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How many days do you need in Monteverde?

a comparison between the hanging bridges and the zip lining tours in Monteverde

How many days do you need in Monteverde?

Over the last few years, dozens of people have contacted me for advice on how many days they should stay in Monteverde. While there is no definitive answer to this question, I recently did a study with Hotel El Bosque to answer this question by using data from travelers who stayed in Monteverde between January and August of 2021. In this post, I will share with you the results of this study, along with my thoughts on the topic to hopefully help you decide how many days you should stay in Monteverde, so let’s dive in: 

On average, visitors need at least two days in Monteverde to get a good grasp of what the area has to offer. The average visitor stays for a total of 1.8 nights and checks in at their hotel before 2 pm, which allows them to enjoy between two and three days exploring the area and taking part in the different tours and activities that Monteverde offers. 

If you are also planning to visit for two or three days in Monteverde, but you are not sure what you can do during this time, keep scrolling, and I will provide you with a couple of recommendations. I will give you specific advice on fully utilizing this time and get the most out of your short visit to Monteverde. 

What is there to do in Monteverde in 2 days?

As a general rule, you can do between one and two activities on the day of your arrival to Monteverde and then one or two more activities on the day you leave.

However, this will depend on your arrival and departure times. So we are going to break up this question into two possible scenarios. The first scenario assumes that you arrive at Monteverde at around noon on day 1, stay for a night, and then leave the next day at noon, which is typically the case if you are coming from Arenal and Monteverde is just a one-night stop on your trip to the Pacific coast. The second scenario assumes that you arrive at Monteverde in the evening on day 1, stay for two nights, and then depart early on day 3, representing the most typical case of travelers who visit Monteverde. Approximately 80% of our customers visit Monteverde under these two scenarios. 

Scenario A: One night and two half-days in Monteverde

  • Arrive at Monteverde at noon on day 1;
  • Stay in Monteverde for one night;
  • Depart at noon on day 2. 

Arriving at noon allows you to do something in the afternoon, as well as during the night. You will probably be a little tired from the trip to Monteverde, which takes approximately 3 hours from Arenal, but you will be just as eager to go out and explore since you know you have a limited time to see the area. Understanding this context, I will give you the following recommendation on how you can spend these two half-days in Monteverde: 

Day 1: First, check-in at your hotel or AirB&B (you may not be able to use your room yet, but you can ask the owners if you can drop your bags, which according to Hotel El Bosque, is a common practice in the area), have a quick lunch and do the Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour from 1:30 pm to 4 pm.

Note: The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve parking lot is about 1 kilometer (o.6 miles) away from the entrance. After you park, a shuttle will take you from the parking lot to the reserve’s reception. Finding a parking slot, jumping on the shuttle, and finally getting to the reception to start the Cloud Forest Tour can take up to 20 minutes, so make sure you consider this in your planning. 

Next, after you finish the Cloud Forest Tour, visit the Monteverde Coffee Center for a hot beverage or a smoothy, along with some pastries. This stop at the Monteverde Coffee Center will keep you busy for about an hour, and it will help you recover so that you can join the Monteverde Night Tour from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Then, after the night tour, you will want to head to Santa Elena town to explore the local life and find a place to have dinner. There are plenty of restaurants, but they close between 9 pm and 10 pm, so you will want to be efficient in your decision-making.

Day 2: Wake up, have breakfast, and then you can choose to either go on a Zip Lining Tour, visit the Hanging Bridges or do a Chocolate and Coffee Tour. You can also combine ziplines with hanging bridges at 100% Aventura Park, Selvatura Park, or Sky Adventures Monteverde Park.

Note: You cannot do zip lines or hanging bridges in combination with a coffee tour because the timing and distance between these attractions make it very complicated, so at this point, you will have to decide what is more important to you.

Tip: Whether you choose to do a coffee tour, a zip lining tour, a hanging bridges walk, or a ziplines and bridges package, I would recommend that you check out from your hotel or AirB&B first and then head to the respective attraction. All of the parks above have a safe parking lot, so you should be okay with leaving your belongings inside your car. Just make sure not to let electronics or high-value items visible, which is a general rule everywhere you travel in Costa Rica. All these parks are en route to the Pacific Coast, so if you are heading there after Monteverde, it will be a lot more convenient for you to travel there with your belongings instead of leaving them at your lodge only to come back to pick them up. 

Scenario B: Two nights and one full day in Monteverde

  • Arrive at Monteverde late on day 1;
  • Stay in Monteverde for two nights;
  • Depart early morning on day 3. 

Day 1: If you stay two nights in Monteverde, you will likely arrive late on the first day, and you might have also had a long day traveling. If this is your case, you will probably be better off grabbing a light dinner, checking in at your lodge, and having a good night’s sleep. Otherwise, you might still be able to do the Monteverde Night Tour from 6 pm to 8 pm or from 8 pm to 10 pm before ending your day. 

Day 2: You will have the whole day to enjoy the best Monteverde has to offer, and there is a couple of ways you can do this. For example, during the morning, you can either go on a Zip Lining Tour, visit the Hanging Bridges, or both, and during the afternoon, you can do a Chocolate and Coffee Tour or a Horseback Riding Tour.

Tip: Hanging bridges are always a good idea, even during the rainy months from December through April, because you will be moving, keeping you warm. The Chocolate and Coffe Tour is another good option even when it rains because a significant part of the tour happens indoors in the factory and a smaller part is outside, on the plantation. You can also do ziplines in the rain, but bear in mind that some people will love the feeling of raindrops hitting their face while others will hate it. The same goes with horseback riding; some people will love the feeling of riding under the rain, while others will not appreciate it. This is why I am giving out all these recommendations to choose which ones resonate best with your personality. 

Whether you decide to go for the chocolate and coffee tour or horseback riding tour to fill in your afternoon on this day, both will finish at around 6 pm. So if you did not already do the Monteverde Night Tour on day one when you arrived, I highly recommend that you take some time to shower, grab something quick to eat, and then do the night tour at 8 pm. On the other hand, if you did do the night tour on your arrival day, then I recommend you head to Santa Elena to spend the evening exploring the local life and finding a good place to have dinner or drinks before ending your day.

Suppose neither the chocolate and coffee tour nor the horseback ride sounds like a good idea to spend the afternoon of your second day. In that case, I recommend that you visit Cafe Colibri, next to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, for a coffee, a smoothy, or pastries. They have a beautiful Hummingbird Garden that is well worth the drive.

Get Personalized Recommendations

I have shared the above recommendations with dozens of customers who have reached out for help planning how to spend a couple of days in Monteverde. The above plans have worked for approximately 80% of our customers, but if you would like to get a more personalized plan, feel free to reach out, and my team will happily assist you. 

Daniel Lalinde holding a mountain bikeDaniel Lalinde

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

We love helping visitors, 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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Featuring the most scenic and natural but hilly 3 km (1.8 mi) trail with eight incredible bridges offering fantastic cloud forest views above the canopy, Selvatura offers the best hanging bridges in Monteverde for nature lovers and well-conditioned avid hikers.