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How To Best Get Around in Monteverde Costa Rica

Getting Around Monteverde Costa Rica

Getting Around Monteverde Without a Car

You’ve arrived at this post because you already know Monteverde should be on your Costa Rica trip’s bucket list, but you don’t know whether or not you should rent a car to get around in Monteverde, right? Don’t worry. We got you. Many people have this question, which we will explore in depth in this post. 

When people wonder how to get around Monteverde, they primarily consider if they should rent a car or use a combination of public and private transportation to get around. While renting a car might be an easy way out, it can also be expensive and incredibly complicated if you’ve never ridden the narrow, dark, and beaten roads of Costa Rica. 

On the other hand, there are no car rentals in Monteverde, so unless you bring a rental car from another part of the country, you won’t find one here. However, there are other means to get around in Monteverde, and we’ll cover all those alternatives in this article to give you a good idea of how you can get around in Monteverde, Costa Rica, even if you don’t have a car. 

The Best Ways of Getting Around Monteverde Without a Car

The best ways of getting around Monteverde without a car include the following options; 

  1. Walking. 
  2. Taking Taxis. 
  3. Riding the Monteverde Public Bus. 
  4. Renting a Motorbike. 
  5. Using Tour Shuttles.

Let’s explore each of the above options by answering the top frequently asked questions we get about how to get around in Monteverde, beginning with the most common choice; walking. 

Is Monteverde Costa Rica Walkable? 

Walking Around Monteverde

Monteverde Costa Rica is walkable. Walking is the primary means of transportation used by locals who don’t own a vehicle. Most shops, restaurants, and hotels are within a 5-kilometer (3 miles) radius, making it easy to get from one place to another, especially if you have comfortable hiking shoes.

However, while it’s true that walking in Monteverde is relatively easy and safe, there are a few things you should consider. 

First, Monteverde is a hilly town with many reasonably steep climbs. For example, the distance from Monteverde’s downtown, Santa Elena, to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is only a 5-kilometer walk (3 miles). However, the elevation gain, or how much you climb, is nearly 300 meters (1,000 feet) with an average grade of 4.8%. 

Depending on your physical condition, this walk might be challenging. On the bright side, walking is a great way to be present at the moment and enjoy the beautiful scenery of this charming town. 

Map From Santa Elena to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Source: strava.com

The next aspect to consider if you’re planning to get around walking is that there are limited sideways in Monteverde. However, this is normal in Costa Rica, especially in small towns like Monteverde. Thus, this shouldn’t discourage you from getting around walking in Monteverde. 

Instead, embrace the idea that from specific points, you will need to walk on the side of the road, as opposed to in a formal walkway. Again, this is common in Costa Rica, and all locals do it all the time, so you should not worry about it. Local drivers and pedestrians have dealt with the lack of sidewalks forever, so it feels normal to walk on the road, as long as you are not in the middle of it. 

Nonetheless, the recommendation is always to be extra careful when walking on a road. And try to walk on the edge. Aside from these two considerations, you should be fine walking around Monteverde. 

Note: When visitors ask us whether Monteverde is walkable, sometimes they are not referring to Monteverde as in the town of Monteverde but as the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Many use the terms “Monteverde” and “Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve” interchangeably. Therefore, if you meant to ask if the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is walkable when you stumbled upon this article, the answer is also positive. 

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is walkable. There are more than 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) of unpaved nature trails in the Monteverde Reserve, and all are walkable year-round. Some may get muddy during the winter months between May and November, but they’re still walkable if you have the proper hiking boots for mud. 

Lastly, if you’re planning to get around Monteverde by walking, the final consideration is to find a place to stay within walkable distance of most shops and restaurants. While it’s true that most places to stay in downtown Monteverde (also known as Santa Elena) are appropriate for travelers without a vehicle, some are a bit too far. 

Looking for a place to stay in a convenient location for walking around Monteverde can be an overwhelming task. Many lodges feature a great location, but not necessarily for travelers without a car. Since we always get this question, we put together the following list of recommended places to stay in Monteverde when you don’t have a vehicle. 

The Best Places to Stay Within Walking Distance in Monteverde

By this point, you already know walking is a great alternative to get around in Monteverde, so let’s talk about the next option; using taxis. 

Are There Taxis in Monteverde Costa Rica? 

Monteverde Taxi Service

There are 23 taxi cars in Monteverde, Costa Rica. They work from 5 am to 10 pm and have four bases throughout Monteverde. You can catch them at one of these bases or call their office at +506-2645-7070. Alternatively, you can ask your hotel, lodge, or Airbnb host to call them for you. 

The main base is at Santa Elena downtown, in front of the catholic church. There are usually five to ten units in that area throughout the day. However, they tend to get very busy during the rainy season as most local pedestrians will call them to avoid walking in the rain. Luckily, most shops, restaurants, and lodges can call one for you, so you don’t have to worry if you can’t see one on the road. 

How Much Are Taxis in Monteverde? 

Taxis in Monteverde have fixed prices ranging between $5 and $20 per way. These rates depend on the route and how far it is from the point where you take the taxi. For example, a Taxi from Monteverde downtown, Santa Elena, to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is $12 for the 5-kilometer ride (3.1 miles). 

Unlike the Public Bus or Private Shuttles, Taxi’s rates are per trip, not per person. Therefore, in the above example, if you’re planning on going from Santa Elena to the Monteverde Reserve and there are four people in your party, each person would only pay $3 to make the $12 required for the trip. However, taxi drivers in Monteverde only take cash in the form of USD or Colones. They don’t take credit cards. 

Is there Uber in Monteverde? 

There is no Uber in Monteverde. In Costa Rica, Uber is usually only in the big cities like San Jose, Heredia, and Alajuela. Contrarily, rural towns like Monteverde lack the Uber service due to the low demand for ground transportation in these areas, making it economically unviable for Uber drivers.

However, as mentioned above, the taxi service in Monteverde is reliable and reasonably economical. Likewise, there is an even more economical means of transportation in Monteverde, which we will explore next. 

Riding The Public Bus From Santa Elena to Monteverde 

Monteverde Cloud Forest Bus

Monteverde’s public bus travels from Monteverde downtown, Santa Elena, up to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, stopping multiple times along the 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) route. 

The Monteverde public bus leaves Santa Elena daily at 6:15 am, 7:30 am, 9:30 am, 1:20 pm, and 3 pm. Likewise, it travels from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve back to Santa Elena at 6:40 am, 8:30 am, 11 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm. 

Even though the schedule is limited, taking the bus is the least expensive way to get around Monteverde aside from walking, at $1.2 per person. However, you can only pay for it in cash in USD or Colones. 

While the primary purpose of the bus is to bring people from Santa Elena to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, it also stops a few times along the route. Here’s a list of the stops the bus makes along with their Google Maps so you can quickly get to the closes one to you: 

Renting a Motorbike to Get Around in Monteverde 

Another option to get around in Monteverde is to rent a motorbike. However, you must be over 23 and have a valid driver’s license to get one. If you meet these criteria, you can rent a motorbike for $7 – $10 per hour.  

There is only one motorcycle rental in Monteverde downtown, Santa Elena, next to the catholic church. Most of the time, you can get one without a pre-reservation. However, they have become more popular over the last few years, especially during the summertime from December through April. 

Therefore, the recommendation is to try to make reservations in advance. The only problem with doing this is that the local shop doesn’t have a website, but you can send us a message, and we’ll organize this for you at no additional cost. 

Using Tour Shuttles to Get Around in Monteverde

The last option to get around Monteverde is to use the tour shuttles available to most parks and attractions. Most major touristy attractions have retreated from Monteverde’s downtown, Santa Elena. Instead, they are in private nature and adventure theme parks in Cloud Forest locations.

Those locations are way too far from walking distance. Likewise, their distant locations make them economically unviable to visit them using the local taxi cars. However, the vast majority of these parks have their transportation systems, which they sometimes include in their rates. Other times, they are extras and require you to pay a transportation fee. 

Nonetheless, nine times out of ten is much better to pay the transportation fee to reach these parks rather than pay for a taxi to get you there. For example, a tour shuttle from Monteverde’s downtown, Santa Elena, to El Tigre Waterfalls Monteverde is $5 per person. This rate covers both ways, meaning they would pick you up and bring you back for that price. 

In comparison, a taxi would charge you $20 each way. Therefore, if only two people are in your party, you’ll be better off paying for the tour shuttle than the taxi ride. In this case, you’d pay $10 for the tour shuttle instead of $40 to a taxi driver. 

However, the tour shuttles have limited schedules, whereas the taxis are mostly available throughout the day. Hence, the recommendation is to do some research ahead of your visit and to plan and book your activities in advance to save time, effort, and money on unexpected, last-minute expenses such as unnecessary taxi rides to theme parks. 

Here’s a list of the major attractions in Monteverde for you to see prices and availability and to book your tickets ahead of time. All activities indicate whether or not they include transportation with their entrance fees. 

Conclusion: Do You Need a Car in Monteverde? 

You don’t need a car in Monteverde. You can quickly get around by walking, taking taxis, using tour shuttles, riding the public bus, or renting a motorbike. Most shops, hotels, and restaurants in Monteverde downtown are within walking distance. And you can use the other options for longer trips.

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! 

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