Monteverde, Costa Rica – A Magical Place Where The Clouds Meet The Mountains
Monteverde, Costa Rica: Where the clouds meet the mountains!
Monteverde is a small and charming town in Costa Rica considered one of the seven wonders in the country. In this post, I will explain what makes Monteverde so famous and unique. I will also explain why Monteverde is called the cloud forest and why this place should be on your bucket list if you plan to visit Costa Rica. I will go on to give you recommendations on things to do, as well as links to additional resources that will help you plan an extraordinary experience in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Let’s dive in:
Why is Monteverde famous in Costa Rica?
Monteverde is famous because this place is home to Costa Rica’s most renowned destination for cloud forests; the Monteverde cloud forest, a spectacular forest surrounded by beautiful nature and incredible wildlife. There are six cloud forest areas in Costa Rica, and Monteverde is the largest of all, which is why Monteverde is also known as “the cloud forest.”
Visitors use the terms “Monteverde,” “Cloud Forest,” and “Cloud Forest Reserve” interchangeably, which can be confusing at times because locals make a clear distinction between these three terms.
Locals use the “Monteverde” term to reference the town of Monteverde. They use the term “cloud forest” to reference the forest that surrounds the village. And then, use “Monteverde Reserve” to reference the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve, a portion of the cloud forest found in Monteverde but not the entire cloud forest located in the area.
Visit the article Why is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve famous in Costa Rica? for more information on that specific topic. In this post, I will refer to Monteverde as in the town of Monteverde.
Because of the Monteverde cloud forest, Monteverde has been one of the most visited destinations by local and foreign tourists in the last 30 years, receiving up to 1,000 tourists per day in the summer season, which is impressive considering that the current population of inhabitants is less than 4,200 people.
The cloud forest in Monteverde combines a series of parks and conservation areas, including the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve, the Curi-Cancha Reserve, Sky Adventures Monteverde, and Selvatura Park.
This combination of parks and conservation areas is what primarily makes Monteverde worth visiting, so keep scrolling for a brief description of these parks as well as links to see the services they offer.
Monteverde Reserve: World’s most famous cloud forest site
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve, or the “Monteverde Reserve,” as locals call it, is the major attraction in the area. The Monteverde reserve protects around 4,125 hectares (10,193 acres), and it offers its visitors more than 13 kilometers (8 miles) of well-marked hiking trails, a Cloud Forest Tour, and a Monteverde Night Tour.
Curi-Cancha Nature Preserve: Amazing hiking trails
Curi-Cancha Reserve or “Curi,” as locals call it, is located next to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Curi-Cancha protects 83 hectares (205 acres), and it offers its visitors 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) of hiking trails and a Birdwatching Tour.
Sky Adventures: Cloud forest tram, zip lines, and bridges
Sky Adventures Monteverde or “Sky,” as locals call it, is an adventure park in Monteverde that features an aerial tram they call Sky Tram, a combination of hanging bridges and hiking trails they call Sky Walk, and a fast and safe zip lining tour they call Sky Trek.
Selvatura Park: Animal exhibits, zip lines, and more!
Selvatura Park, or “Selvatura,” as locals call it, is the most popular adventure park in the purest region of the Monteverde cloud forest, where the rainfall is often persistent, and condensation in the atmosphere makes the scenery look mystical. Selvatura offers a ziplining tour they call the Selvatura Canopy Tour, a combination of hanging bridges and 2.5 kilometers of hiking trails they call the Canopy Walkways, a sloth sanctuary, a reptile museum, and a butterfly garden.
There are other parks and attractions located in the outskirts of Monteverde, which are not in the cloud forest, but they complement the services provided in the area.
100% Aventura: Super fun zipline course and adventure bridges
100% Aventura Park, or “Aventura,” as locals call it, is a popular adventure park around 20 minutes away from Monteverde. Aventura is in a tropical rainforest area, where the scenery is very different from the cloud forest. The forest here is less dense, there is also less rain, and the weather is warmer, which is an environment that is more attractive for animals which is why this site is better for spotting wildlife. Aventura offers a guided tour with a local tour guide on the 100% Aventura Hanging Bridges and an exciting zip lining course on an activity they call the Aventura Canopy Tour.
Monteverde Extremo: Costa Rica’s most extreme adventure park
Monteverde Extremo, or “Extremo,” as locals call it, is the most extreme adventure park in Costa Rica, located 30 minutes away from Monteverde. Extremo is in a tropical rainforest area, where the landscape is very uneven. The park used the irregular terrain to their advantage by creating an exhilarating and extreme ziplining course that they call the Extremo Canopy Tour. Extremo also offers the longest bungee jump in Costa Rica called Extremo Bungee and a giant swing they call Extremo Mega Tarzan Swing.
Aside from nature and adventure parks, Monteverde offers other attractions such as night tours, coffee tours, and horseback riding tours hosted on small farms situated in the village’s surroundings.
Night Tours in Monteverde: Exploring the cloud forest at night
Night Walk Tours or “Night Tours” are guided nature walks in small parks and farms throughout Monteverde, usually taking 1.5 to 2 hours. At Monteverde, 80% of the species are nocturnal, so they come out at night, not during the day, and this is why night tours are so popular in the area. Local tour guides who work at these parks and farms will take you on a small group through their site with flashlights searching for nocturnal animals.
With a local tour guide and a flashlight, exploring the forest at night can be an exciting experience. You will learn a lot about local flora and fauna, and you will experience what it’s like to be in the forest at night.
Visit the article best night tours in Monteverde for more information on this topic.
Coffee Tours in Monteverde: Specialty coffee production process
Coffee Tours are guided walks in small coffee-producing farms throughout Monteverde, usually between 2 and 2.5 hours. Monteverde is one of the top specialty coffee producers in Costa Rica. Local tour guides who work at these farms will take you on a small group through their site, showcasing the process from start to finish, or as locals call it, from seed to cup.
Going through farms and coffee-processing rooms with a local tour guide can be extremely interesting, especially if you love coffee and appreciate specialty coffee tasting. You will learn a lot about local culture and how these local families farm, harvest, process, and roast coffee. Most of these farms also produce sugar, chocolate, or both, and they will show you those processes in addition to the Monteverde coffee tour experience.
Visit the article best coffee tours in Monteverde for more information on this topic.
Horseback Riding Tours in Monteverde
Horseback Riding Tours are guided horseback rides in small farms throughout Monteverde, usually taking 2 to 2.5 hours. Monteverde outskirt landscapes are magically beautiful, with panoramic views overlooking the ocean, volcanoes, hills, and more. Local estimates indicate that around 80% of the Monteverde outskirt region has an economy based mainly on agriculture (e.g., coffee, dairy products, vegetables, and meat animals). Some of these agricultural farms also offer horseback riding experiences that cater to the travel and tourism industry.
With a local tour guide and a horse, exploring the outskirts of Monteverde can be a surprisingly incomparable experience. You will learn about local agriculture, and you will relax on a seemingly therapeutic ride, but above all, you will be astonished by the impressive views.
Visit the article best horseback riding tours in Monteverde for more information on this topic.
Now that you know why you should visit Monteverde, Costa Rica, let’s explore where Monteverde is and how to get there.
Where is Monteverde, Costa Rica?
Monteverde is located in the northwest of Costa Rica, on the Tilaran mountain range, at about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) above sea level and in the middle of the dividing line of the American continent. Monteverde is about a 2.5-hour drive from the Juan Santamaria airport (SJO) in Alajuela, a 3-hour drive from Arenal, and about 3 hours from the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia Guanacaste.
How to Get to Monteverde, Costa Rica
As a general rule, the easiest way to get to Monteverde is on a shuttle. There are group shuttles and private shuttles to get to Monteverde. The prices for group shuttles, referred to by locals as “shared shuttles,” where you travel with fellow travelers and share the cost, can range between $49 around $89 per person to get to Monteverde from pretty much all touristy destinations in Costa Rica. Group shuttles work on fixed schedules, usually departing their locations at 8 am and 2 pm and reaching Monteverde at around noon or 6 pm.
Private shuttles, where you travel with only your family and the driver, have a higher fee, but you enjoy more privacy and flexibility. For example, you can choose from a range of schedules to depart your destination en route to Monteverde, and you also have more flexibility to stop along the road for pictures, eating, and bathroom breaks. Private shuttles to Monteverde can range between $160 and $250 for 1 to 4 passengers.
The prices will depend upon your departure location, as well as departing times.
Use the following links to book a group shuttle or a private shuttle to get to Monteverde:
Shuttles from Liberia to Monteverde
Shuttles from Tamarindo to Monteverde
Shuttles from SJO Airport to Monteverde
Before you go, let me share some of the most frequently asked questions about Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Is Monteverde a Safe Place to Visit in Costa Rica?
Monteverde is regarded as one of the safest towns in all of Costa Rica, and I can attest to this from my own personal experience. Before living in Monteverde, I lived in 7 other towns, including three neighborhoods in San Jose, and Monteverde is hands-down the safest place I’ve ever lived in.
I can’t remember the number of times I forgot to lock the doors in my house, and I went in town to run errands, and no one broke in. I have also lost count on the number of times I forgot my car keys inside my car overnight, and the car was there the next morning.
People walk alone at night every night, and there have not been security issues with this ever since I moved in, and the local government is working along with the community to make Monteverde the safest town in the world. You will probably notice random checks on the road, both from the local police and the tourism police.
Small things like this make a big difference to make you feel safe when traveling to Monteverde.
Are There Free Activities in Monteverde?
There are a few things to do for free in Monteverde, such as lookouts and local hikes. Visit the article What is there to do in Monteverde for free? for more information on this topic.
Where are the Best Zip Lines in Monteverde?
Five adventure parks offer zip lines in Monteverde, Costa Rica. They include Sky Adventures, Selvatura Park, 100% Aventura Park, Monteverde Extremo, and the Original Canopy Tour. Understanding what each one of them offers will help you decide which one is best for you. Visit the article Best Ziplines in Monteverde for a full comparison to help you make that decision.
Where are the Best Hanging Bridges in Monteverde?
There are four sites with hanging bridges in Monteverde, Costa Rica. They include Sky Adventures, Selvatura Park, 100% Aventura Park and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Understanding what each one of them offers will help you decide which one is best for you. Visit the article Best Hanging Bridges in Monteverde for a full comparison to help you make that decision.
What Should I Bring to Monteverde?
There are a few items you should bring to Monteverde, such as warm clothing and insect repelling. Visit the article 10 Things You Must Bring to Monteverde for more information on this topic.
We have reached the end of the article, and I hope this information will help you decide to come to visit our beautiful area. Monteverde is an amazing place to live, but if you cannot afford to do this, then you should at least try to put it on your bucket list of places to visit.
What Questions Do You Have About Monteverde?
Feel free to reach out, and we will happily help you answer those questions quickly and efficiently.
I am the founder of Monteverde Tours Online. 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!