8 Best Things to Do in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Are you looking for the best things to do in Monteverde, Costa Rica? Monteverde is a unique place in Costa Rica, so you can’t miss it on your Costa Rica Itinerary.
Monteverde is famous for its cloud forests, suspension bridges, diverse wildlife, and adventure activities.
Wondering what to do in Monteverde, Costa Rica?
Visit the beautiful cloud forests, hike to the waterfalls, go bird watching, take a coffee tour, join an exciting night tour, or go ziplining.
This ultimate guide to visiting Monteverde includes how to get there, where to stay, and the best things to do in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
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- 8 Best Things to Do in Monteverde, Costa Rica
- Where is Monteverde
- Best Time to Visit Monteverde, Costa Rica
- How to Get to Monteverde, Costa Rica
- How to Get Around Monteverde
- Is Monteverde Safe?
- Best things to do in Monteverde, Costa Rica
- 1. Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
- 2. Watch Hummingbirds at the Colibri Cafe
- 3. Join a Coffee Tour in Monteverde
- 4. Hike to El Tigre Waterfalls
- 5. Take a Night Tour in Monteverde
- 6. Go Ziplining
- 7. Climbing the Ficus Tree
- 8. Day Trip to Rio Celeste Waterfall
- Where to Eat in Monteverde, Costa Rica
- Where to Stay in Monteverde, Costa Rica
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Where is Monteverde
Monteverde is a small town in the province of Puntarenas, located in Costa Rica, about 3-3.5 hours from La Fortuna and San Jose.
Monteverde’s name means Green Mountain, which is the most popular ecotourism destination in Costa Rica.
Best Time to Visit Monteverde, Costa Rica
Monteverde is located at 1440 m above sea level, so the weather is much colder and wetter than in other parts of Costa Rica.
The best time to visit Monteverde is during the dry season, which runs from December to April when there is less rain.
It’s good to know that Monteverde is one of the wettest places in Costa Rica, so unexpected rains may occur during the dry months.
Read our → Ultimate Costa Rica Itinerary
If you want to enjoy outdoor activities, see lots of wildlife, and make the most of your trip to Costa Rica, visit Monteverde in the dry season.
The rainiest months in Monteverde are September and October.
So bring quick-drying and warmer clothes, long pants, socks, hiking shoes, a light raincoat, mosquito repellent, and sunscreen.
See also → La Fortuna Guide
How to Get to Monteverde, Costa Rica
Most people arrive in Monteverde from San Jose or La Fortuna. You can easily get to Monteverde by shared and private transfer, Jeep-Boat-Jeep tour, bus, or car.
There is no airport in Monteverde. The nearest airports are Liberia Airport (via Las Juntas Route 145) and San Jose Airport (via Sardinal Route 606), which are 3-3.5 hours away.
Use Skyscanner to get cheap flights to San Jose, Costa Rica.
We have a detailed post on how to get from San Jose to Monteverde with all the information you need.
San Jose to Monteverde by car
The easiest way to get from San Jose to Monteverde is by car. You can easily rent a car at San Jose International Airport.
You don’t need a 4×4, but a car with higher ground clearance is worth booking for your Costa Rica road trip! But if you plan to visit Costa Rica in the rainy season, especially the area around Monteverde, 4WD is recommended.
During our travels, we always use Discover Cars for car rentals. Because they always offer the best deals and provide free cancellation 48 hours before your reservation.
The drive from San Jose to Monteverde takes around 3-3.5 hours, depending on the traffic.
From San Jose to Monteverde, take Route 27, then Interamericana Highway 1, and continue on Route 606.
Recommended post → How to Renting a Car in Costa Rica
La Fortuna to Monteverde
The most comfortable way to travel between Arenal and Monteverde is to take the Van-Boat-Van transfer. Two daily transfers are available from La Fortuna to Monteverde at 8 AM and 2 PM.
Total travel time is 3.5-4 hours and 36 USD per person for one way.
Book Van-Boat-Van transfer HERE.
The cheapest way to get from La Fortuna to Monteverde is by bus, but the travel time is very long as there is no direct bus service.
We have a detailed post on how to get from La Fortuna to Monteverde with all the information you need.
How to Get Around Monteverde
The small town of Santa Elena is easy to explore on foot. However, getting around Monteverde without a car is difficult, so we recommend renting a car.
The best way to explore Monteverde, Costa Rica, is by car. Some roads in Monteverde are unpaved and bumpy!
If you don’t have a car, you can book tours with transportation, catch a taxi, or take a public bus to get to the nearby attractions.
Is Monteverde Safe?
Monteverde is generally safe. But during the rainy months or after heavy rainfall, the roads can be muddy and slippery, so drive carefully.
Take care of your valuables, always lock your car, and keep your belongings in the car boot or your hotel room when parking.
Don’t forget to buy travel insurance! We always choose SafetyWing for our travels.
Best things to do in Monteverde, Costa Rica
1. Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
Visiting the cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica, is one of the most popular things to do.
You can visit the cloud forests on a self-guided tour or join a guided tour to learn more about the cloud forests and see the wildlife.
Did you know that only 1% of all forests in the world are classified as cloud forests?
Keep reading → Places to Visit in Costa Rica
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was established in 1972 to protect this area. The cloud forest is home to diverse wildlife, and you can easily visit it from Santa Elena by car, bus, taxi, or shuttle.
There are six main trails in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, with a total distance of 13 km.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve entrance fee is 25 USD for adults and 12 USD for children.
Book your Monteverde Cloud Forest tour HERE.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest is open daily from 7 AM to 4 PM.
Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
The Monteverde cloud forests are one of the best places for birdwatching in Costa Rica. But we recommend also visiting the Curi Cancha Reserve.
Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is open daily from 7 AM to 4 PM and the self-guided tour is 16 USD for adults, and 7 USD for children.
Book a guided tour of the Santa Elena Cloud Forest.
The weather is very humid and rainy, so bring a light raincoat and plenty of water, and wear quick-drying clothes.
You can’t leave Costa Rica without walking on the suspension bridges! So you should visit Selvatura Park in Monteverde and walk along the magnificent suspension bridges.
2. Watch Hummingbirds at the Colibri Cafe
Are you looking for the best birdwatching spot in Monteverde, Costa Rica?
The Colibri Cafe is one of the best places for birdwatching in Costa Rica, as the hanging sugar water drinkers attract hummingbirds.
The Colibri Café is located right at the entrance of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, so you must visit it.
More about Costa Rica → Uvita Guide
It is a perfect place to start your Monteverde Itinerary and have a coffee with a delicious pastry. There is also a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs.
Good to know
The Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery is free to visit, and the café is open daily from 8:30 AM to 5 PM.
3. Join a Coffee Tour in Monteverde
Costa Rica is famous for its chocolate and coffee. So if you’re a coffee lover like us, you should take a coffee tour in Monteverde.
The Café Monteverde Farm & Roastery tour costs 40 USD for adults and 12 USD for children (6-12 years) and takes about 2.5 hours.
Tours depart three times a day, at 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM, and 2 PM.
During the tour, you will learn about the coffee growing process, from seed germination to farming, harvesting, processing, and roasting.
Come to Monteverde, Costa Rica, and have a fresh cup of coffee.
Go on a delicious chocolate tour in Puerto Viejo.
4. Hike to El Tigre Waterfalls
One of the best things to do in Monteverde is to visit the El Tigre Waterfalls.
The El Tigre Waterfalls are about a 50-minute drive from Monteverde, Costa Rica.
At El Tigre, you can see 4 waterfalls, hike across 10 bridges, and swim in the pools in the river.
El Tigre Waterfalls are open every day from 7:30 AM to 13:30 PM.
Recommended Post → Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica
You can visit the El Tigre Waterfalls on a self-guided tour, but booking is required!
The El Tigre Waterfalls have two entrances. We recommend taking the Monte de los Olivos route, as you don’t need a 4×4, although a car with high ground clearance is better.
The total distance is 8 km, and the hike is moderate-difficult, which takes approximately 3-4 hours.
Book El Tigre Waterfalls hiking tour with lunch HERE.
5. Take a Night Tour in Monteverde
Are you looking for an exciting experience in Monteverde, Costa Rica?
Since most wildlife is active at night, join a night tour, and you can see snakes, frogs, spiders, reptiles, and sloths.
Experience the nightlife and sounds of wildlife with a Monteverde Rain Forest Night Walk. The tours are available at 5:30 PM and 8 PM.
The 2-hour night tour starts from 25 USD and an extra 13 USD entrance fee to Refugio de Vida Silvestre.
To see more animals in Monteverde, visit the Frog Pond or the Butterfly Garden.
See also → Manuel Antonio National Park
6. Go Ziplining
Ziplining is a popular and fun activity in Monteverde, Costa Rica. The views over the rainforest are beautiful, and Sky Adventures offers ziplines in Monteverde and La Fortuna.
The ziplining tour costs 95 USD per person, takes 2 hours, and is available daily from 7 AM to 3 PM.
Make the most of your experience and book a Sky Walk, Sky Tram & Sky Trek ziplining tour HERE.
The Sky Adventures Monteverde Park is about a 30 minutes drive from Santa Elena.
7. Climbing the Ficus Tree
One of the free things to do in Monteverde is to climb the giant ficus tree.
There are no opening hours, as the tree is on private property, but the gate is usually open. A donation is required to visit the ficus tree.
You can easily reach the ficus tree on a short walk or drive from Santa Elena.
Be careful when climbing the tree, as it can be slippery!
8. Day Trip to Rio Celeste Waterfall
The most beautiful waterfall in Costa Rica is the Rio Celeste, located about 2.5 hours from Monteverde in the Tenorio Volcano National Park.
You don’t need a 4×4 to get to Tenorio Volcano National Park. But a car with higher ground clearance is recommended.
Tenorio Volcano National Park is open daily from 8 AM to 2 PM. You can stay in the park until 4 PM.
Keep reading → Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica
The entrance fee is 12 USD and can only be paid by credit or debit card!
The walk from the entrance of the Tenorio Volcano National Park to the Rio Celeste Waterfall takes about 30-40 minutes, depending on the road conditions.
Spend at least 3 hours in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, hike the rainforest trails, and explore other beautiful attractions.
Read the full post → Rio Celeste Waterfall Guide
Where to Eat in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Wondering where to eat in Monteverde and Santa Elena? There are traditional (soda) restaurants where you can try delicious Costa Rican cuisine or choose from international restaurants.
These are our recommendations in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Best restaurants in Monteverde
- Café Monteverde (Delicious coffees, coffee shop)
- Tree House (The restaurant is built around a tree, one of the most popular restaurants in Monteverde.)
- Taco Taco Taqueria (Best tacos and burritos)
- Toro Tinto (Delicious burgers, pasta, and salads)
- Restaurante Sabor Tico (Costa Rican food)
- Bon Appetit! (Italian pizzas)
- Orchid Coffee (Good breakfast place)
- The Green Restaurant (Healthy food)
Where to Stay in Monteverde, Costa Rica
We recommend staying in Santa Elena for at least 2-3 days to allow enough time to visit the best places in Monteverde.
If you don’t have a rental car or are looking for budget accommodation, you should stay in Santa Elena downtown. Because you’ll be close to the great restaurants and supermarkets and can easily book tours or shuttles to attractions.
Santa Elena and Monteverde offer accommodation for all budgets. You can choose from cheap hostels to mid-range hotels and luxury resorts.
Best hotels in Monteverde, Costa Rica
We hope our list of the best things to do in Monteverde will inspire you to visit Costa Rica. If you have any questions or thoughts, let us know in the comments below.