Costa Rica is a great place for all kinds of travelers, especially nature lovers. Monteverde is one of those areas of the country where you can get adventure and nature all at once. There are so many things to do in Monteverde that you might get overwhelmed with all the options.
It is also where one of the last few remaining cloud forests is located. When you get there, you will notice that the place has a unique climate and flora that make it looks almost mystical.
Monteverde is a unique area in Costa Rica filled with tons of different animal species and lots of different orchids. It is also a place for adventurers and people looking for luxurious hotels. The area is perfect for those looking to explore the beauties of the cloud forest in style. The many things to do in Monteverde will definitely give you your nature fix for your vacation.
There are many activities being offered that will keep you busy for days and outside your hotel, but there are eight that you absolutely can’t miss.
Things To Do In Monteverde
1. Canopy Tour:
This is THE thing to do in Costa Rica. It is an exciting adventure that will take you along zip lines on the forest’s canopy. If you pay attention, you might even be able to find some animals hiding among the tree branches. You will probably find tons of options for this kind of tour all over the country.
In my opinion, if you have time and budget, you should try a couple that takes you through different ecosystems in the country.
2. Hanging bridges Tour:
These tours take place in the forest and take you along trails and huge bridges over it, it’s one of the most popular things to do in Monteverde. From them, you get one of the most spectacular views of the area. You will also see lots of wildlife. They are usually offered in a combo along with the canopy tours.
This is a much more relaxed alternative to the previous option that will allow you to enjoy the forest at your own pace. You also get to see more animals, since it is a much quieter activity that doesn’t scare them.
3. Sky Tram:
Looking for something even more relaxed and that doesn’t involve any walking?
This is what I like to call the relaxed version of the canopy tour. In it, you will travel along the forest canopy sitting in gondolas. This allows you to see animals hiding in the trees. I would recommend this one for those who still want to enjoy the beauties of the cloud forest, but don’t want something too fast.
4. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve:
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is another cool way to explore the local forest and see the trees from another angle you can also go on a hiking tour along the reserve. During this tour, your guide will teach you all about the local fauna that you manage to run into.
This is a great place for a relaxing hiking tour. This tour is also famous among birdwatchers looking for colorful creatures hiding in the branches.
There are different trails of different lengths, so having a guide with you is a good idea to avoid getting lost or taking a trail that is too hard for you.
5. Tour to the San Luis Waterfall:
This is a beautiful waterfall located on private property but for a small entrance fee, you can enjoy a short hiking tour through the forest to the waterfall, it’s a highly recommended activity to do in Monteverde. Depending on the climate you might be able to swim in it but beware. The water is super cold.
6. Horseback Riding:
The most common horseback riding tour of the Monteverde area is the one that takes you to the San Luis Waterfall. This is another relaxing, scenic, and even romantic option.
7. Orchid Garden:
This is a project that has one of the biggest orchid collections in Costa Rica and one of the best things to do in Monteverde. Right now, they have more than 450 different species, including the smallest orchid in the world. You will feel like you just got to heaven as soon as you walk into the garden where they are all kept. Even if you know nothing about orchids, I’m sure you will love seeing all of the gorgeous kinds and colors that exist in the area.
You will also be taught a lot about these gorgeous and delicate flowers.
8. Frog Pond:
This is a small zoo for frogs, but they also have some other reptiles. They have over 25 frog species, including the famous Red Eyed Frog. This is definitely a great place to stop by to be able to learn more about these tiny reptiles.
This is another reptile-only zoo, but this time it specializes in snakes. But that isn’t all it has to offer, they also have exhibited vipers, lizards, frogs, and all sorts of reptiles. Including the dangerous fer de lance.
This is a great place for insect lovers. Here you will find thousands of different species, including the tarantula. This is also the place where a great collection of insects is located, called The Jewels of Costa Rica.
11. Don Juan Coffee Tour:
It is a tour along with an authentic Costa Rica coffee farm where excellent coffee is harvested and processed. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about how coffee is made. You will also be able to taste some of the same coffee that Costa Rica has to offer.
12. The Bat Jungle Exhibit:
Here you will be able to see and learn about these beautiful yet misunderstood creatures. In the exhibit, there are more than 40 live bats of 7 different species, including the vampire bat.
13. Hummingbird Gallery:
It is located right next to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. It is home to more than 100 hummingbirds from 14 different species of these fast-flying birds.
14. Monteverde Butterfly Garden
The butterfly garden’s tours are full of enthusiasm and will introduce you to the country’s 14,000 butterfly and moth species. Here you will also find a small please-touch bug exhibit.
15. World of Insects
World of Insects will be the perfect addition to the cloud forest’s walks. Here you will learn about all the insects you saw on tour through the cloud forest. They also show off impressive species such as water cockroaches, arachnids, and scorpions.
It has one of the area’s most popular canopy tours, followed up by an almost 2-mile walk along the facility’s hanging bridges. They also have the largest private collection of insects in the area, known as the “Jewels of the Rainforest”, But that’s not it Selvatura also offers a butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, reptile, and amphibian exhibits.
Monteverde’s Private Parks and Wildlife Refuges
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
This 26,000-acre private reserve is the most popular park in the area today. It was founded by Quaker settlers in the early 1950’s. Only 160 people are allowed inside the reserve at a time. Since it’s a cloud forest it is a prime location to spot wildlife including the resplendent quetzal.
Santa Elena Reserve
Santa Elena Reserve deserves more attention than it receives. Its quiet acres are home to 10% more wildlife species than its more famous cloudy neighbor. All earnings from ticket sales go towards funding local high schools.
Children’s Eternal Forest
This conservation project began when a group of Swiss school children committed to “save the rainforest” and is today the largest reserve in the area. This combination of evergreen forest, seasonal cloud forest and seasonal rain forest is fully funded by children and said to belong to every child in the world.
Cerro Plano Ecological Sanctuary
The once working farm now plants four to five million trees per year for reforestation, it also takes a natural approach to attracting animals. They plant specific trees and bushes to lure coatimundis, white-faced monkeys and many other animal species.
These 27 acres of secondary tropical forest was once home to farms and banana plantations and hosts the most popular night tours in town.
Tranquil Path Reserve
It promotes true eco-tourism by having narrow trail paths that minimize environmental impact. Here tours are limited to six people per group.
San Luis Research Station
It’s one of the Monteverde area’s best birding spots. It has several trails that wind through primary and secondary rainforests and a working, on-site farm that harvests tropical fruit year-round. The University of Georgia administrates this 173-acre research station.
Waterfalls Of Monteverde
San Luis Waterfall
A difficult hike leads to the San Luis waterfall, a tumbling cascade of clear, rushing water. The area is perfect for picnics and swimming.
Cerro Plano Ecological Sanctuary
The reserve is home to three beautiful waterfalls that are normally closed in the green season.
Monteverde’s Historical and Cultural Sights
Friends Meeting House
Nine Quaker families settled Monteverde in the early 1950’s. Their legacy still lives in Monteverde, trough the Friends Meeting House that they founded more than 60 years ago.
Monteverde Cheese Factory
The Quaker settlers founded the Cheese Factory, which would soon become the area’s largest employer. Today, tourists enjoy ice cream cones, cheese samples, and a healthy helping of pacifist, Quaker history on Cheese Factory tours.
Have you ever been to the area? What were your favorite activities?
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