Visiting Monteverde: A guide to the Cloud Forest

Monteverde is a peaceful, quiet, and serene town in Costa Rica. It is up in the mountains with breathtaking views. The locals are happy and amazing. Some of the locals are Ticos and some are Quakers that migrated to Monteverde in the 50s. It is a tourist spot for all types of adventurers. 

What is Monteverde?

Monteverde translates to “green mountain” and it lives by this name. It is a green mountain up in the clouds. Since it has such a high elevation, it rains quite frequently. The mountains are covered in clouds most of the year especially between the months of April and November. The temperature in Monteverde is about 65 degrees most of the year because of the amount of rain and the altitude.

At the top of the mountain, there is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. It is a national park protected to preserve the animals, flowers, and other wildlife that live there. Monteverde is home to many different species of orchids and birds. Many people who want to research or know more about the orchids and birds visit the Reserve throughout the year.

What to do there?

There is so much to do in the town of Monteverde and the nearby town of Santa Elena. You could go ziplining on the longest zipline in Central America, learn how coffee is made, or go bird watching to name a few. 

Hiking

There are many places to hike and different levels of hiking depending on your experience. Monteverde and Santa Elena offer hiking from walking to advanced. If you want a guided tour there are many guides that are willing and knowledgeable to take you on the hike you desire.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

This is the place to go if you want to see monkeys, birds, flowers, and a suspension bridge. The entrance is $25 without a guide. I believe the guides are another $20-$25 per person. The receptionist shows you the different trails that you can take. They can also provide you with a guide if you prefer one. (I suggest a guide for the first visit, as the guides can help you spot things you wouldn’t spot otherwise.)

The Cloud Forest offers a few different trails ranging from 1 hour to 3 or 4 hours. Of course, this all depends on how fast you walk and how often you stop to take pictures and observe. The hike is pretty easy and mainly just a walk. There are some areas where it is steep, but it is doable for most people. 

You can experience the Continental Divide, a suspension bridge, a waterfall, and wildlife. There are three kinds of monkeys that live here. There are over a million different species of plants. Orchids are a big deal in the Reserve. The orchids are beautiful and wonderful to see. There are many different types of birds including the Quetzel bird. This bird has a long tail and bright colors. 

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

This is very similar to the Monteverde Reserve. I have never been to this reserve as I really enjoy the Monteverde Cloud Forest. It is definitely on my list to see my next trip there. This forest is cheaper to enter than the Monteverde Cloud Forest. It is $16 for entrance and $25 for a guide (not required). 

If you want to learn more you can check out this website. 

The Children’s Eternal Forest

The Children’s Eternal Forest is another amazing place to visit in Monteverde. This is another place on my list of things to see while there. I have heard some great things about it. There is a few to enter as well. 

You can see many of the same animals and plants as you see in the Monteverde Cloud forest. It sits next to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, so there are many of the same wildlife. 

If you want to learn more you can check out this website.

El Tigre Waterfall Tour

My friends recently did this tour. It is more of an advanced hike so I didn’t feel comfortable as my experience is not advanced. You are hiking through the majestic mountains to magnificent waterfalls and crossing over wooden hanging bridges on the way there. The trek back is much easier as it is done by horseback. 

They provide you with lunch and a guide to tell you all about the area. It is a newer tour that they just complete recently according to my friends. If you are an advanced hiker and love the outdoors, this is the hike for you! This hike is $69.

Check it out here.

Monteverde Institute Trails

This is a free self-guided tour at the local institute. It is a very easy hike to do. The trail is a natural trail so there are no stepping blocks or paved parts. They give you a laminated booklet for you to follow. The booklet has the map and different reading material to read along the way. There are numbered spots that correspond to the information on the booklet. 

They do offer yoga and other classes during the week as well. It is very serene and quiet. 

While on the property, you can visit Sarah’s art gallery and home. Sarah moved to the area in the early 70s. She learned to paint on her own after she moved to Monteverde. Sarah has some beautiful paintings and an amazing house. I purchased one of her watercolor paintings while I was visiting. 

Extreme Adventures

There are so many extreme adventures in Monteverde. Anything from bungee jumping to zip lining can be found in Monteverde. Whatever extreme adventure you would love, you can find.

Zipling

My favorite place for ziplining in 100% adventura. I have done this tour twice. Each time is better than the last. You zip line on the longest zipline in Central America, zipline superman, and do a Tarzan swing that will have you screaming. 

The first time I did this tour, we had to do a pretty intense hike between two of the ziplining stations. Since then they added a buggy ride, which makes the tour so much better. It was an intense hike so many people couldn’t make it because of their level of fitness or health.

They take your photos throughout the course. At the end, you can purchase a CD with all the photos fro $15 a CD. I have done this twice. 

Of course, there are many different companies in the area that offer similar experiences. If this company doesn’t work for you, check out the many others. 

Bungee Jumping

I have never done this, nor do I plan to do this, but it may be something you are interested in. You can take a look at this company that offers bungee jumping and other tours. 

The company seems nice from the website. The guides video every jump that you can purchase for $20 at the end. If your family doesn’t want to jump but wants to watch they are more than welcome too. The family members would just need to pay for the transport from the hotel (if you don’t have your own transportation.)

There is a minimum and maximum weight, 50 kilos min and 110 kilos max to do the tour. 

Check them out here

More laid back tours

There are plenty of other tours that are relaxing and fun. You can do a coffee tour, visit a bat jungle, or explore a butterfly garden, plus many others. 

Don Juan 3 in 1 Tour: Coffee, Sugar, and Chocolate

This is my all-time favorite tour in Monteverde. I have been there four times and everything I learned something different. And to my surprise, they gifted me a bag of coffee once and let me do the tour for free once. I met Don Juan himself. He is amazing and kind. Don Juan showed us his money collection from all over the world. 

The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable. They are welcoming and so amazing! I will keep going back that is for sure. They have added little things to make the tour more interactive as well. This time around I was able to roast coffee beans in a cast-iron skillet. 

It is definitely worth it! It is handicapped accessible as well. I would highly recommend this even if you have been on a coffee tour before. You will experience coffee and chocolate in many ways. 

Check out the website here

The Butterfly Garden 

It is not just a butterfly garden, it is also an insectarium so you get to learn about the different butterflies and insects in Costa Rica. They do tours all day and you have an experienced guide with you for the tour. 

If you have some free time on your hands you could always volunteer for two months giving English tours to visitors. Room and board are provided. 

I had a friend go recently that recommended this to me. I haven’t had time to go. I plan to make a trip again soon. When I visit I will update you. 

Click to read more.

The Bat Jungle

Many different species of bats live in Costa Rica. In Monteverde, they have a place called “The Bat Jungle”. It is home to 8 different species of bats. According to the website, you can see the bats live, eat, and give birth to babies. I have yet to experience this, but it is an option for those who want to walk and relax.

It is right in the heart of Monteverde so after you are done you could have lunch at Stella’s bakery. Also, across the street is the Monteverde Coffee shop, where you could get delicious coffee or take a tour.  

If you want to visit The Bath Jungle or read more click here.

Art Shops

In the town of Santa Elena and Monteverde, there are tons of shops to look for items you may want to take home with you. There is a place I have always found the perfect gift. They are located in this little house between Monteverde Center and Santa Elena Center. They have everything from painting to masks to jewelry. It is a wonderful and beautiful place. I have spent 30 minutes to an hour inside in awe by the beauty. 

They don’t have a website, but it is a place you should check out. If you are in town ask the locals where the Art House is located. You also can’t miss it on the way to the cloud forest. 

Monteverde is a place to visit.

It is a must stop when visiting Costa Rica. There is so much to do and explore that I don’t have listed here such as attending a Quaker meeting. It is beautiful, serene, and peaceful. 

I promise you will leave amazed and in awe of the vast beauty and diversity. 

If you have visited Monteverde, leave a comment letting me know your favorite thing to do there. What did you like most? I love recommendations.

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