View of the hanging bridge over the cloudy forest, Monteverde

Things to do in  Monteverde

Where you walk among the clouds

Located more than 4,600 feet (1,400 meters) above sea level, Monteverde is similar in atmosphere to the Pacific Northwest region of the US—this Costa Rican gem is overflowing with lush greenery thanks to plenty of precipitation from above. Cloud forest reserves top the list of things to do in Monteverde, with different exploration options including hiking along the trails, going on a canopy tour over suspension bridges, and ziplining across the trees.

Top 8 attractions in Monteverde

Selvatura Park

Selvatura Park is a popular nature-adventure park in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. Located just outside Monteverde, the park contains over 850 acres (344 hectares) of ecologically diverse forest. Attractions include zipline and suspension bridge tours, hummingbird and butterfly gardens, natural history walks, and reptile exhibitions.More

Curi-Cancha Reserve

The cloud forest of Curi-Cancha Reserve creates a habitat for flora and fauna such as colorful quetzals and monkeys. Visitors can explore the private reserve via several nature trails. Plus, the private reserve’s daily 50 person cap means you’ll see more wildlife without having to battle the crowds.More

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve (Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena)

Brimming with wildlife, orchids, and ferns, the Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena (Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve) is consistently covered in tree-level clouds, which result in the rich biodiversity that sets this forest apart from others. The reserve spans mountains, valleys, and rivers, and offers many wildlife-watching opportunities.More

Monteverde Butterfly Gardens

Tucked away in the mountains, the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens is one of the most popular attractions in the area. The 3-acre (1.2-hectare) sanctuary houses four unique climate-controlled habitats where more than 30 species of butterflies thrive alongside 20 species of arachnids and insects and a colony of leaf-cutter ants.More

Children's Eternal Rainforest (Bosque Eterno de los Niños)

The Children’s Eternal Rainforest (Bosque Eterno de los Niños) is Costa Rica’s largest private reserve, purchased by children from 44-plus countries in a collaboration to preserve the rainforest. Visitors come to hike and see native wildlife in the park, which stretches across mountains and valleys between Arenal National Park and Monteverde.More

Butterfly Conservatory

Nestled in the rainforest of northern Costa Rica, the Butterfly Conservatory lets visitors discover diverse butterflies and flowers via a network of trails and gardens. Dedicated to the preservation of butterflies and other tropical rainforest species, the conservatory has a learning center and educational exhibits.More

Las Pumas Rescue Center

Las Pumas Rescue Center (Centro de Rescate Las Pumas) rescues and rehabilitates wildlife and advocates rainforest conservation efforts in the Guanacaste Province near Cañas, Costa Rica. The sanctuary sits on an old farm in the heart of the Santa Rosa Sector Guanacaste Conservation Area (Area de Conservación Guanacaste), both a network of protected areas and a World Heritage Site. The center rescues large cats primarily, but it also works to provide a safe home to monkeys, deer, parrots, and other animals.More
The Bat Jungle

The Bat Jungle

Home to around 100 bats from 8 different native species, the enclosed Bat Jungle replicates the conditions of a cloud forest at night. While bats can be difficult to observe in the wild, this exhibit lets you see bats eating, interacting, and caring for their young. A tour gives visitors further insight into these mysterious nocturnal creatures.More
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All about Monteverde

When to visit

The best time to visit Monteverde is during the dry season—from December through April. This is when you’ll experience mostly sunny days, ranging in temperature from a high of 82°F (28°C) in December to a high of 92°F (33°C) in April. But even during the dry months, there’s always a chance of rain, so be prepared and dress accordingly. Remember to wear comfortable shoes that can handle muddy and slippery trails, especially from May to November.

Getting around

Most shops, hotels, and restaurants in downtown Monteverde (known as Santa Elena) are within walking distance—a roughly 3-mile (5-kilometer) radius of each other. Guided tours of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve often include round-trip transportation, or you can travel there on your own via rental car and hire a guide upon arrival. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve boasts 8 miles (13 kilometers) of unpaved nature trails.

Traveler tips

Keep in mind that many travelers refer to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve as simply “Monteverde,” but there is also the town of Monteverde—this is most useful when asking for directions. Because Monteverde’s tourism is focused on the area’s forest reserves and nature exploration, the town doesn’t really have a nightlife scene. And the dining options are modest, with mostly soda restaurants, which serve authentic Costa Rican food, and average-priced eateries.


People Also Ask

Is Monteverde worth visiting?

Yes, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, ornithophile, or an adventure-seeking traveler. From ziplining and hanging bridges tours, to aerial tram rides and butterfly and hummingbird gardens, Monteverde showcases the area’s rich biodiversity in many different ways. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is the most visited forest in the area.

Should I do the night walk in Monteverde?

Yes, because the wildlife in the cloud forests is most active at night. By following a naturalist guide, you'll get the chance to spot some nocturnal creatures, including sloths, tarantulas, armadillos, snakes, and the red-eyed tree frog. The night walk through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve travels along well-maintained trails and includes some stairs.

How many days do you need in Monteverde?

Two to three days is a good amount of time to spend in Monteverde. This allows you to take both day and evening tours, and explore Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and other cloud forest reserves. It also gives you time to visit a coffee farm or take a sugar cane mill tour.

What are the best months to visit Monteverde?

Most travelers consider between December and April the best months to visit Monteverde. This is the dry season, so you’ll experience mostly sunny days. But given the area’s atmosphere, there is the possibility of rain anytime of year. During the rainy season from May through November, the trails can be muddy.

Is Santa Elena or Monteverde reserve better?

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is not as popular as Monteverde, but the flora and fauna are similar. Santa Elena is slightly higher, so it’s wetter and cloudier. Monteverde’s trails are shorter, wider, and better maintained than Santa Elena, and easily accessible. If you’re traveling with kids or a novice hiker, Monteverde is better.

Does Monteverde have sloths?

Yes, but only two-toed sloths live in Monteverde, as three-toed sloths don’t have enough fur to stay warm in its cool cloud forests. A naturalist guide can help you spot and photograph wild sloths in other parts of Costa Rica, since they can be tricky to see due to their natural camouflage.

Frequently Asked Questions
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