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Best Night Tours in Monteverde

a group of people on a night tour in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Top 5 Best Night Tours in Monteverde

Several companies offer night tours in Monteverde, Costa Rica. If you search on the web for “best night tour in Monteverde,” you come across several ads from those night tour companies saying that their night tour is the best, but if they all say they are the best, then who is?

Since this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get, I dove deep into the topic and developed my study to help bring light to this question. I analyzed over 2,000 online customer reviews, came up with a list of the seven best night tours in the area and compiled my observations into this article. Let’s dive in: 

The following are the best night tours in Monteverde, Costa Rica: 

  • El Refugio Night Walk
  • Don Rodolfo Night Tour
  • Ficus Trails Night Walk
  • Monteverde Night Tour
  • Night Walk Santamaria
  • Kinkajou Night Walk

Keep scrolling for more information as I break down the pros and cons of each night tour company to determine which one is best for you: 

El Refugio Night Walk

the entrance at El Refugio Night Walk

Reception area at El Refugio Night Walk

El Refugio Night Walk takes place at a wildlife refuge located approximately 25 minutes away from Monteverde. This site has a privileged location in the middle of a biological corridor, which is great for seeing animals. 

Oil Bird spotted at El Refugio Night Walk

El Refugio is one of the few places to see the Oil Bird in Costa Rica.

You can spot up to five species of mammals, a couple of snakes, a few bird species, and a handful of insects at El Refugio Night Tour, which is why this place is the best night tour to see wildlife in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

I recommend El Refugio Night Tour to those looking to see the widest variety of animals in the area. Click Here to Book El Refugio Night Tour.

Night Tour Don Rodolfo

an owl perched on a tree branch

Owl at Night Tour Don Rodolfo.

Named after his original owner, Night Tour Don Rodolfo is situated about 10 minutes away from Santa Elena on a retreated conservation area called Don Rodolfo. This place, considered a hidden gem, is the least touristy destination for a night tour in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Don Rodolfo’s Night Tour is a small family business that focuses on just one schedule, every day from 6 pm to 8 pm, and only with groups of no more than six people. The family is passionate about their forest and is as knowledgeable as possible about the wildlife there. The trails are flat, easy to manage, safe, and clean.

I recommend Night Tour Don Rodolfo to families looking for a less touristy, more intimate night tour experience. Click Here to Book Don Rodolfo’s Night Tour.

Ficus Trails Night Walk

a Toucan at Ficus Trails Night Tour

A Toucan at Ficus Trails Night Tour.

Ficus Trails Night Tour takes place at a small private reserve, Ficus Trails, about 5 minutes from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Ficus Trails Night Tour is the only night tour that focuses primarily on birdwatching. This site, situated in a young transitional forest between the old cloud forest and the new forest (secondary forest such as farms and developed areas), is ideal for birds to find shelter before ending their day.

You can spot up to twenty species of sleeping birds at Ficus Trails Night Tour, which is why this site is considered the best night tour for birding in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

I recommend Ficus Trails Night Tour to birders who want to see the area’s widest variety of sleeping birds. Click Here to Book Ficus Trails Night Tour.

Monteverde Night Tour

a tarantula spotted at Monteverde Night Tour

A Tarantula at Monteverde Night Tour.

Monteverde Night Tour takes place next to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. The Monteverde Night Tour is the only night tour that takes place in a cloud forest site. This site is an excellent place to experience the cloud forest at night, but it’s not the best to see wildlife.

Animals prefer to live at lower altitudes and warmer forests to find food and shelter more quickly before ending their day. However, the most authentic cloud forest experience is here as the forest is virgin with 100% endemic trees and plants. Therefore, the Monteverde Night Tour can be a good option if you want to learn more about plants and trees rather than seeing animals. 

I recommend the Monteverde Night Tour for those more interested in flora than fauna.

Click Here to Book Monteverde Night Tour.

Night Walk Santamaria

a close up of a snake

A Viper at Night Walk Santamaria

Santamaria Night Walk takes place on a farm around 20 minutes from Monteverde. Santamaria is an excellent location for spotting reptiles and amphibians because a small creek goes through the property.

a close up of the parking lot at Night Walk Santamaria, fully packed

Night Walk Santamaria has a large parking lot.

Santamaria is one of Monteverde’s most commercial night tours, catering to large groups. The parking lot at Santamaria is large, which makes it a top destination for tourism buses. Local guides report that Santamaria can host up to 100 visitors per night. 

If you’re looking for a place to visit with your partner or family, you might prefer one of the other night tours mentioned above, as this place tends to be pretty busy, and groups tend to be up to twelve tourists per tour guide.

However, if you’re taking a big group to Monteverde, Santamaria will be your best option, as the other night tours mentioned above don’t have enough room in their trails and parking lot to host big groups.

I recommend Santamaria’s Nigth Walk for tourist groups of 15 to 50 people.

Click Here to Book Santamaria’s Night Walk.

Kinkajou Night Walk 

a cat sitting on top of a green plant

A Kinkajou spotted at Kinkajou Night Walk

Kinkajou Night Walk takes place on a small farm situated 25 minutes away from Monteverde. As locals call it, Kinkajou is Monteverde’s most commercial option for night tours. 

Even though Kinkajou is a couple of kilometers away from Santamaria, they share the same creek and the same type of forest, a combination of secondary forest and fruit trees, so you will usually see the same kind of animals on both sites.

Kinkajou Night Walk has a reputation for dealing with massive groups, revealed by many customers via online reviews. Tour groups can get as big as 15 people per tour guide, especially during the high tourism season (December through April). There are also plenty of reports from tourists and local tour guides claiming that they feed animals and that the experience is not very authentic.

For those reasons, I generally don’t recommend Kinkajou Night Walk unless all of the above night tours are full, as Kinkajou always seems to have availability.

Click Here to Book Kinkajou Night Walk.

Monteverde Night Tour’s Customer Experience Comparison Charts

The following is a quick quality comparison arranged in descending order according to customer ratings from Google and TripAdvisor as of May 2022. Below the charts, you will find the key takeaways based on this study:

 

Reviews on Google
Night Tour Score Reviews
El Refugio 4.7 385
Rodolfo 4.5 19
Santamaria 4.3 279
Kinkajou 4.1 437
Monteverde 4.0 64
Ficus Trails 3.9 40

 

Reviews on TripAdvisor
Night Tour Score Reviews
Ficus Trails 4.57 97
Rodolfo 4.33 6
Monteverde 3.97 266
Santamaria 3.97 197
Kinkajou 3.92 435
El Refugio 2.86 7

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of which night is best for you in Monteverde, Costa Rica, so as a final step, let’s take a look at pricing: 

Monteverde Night Tour’s Price Comparison

The following is a quick pre-tax price comparison arranged according to price. This price list contains the rates for adults, but you can click on the links to see the prices for kids and residents, usually lower than the regular rates shown in this table.

As a general rule, kids below five years old often don’t need to pay for night tours as long as two adults accompany them, and kids between the ages of 5 and 11 spend a fraction of the price, usually between 50% and 75% of the adult’s rates. Costa Rica’s residents also get a discount.

Discounted rates for kids and residents usually change depending on availability. Transportation also varies depending on availability; sometimes, the night tours include it with the rates. So I will not include discounts and transportation fees on this table, but you can follow the links to get the most updated information for each night tour.

The links on the table will take you to the landing pages, where you can also check real-time availability, so you can book and get instant confirmation:

 

Night Tour Rates
El Refugio $35
Don Rodolfo $33
Ficus Trails $33
Monteverde $32
Kinkajou $28
Santamaria $25

Key Takeaways

Small Groups: Customers prefer small groups. El Bosque Night Tour and Night Tour Don Rodolfo have one thing in common; they only handle small groups of eight people or less, which drives customer satisfaction. On the other hand, Night Walk Santamaria and Kinkajou Night Walk run groups of eight to fifteen people, which causes customer dissatisfaction.

On a night tour with a small group, you see more and learn more. On the other hand, on a night tour with a large party, the people at the back of the group might not hear the tour guide, and sometimes they do not see the animals that people in the front get to see. More than 30 customers reported this issue, left their tours incredibly disappointed, and rated their experience with a one-star. 

Expectations: It’s essential to have realistic expectations. More than half of the low customer ratings were due to customers being disappointed with the number of animals they saw during their tour. They had false expectations that they were going to see more animals. It’s important to remember that night tours are in the wilderness, not zoos, so animals are not always easy to see.

On a typical night tour, people should expect to see between one and four mammals, such as monkeys and raccoons, a few sleeping birds, a snake or a frog, and several rare insects.

Location: Location is critical. Depending on the night tour’s site, you will see more or fewer animals. Monteverde has more than five types of forests and climate zones, and different animals prefer different regions.

As a general rule, animals prefer a combination of young and new forests, with a mix of endemic and fruit trees. Endemic trees provide shelter, while fruit trees provide food. Animals also prefer lower altitudes because the weather is warmer, so they need less energy to keep their bodies warm. Find a place that integrates endemic trees with fruit trees at low elevations and will most likely be a wildlife paradise.

All night tours featured in this post have at least one of these three key elements, but El Refugio Night Tour has them all. El Refugio has a wide variety of endemic and fruit trees, and it’s at a relatively low elevation compared to the rest of the night tour sites in the area, which is why they have the most significant number of positive customer reviews regarding animals found on their night tour. 

Here’s the end of this article. Thank you for reading this far, and feel free to share this info with fellow travelers as you deem appropriate. Happy travels and ¡Pura Vida, amigos!

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About the Author

Daniel Lalinde holding a mountain bikeDaniel Lalinde

I am the founder of Monteverde Tours Online. I live in Monteverde and love nature, adventure, and Mountain Biking. My partner and I love spending time outdoors and dining out in Monteverde. We have more than 30 years of combined experience in the area, and there is no park, coffee shop, or restaurant we haven’t tried at least once!

We love helping visitors and connecting them with the different tours and activities to have a memorable experience in Monteverde.

If you need help planning things to do in the area, send us a message, and we will happily assist you!