Things to do in Costa Rica Monteverde are among the most exciting and diverse from the whole country so you have plenty of outdoor activities to try during your trip.
The world Monteverde translated into English as the Green Mountain and refers to a lush piece of the tropical cloud forest from Puntarenas Province set as a protected area since 1972.
The area was voted in 2007 as one of the country’s seven wonders because of its beauty and unique biodiversity.
The main town where to set your camp when exploring the area is Monteverde town that is full of hotels, restaurants, and tour companies where you can book unique experiences in the area.
There are plenty of things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica, from trekking to horseback riding, but the most popular ones are hiking and zip-lining tours because they offer a great way to explore the area.
When we discuss Monteverde Costa Rica thing about a humid place, with a large variety of plants and animals, a rare ecosystem that can be found only in subtropical and tropical mountainous areas.
The area around the national park is constantly cloudy and a dense fog hides the beauty of the place, revealing from time to time the lush vegetation and the beautiful wildlife.
Monteverde cloud forest is located at 1.450 meters above sea level (4.665 ft) and is home to more than 2.500 species of the plant out of which orchids are dominant, 120 species of mammals, and 400 different types of birds.
I drop below a list of the must-do Monteverde things to do so that you properly plan and organize your time spent abroad.
1. Hiking inside the protected area
One of the main Monte Verde things to do is hiking along the trails, deep into the cloud forest to observe wildlife and the variety of plants, trees, and flowers.
There are plenty of trails to follow inside the protected area, some of them suitable for beginners, families with young children or seniors, while others are designed for experts and those with a good physical condition.
Sendero Bosque Nuboso is the most popular trail of about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and with a level difference of 65 meters. It will take you about one hour and a half to explore it and is the most popular trail from the whole park.
There are plenty of other beautiful trails to hike spread all across the cloud forest: El Camino, Sendero Pantanoso, Sendero El Rio, Sendero Chomogo, and Sendero Brillante.
El Camino is a 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and 40 meters level difference and takes you somewhere around one hour or one hour and a half to complete.
Comparing with other trails from the park, El Camino is wider and more open being perfect for birdwatching and spotting butterflies.
Sendero Pantanoso goes along a swamp and have 1.5 kilometers long (1 mile) and is a great spot to observe magnolias, podocarpus, and plants bearing stilt roots.
Sendero El Rio goes up to a beautiful waterfall with a total length of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and goes along the Quebrada Cuecha.
Sendero Chomogo is the highest trail from the park going up to an elevation of 1.685 meters above sea level. Bamboo and oak are just some of the trails that can be observed along the trail and take you about 1 hour to complete it.
Sendero Brillante is one of the shortest trails from the park and takes you about 10 minutes to complete, having a total length of 300 meters (0.2 miles).
You will pass over the Continental Divide and go to a popular viewpoint from where you can admire the cloud forest sunken in the clouds.
2. Horseback riding
What to do in Monteverde Costa Rica if not a horseback riding tour available in the areas around the cloud forest, especially in Santa Teresa National Reserve.
You will have a new perspective over the forest and the surrounding scenery and you get deep into nature with a minimum effort.
Horseback riding tours in Monteverde are available during the whole day, but the morning tours give more chances to spot wildlife in their natural environment.
From the back of your horse, you can admire the Pacific Ocean bathing in the tropical sun or the sunset over the beach and the green forest.
3. Birdwatching tour
If birds are your passion or you simply like to admire the vivid colors of the tropical birds, then you definitely have to book a birdwatching tour in Monteverde.
There are more than 420 species of birds that live in this amazing cloud forest where Scarlet Macaws and resplendent quetzal can be seen flying around together with toucans, black-breasted wood quail, and magenta-throated woodstar.
4. Night tour in the forest
What most people don’t know about Monteverde Cloud Forest is that this magnificent area comes to life when the night comes.
When in the area, book a night-guided tour in the forest to watch the wild creatures when they are more active.
Sloths, coatis, spiders, snakes, ocelots, and monkeys are just some of the creatures that can be seen at night.
Most of the night tours depart from Santa Elena just minutes before 6 in the evening and will take you to Monteverde or Curi Cancha reserves to see the world of night creatures.
On your walk across the forest keep an eye on the wildlife and your ears wide open to the forest noise and the interesting things told by your guide.
5. Book a coffee tour
Because of the altitude and the climate, Monteverde is the perfect place to harvest coffee, sugar cane, and cacao.
You will see how coffee beans are harvest, roasted, and in the end, you will drink coffee from the beans harvested from the plantation.
Then continue with cacao trees, harvest some cacao beans, roast them and then grind them to have row material for the delicious choco cream from the end of the tour.
Take an oxen-pulled cart and go to the sugar cane plantation to harvest some cane and then go back to the farm and squeeze them to get some very sweet drink.
Most of the tours include visits to all these three farms: coffee, sugar cane, and cacao, and at the end of each tour, you will drink coffee, some juice from sugar cane, and a delicious choco cream.
6. Zip lining tour
Have a different view and perspective of the cloud forest with a zip-lining tour full of adrenaline and amazing sceneries.
You will feel like a bird flying from one tree to another and see the lush and green vegetation below you where many incredible creatures hide from people’s eyes.
Sometimes the speed exceeds 50 km/h and the distance from the ground is more than 100 meters so prepare for an experience full of adrenaline and wonderful views from the top of the trees.
This national park has the longest trails, the most beautiful suspension bridges, and zip lines full of adrenaline from all over the country.
You don’t need to be an athlete or have a good physical condition in order to try the zip lining experience.
All you have to do is to stay calm, lay down, and enjoy the ride as you fly above the trees and enjoy the amazing scenery from below.
7. Visit Santa Elena National Park
Santa Elena Cloud Forest offers a more intimate experience than Monteverde Cloud Forest, as it is less crowded and less popular than Monteverde.
The cloud forest is located at 1.600 meters above sea level and is constantly covered by clouds and has a high humidity level.
So, no wonder why these cloud forests are the perfect habitat for a large number of plants, trees, animals, and birds.
Among the animals that can be seen in the national park, I would like to name the elusive jaguar, the beautiful spider monkeys, and the lazy sloths as well as a large number of birds, insects, and frogs.
Inside Santa Elena protected area lives more than 520 species of birds including the beautiful toucanet, the odd three-wattled bellbird, and the magnificent resplendent quetzal.
You can follow the park trails and hike to beautiful waterfalls and amazing viewpoints, or book a zip lining tour with the longest line having about 780 meters.
For a beautiful view over the forest take a walk on a hanging bridge to see the canopy from above or take a horseback riding tour to get deeper into the forest.
8. Try bungee jumping
In Monteverde is located the highest bungee jumping platform from the whole country and even from Central America pumping a lot of adrenaline in your veins.
The platform has 143 meters high so prepare for a huge dose of adrenaline and a one-of-a-kind experience.
The experience starts with the special cart that transports you to the platform; it is a basket suspended on a cable and continues with the moment when you stay on top of the platform waiting for the moment to jump.
Your blood is rushing into your veins and for a few moments, you are not sure that you still want to jump.
But in the end, when you jump and feel the wind into your hair and your body is full of adrenaline, you shortly realize that you want to jump again and again.
The price for a bungee jumping experience starts from 80 USD per person and is recommended only to the person above 18 years old and have a total weight between 50 to 113 kilos.
9. Walk the hanging bridges
One of the most interesting and relaxing things to do in Costa Rica Monteverde is a walk on the hanging bridges from the protected area.
It is a great opportunity to see the forest from above without paying a lot of effort or exposing yourself to any risk as the bridges are safe and secure.
You will make your way to the Costa Rican canopy passing from one bridge to another, from one trail to another up to the top of the trees.
The most common tours on the hanging bridges last for about 2 hours and there are six bridges with a total length of almost 1 kilometer.
The trails are very well maintained and the hanging bridges are safe and secure, while the English-speaking guide tells you a lot of new and useful information about local flora and fauna, including the bat jungle and the jaguar.
There are three tours each day, starting from 7.30 a.m., 9.30 a.m., and 11.30 a.m., and the maximum number of a group is 10 persons.
As there is a maximum number of people allowed to be on the bridge at the same time, we strongly recommend you book everything in advance especially during the dry season when tourists are everywhere.
10. Visit the Frog Pont
What to do in Monte Verde Cloud Forest Reserve if not visiting the Frog Pont, an educational tour that gives you the unique opportunity to spot 26 species of frogs, most endemic for Costa Rica.
You will learn everything about these tiny and gentle creatures: their behavior, habitat, reproduction, and diet and which are the factors or animals that cause their extinction.
The best time for going on this tour is during the evening when the frogs are more active and you have higher chances to see them in their natural environment.
You will see poison arrow frogs, cane toads, marine toads, crowned frogs, leopard frogs, and the world-famous red-eyed tree frog.
The ticket costs around 12 USD for adults and 10 USD for students and the Frog Pont is open every day from 9 in the morning till 8.30 in the evening and is the perfect destination for a day trip.
Sleeping around Monteverde
Monteverde Cloud Forest, a hidden paradise for a large number of birds, animals, and plants, and one of the most beautiful butterfly gardens from the whole of Costa Rica should be on your travel list.
The area is extremely popular among tourists so there are plenty of facilities for them: hotels, restaurants, and bars where you can sleep, eat and drink after a long day in the middle of nature.
Among the best accommodation options from the whole area I would like to mention:
- Monteverde Lodge And Gardens Costa Rica, located in the middle of the forest, just 15 minutes drive from Monteverde cloud forest reserve that features spacious rooms with an amazing view and one of the best restaurants in the area
El Establo Mountain Hotel Costa Rica a beautiful resort overlooking Monteverde Cloud Forest with clean and spacious rooms, a fancy spa with many treatments, massages, and wraps as well as a tennis court, a basketball court, and a tasty restaurant.
These are the most interesting things to do in Costa Rica Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserves, one of the country’s most visit attractions.
Guided tours to Monteverde Cloud Forest are a great way to discover this amazing area and to find new things about the local fauna and flora.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.