Where are the Hanging Bridges in Monteverde?
If you are like me, you love nature and you enjoy hiking in the forest… And the idea of walking on hanging bridges above the canopy of the trees might have been the reason that inspired you to visit Monteverde in the first place. You might already be here in Monteverde or perhaps you’re just doing some research in anticipation to your trip to Costa Rica and you’re wondering where you should go see these famous suspension bridges in Monteverde…
If that’s your case, stay with me and on this post I will help you understand the differences between the 3 adventure parks that offer this experience in the area, so you can decide which one suits you best.
This information will hopefully save you a lot of time in research, browsing multiple websites and reading countless (and sometimes mixed) customer reviews, so let’s dive in:
- What is a Hanging Bridges Tour in Monteverde?
- Which Parks offer Hanging Bridges Tours in Monteverde?
- How to Book your Hanging Bridges Tour in Monteverde?
What is a Hanging Bridges Tour in Monteverde?
Monteverde Costa Rica beckons with a blend of beautiful scenery, cool weather, fun adventure activities and more. Over the years, tourism infrastructure has grown and improved to make Monteverde a unique, world class destination but the heart and soul of this exciting destination, the main attraction, has always been tropical biodiversity. The majestic protected cloud forests of Monteverde and the incredible assortment of life found therein have put this site on the map and bucket list of world travelers, and although there is more than one way to experience the immense trees and lush green habitats of Monteverde, a hanging bridges tour (also referred to as Canopy Walkways, Suspension Bridges, Suspended Bridges, Skywalk, or Treetop Canopy Walks) is one of the most exciting and innovative means of connecting with these beautiful, verdant forests.
Hanging bridges provide access to the upper levels of the forest by way of suspended bridges. They range anywhere from a mere thirty feet above the ground to more than 200 feet above the forest floor. The perspective they afford into the least explored yet most diverse level of the tropical forest is simply unique.
The 3 Parks with Hanging Bridges
There are three parks that offer the hanging bridges experience in the Monteverde area and since they offer somewhat similar experiences for similar prices, it can be hard to decide which nature one is best for this attraction. All offer good opportunities for birding and wildlife observation in mature tropical forest (Resplendent Quetzal can be seen at each site) but they still differ in certain ways which I will address to hopefully help you decide which hanging bridges park is best suited to your needs and abilities.
Hanging Bridges Tour by 100% Aventura Park
I will start with the least popular option. It´s not that is not nice, it´s just that the location is not as great as the other two parks. 100% Aventura Park is great for ziplining, but not so great for hanging bridges because the forest is a combination of secondary and primary rainforest, whereas Sky Adventures and Selvatura Park are both nestled in primary cloud forest.
Found on one of the routes from Santa Elena that leads to the town of Tilaran, the Aventura Adventure Park is a better choice for folks who are more physically fit and enjoy hiking on classic forest trails. This doesn’t mean that the trails at Aventura are too rustic or difficult, just that they aren’t as wide or easy as other options in Monteverde. Since this canopy walkway trail can be combined with ATV rides and Ziplines, it’s a popular choice for families in search of more adventure.
Aventura has a total of 8 bridges on a trail of 3 km (1.9 miles), but the bridges are rather narrow, the forest is not as dense and the views are not the best. However, because they are located in lower and younger type of forest where there is more potential for spotting wildlife in the Aventura Park than there is at Selvatura Park or Sky Adventures. Aventura typically refers to this attraction as “Hanging Bridges”.
And this is the reason why at Aventura, with the entrance fee, you also get a tour with a well-equipped naturalist guide at no additional cost which is nice considering that hiring a tour guide at Selvatura Park or Sky Adventures will come with an extra fee per person.
Aventura also gives you the opportunity to climb inside of a strangler fig tree to one of the bridges, which is really cool and you do not get this experience in the other two parks.
All in all, Aventura gives you a nice experience but I feel that it is not the cloud experience tourists come to Monteverde for. It is nice to have a guide who can spot some wildlife and who will share lots of interesting information, but I would prefer to choose another location like the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or Curi-Cancha Reserve if you are looking for a guided tour (even if it comes at a higher price point) and I would only recommend it to those who prefer to sacrifice scenery for a guided hanging bridges tour with potential to see wildlife.
Skywalk by Sky Adventures Monteverde
Pioneers in the business of hanging bridges and adventure tourism, the Sky Adventures Monteverde Park has been connecting people with the cloud forest canopy since 1997. At Sky Adventures, this attraction is referred to as “Skywalk”.
The 2.5 kilometer (1.5 mile) trail is maintained but does have some ascents and descents and thus does require a certain degree of hiking ability. Based on the easy to moderate difficulty of the trail and other offerings within the park, Skywalk is a good choice for families. Folks who have some trouble getting around or walking might not be up for the walkway trail BUT they can take a very easy-going, scenic aerial tram tour instead.
- 6 bridges on a trail of 2.5 km (1.5 miles).
- Longest bridge is 236 meters (774 feet).
- One bridge is 70m (230ft) above the ground.
- Tour with naturalist guide, wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Can be combined with ziplining, aerial tram, and tree climbing.
- On site restaurant.
Treetop Canopy Walkways by Selvatura Park
Situated in beautiful cloud forest near the Santa Elena Reserve, this extensive park is a great choice for birding and wildlife and stands out by offering a variety of packages to fit every type of personal adventure.
At Selvatura Park, the hanging bridges are referred to as “Treetop Walkways Suspension Bridges”. The 8 bridges are wider than the other two canopy walkway options in this article and very easy to manage. There are also a few benches on the well maintained, fairly easy trail, and the Selvatura Hanging Bridges can also be done with a guide or on your own. These and other factors make this a good choice for older folks and people who might not want to walk as much.
- 8 bridges on a trail of 3 km (1.9 miles)
- Longest bridge is 170 meters (560 feet).
- Self-guided Tour or with Naturalist Guide for more wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Can be combined with ziplining, hummingbird garden, butterfly garden and other animal exhibits.
- On site restaurant.
As you noticed, there isn’t a definitive answer to the question “which hanging bridges are the best in Monteverde?”… A better question would be “which ziplines suit me best?” and the answer will depend on the kind of experience are you looking for…?
- Most Adventurous? 100% Aventura Park (you have to be relatively fit)
- Has the Most Wildlife? 100% Aventura Park (includes a tour guide)
- Has the Longest Bridge? Sky Adventures (Bridge number 5: 236m)
- Longest Bridge Distance Across All Bridges? Selvatura Park (776m total)
- Best Scenery? Selvatura Park (The only one with 100% primary forest)
Which one resonates more with you?