Top 3 Sites to Go For a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour
Tourists often wonder whether they should do a Monteverde Cloud Forest Forest Tour or if they can visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve on their own. And since this is one of the questions they frequently ask me, I decided to write down this article to explain why you may or may not need to go on a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour and the top sites to visit for this experience.
Disclaimer: I’m not too fond of ads on educational pages like this one because it ruins the reader experience. Therefore, I keep my website ad-free. However, I still need a way to make a living. Thus, this article contains affiliate links to book the tours and activities I recommend the most, from which I earn a small commission. After reading this post, if you decide to book an excursion, I would greatly appreciate it if you could use those links to book your experience through this website. It will add zero additional cost to you and will help me support my family ♥
With that out of the way, I’ll start by defining what I mean by a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour. Then, I’ll help you decide whether or not you should do a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour before I share the best sites to go for one. Let’s dive in.
What is a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour?
Do You Need a Tour Guide to Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest?
You mainly need a Tour Guide to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest if you want to see some wildlife, particularly if you’re going to take high-quality wildlife photographs with the help of a local expert. You will also need a tour if you are interested in learning about the Monteverde Cloud Forest ecosystem.
However, if you’re only interested in seeing the Monteverde Cloud Forest, you can opt for a self-guided tour, where you can go at your own pace. You may also want to go without a guide if you want to connect with nature to relax and recharge your batteries.
Another scenario where I would typically not recommend going on a guided Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour is when your family has small children, say below five years old, who are not too interested in nature. Even though most Monteverde Cloud Forest Tours will be free for little ones of those ages, I’ve noticed that unless they are exceptionally curious about nature, they will probably not enjoy going on a guided tour where the pace is relatively slow.
Besides, during a guided Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour, you must stop whenever your tour guide spots an animal or an attractive plant. And some younger kids don’t cope with this very well. They might get bored and anxious, impacting your experience and potentially the tour group’s experience. This was the case with my little one, Camila, when she was four years old, and we went for her first guided Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour. We ended up dropping the tour and going at our own pace, so I’m warning you.
Aside from these scenarios, going on a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour can be an exciting experience, which I highly recommend for those who love nature.
Top 3 Reasons to Go on a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour
- To see beautiful animals in their natural habitat.
- To take fantastic photographs of the local flora and fauna.
- To learn about the Monteverde Cloud Forest ecosystem.
To summarize, if you want to achieve any of the above three goals, then you know that a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour is for you. Otherwise, you can visit one of the below parks without a tour guide. You’ll still need to pay an entrance fee to visit those sites, but the price will be significantly lower. Keep reading for more details.
Now that you know whether a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour is for you, the next logical question is where to go for a tour, whether with a local guide or self-guided. And I recognize you might think that the answer is obvious, you want to go to Monteverde, but if you’re reading this post, you probably have never been to Monteverde. And you might not know that there are many places you can visit to experience the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Where to Go For a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour
You see, unlike what most tourists who’ve never been here think, there is not a one-all-be-all Monteverde park. On the contrary, Monteverde is a vast region surrounded by lots of pristine cloud forests, and there are several nature parks within that forest. Thus, you can explore many places during your visit here, but I will zero in on the options to make a choice easier for you.
Top 3 Sites to Go For a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour
- Monteverde Reserve: For those looking to hike for many hours.
- Selvatura Monteverde: For those looking for the best scenery.
- Skywalk Monteverde: For those looking for a balance between scenery and wildlife.
The top three best sites for a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour include the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve, known by the locals as the “Monteverde Reserve.” And even though that is the most popular site for a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour, Selvatura Park and Sky Aventures offer fantastic scenarios for this experience. Let’s discuss the main differences between these three nature parks, so you can determine where to go for a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour at Monteverde Reserve
- Price: $12-$25 without a guide or $37-$65 with a guide
- Duration: 2.5 Hours
- Pro: Many trails to explore after the tour
- Con: Only one small hanging bridge
The most popular location for a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour is the Monteverde Reserve, considered the best cloud forest site in the world by CNN in 2020. What makes this place incredibly unique is the wide variety of nature trails that it hosts.
Eight hiking trails at the Monteverde Reserve between 300 meters and 2 kilometers long (between 01. and 1.2 miles) make it incredibly versatile for a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour. That’s because tour guides often spread out across those trails and use radios to communicate with each other, alerting the group whenever they spot an animal.
The Monteverde Reserve Cloud Forest Tour has three schedules, starting at 7:30 am, 11:30 am, and 1:30 pm. It takes about 2.5 hours and costs $25 for kids and $40 for adults. However, this price does not include the entrance fee to the Monteverde Reserve, which is $12 for kids and $25 for adults. You first pay for the tour when you book it online, and then you buy the tickets in person the day you arrive at the Monteverde Reserve.
When you add the entrance and tour fees, the Monteverde Reserve Cloud Forest Tour becomes the most expensive site for this experience. However, after you finish the tour, you may continue to explore the rest of the trails you didn’t get to see during your guided excursion or revisit the places you liked the most.
I recommend the Monteverde Reserve Cloud Forest Tour to those with enough time to continue exploring the trails after the guided excursion finishes. And I suggest you book either the 7:30 am or the 11:30 am start times, as there is usually more wildlife active during those times.
Despite the high price tag, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour is arguably the most popular excursion in the area and is often in high demand. Thus, you need to book the tour ahead to secure your spots, but they have a flexible 24-hour cancelation policy if you need to cancel your trip. So, you can book your places knowing you will get your money back if you can’t make it.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour at Selvatura Park
- Price: $28-$39 without a guide or $43-$54 with a guide
- Duration: 2 Hours
- Pro: Best Scenery in Monteverde
- Con: Not much wildlife
The second most popular site for a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour is Selvatura Park Monteverde, which has a beautiful 2-kilometer trail (1.6 miles) with eight hanging bridges, which provide a unique vantage point to contemplate nature.
The Selvatura Cloud Forest Tour has four schedules, starting at 8:30 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 2:30 pm. It takes about 1.5 hours. If you’d like to do the walk without a guide, the entrance fee is free for infants (0-3 years old), $28 for kids (4-12), and $39 for adults. However, if you want to do the tour with a guide, an additional $15 per person applies to kids and adults.
Even though Selvatura’s trail is much smaller compared to the 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) of hiking trails available at the Monteverde Reserve, the addition of their hanging bridges gives you a more holistic view of the Monteverde Cloud Forest. You’ll see the forest through the trees and from above the canopy.
I recommend the Selvatura Cloud Forest Tour to those looking for the best scenery park in Monteverde. And I suggest you book the 8:30 am start time, as there are usually fewer visitors at this time, an important aspect to consider as Selvatura is generally extremely busy.
Selvatura Park does not accept visitors without a reservation, so you must buy the tickets ahead of time to secure your spots. However, they also have a flexible 24-hour cancelation policy.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour at Sky Adventures (i.e., Skywalk)
- Price: $24-$34 without a guide or $39-$49 with a guide
- Duration: 1.5 Hours
- Pro: Good balance between scenery and wildlife
- Con: Partially reforested (not as pristine)
The third most popular site for a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour is Skywalk at Sky Adventures Monteverde, which is relatively similar to Selvatura’s Cloud Forest Tour, combining a hiking trail with six hanging bridges.
The main difference between Skywalk’s Cloud Forest Tour and the previous two sites we reviewed is that the trail at Skywalk is flatter and more accessible. You can even use a baby stroller or a wheelchair.
However, the downside is that the forest at Skywalk is not as pristine as it is on Selvatura or the Monteverde Reserve as it combines virgin forest with secondary forest (i.e., a forest that is undergoing reforestation). Thus, it does not feel as natural as Selvatura or the Monteverde Reserve.
The Skywalk Cloud Forest Tour offers six schedules at 8:00 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm. It takes about 1.5 hours, and if you’d like to do the walk without a guide, the entrance fee is free for infants (0-3 years old), $24 for kids (4-12), and $34 for adults. However, if you want to do the tour with a guide, an additional $15 per person applies to kids and adults.
Even though Skywalk’s forest is not as pure as the forest found at Selvatura or the Monteverde Reserve, their combination of virgin and secondary forests usually facilitates spotting more animals compared to the other two parks.
I recommend the Skywalk Cloud Forest Tour for the best balance between scenery and wildlife for a lower price. And I recommended it for families with young kids (below 3) and those who need a flatter, more even terrain (such as people with challenging knees).
Sky Adventures does not accept visitors without a reservation, so you must buy the tickets ahead of time to secure your spots. However, they also have a flexible 24-hour cancelation policy.
Comparison of the Best Sites for a Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour
*Please note that the rating for wildlife is relatively subjective, based on my experience visiting each park and the experience of dozens of tourists I’ve helped plan their vacation.
If finding wildlife is your main objective, you may prefer a Monteverde Night Tour rather than a day tour. That’s because, in Monteverde, over 80% of the wildlife is more active at night than during the day. I would suggest you then read my article, The Top 7 Best Monteverde Night Tours, for more information on this topic and to help you find a night tour that best suits your needs.
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!
About the Author
I am the founder of Monteverde Tours. I live in Monteverde and love nature, adventure, and Mountain Biking. My partner and I love spending time outdoors and dining 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!