Lodge Monteverde is one the best. Luxurious hospitality, world class service and excellent amenities/facilities in the middle of a cloud forest are definitely worth the trip! Other notable accommodations are the Trapp Family Hotel or Hotel Poco a Poco, and the Hotel Fonda Vela. These forest lodges are as comfortable as they are stylish with top notch service.
Monteverde - Get Info
Monteverde is located 3 hours from San Jose in the northwest part of Costa Rica, next the Arenal Volcano. It is easily accessible by rental car, shuttle or private transfer!