Monteverde, Costa Rica
Elevation: 1,400 m/4,600 ft
Capital City of Country
Gateway to Country
Monteverde, Costa Rica Vacation Guide
Monteverde which means ‘green mountain’ in Spanish, is a small and beautiful village founded by a Quaker community in the 1950’s. Located in the mountainous area above Puntarenas this region is now famous for being associated with the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, The Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve and the Children’s Eternal Rain Forest. Tourists will find a wide variety of fauna and plants in all of these 3 parks. Monteverde and its neighbouring town of Santa Elena feature many nice hotels – it is a delightful destination for visitors who like to experience the natural beauty of Costa Rica.
This area offers a lot of attractions and activities that combines nature and adventure.
In Monteverde travelers can enjoy the wonderful view of the cloud forest that surounds the whole area, and in which more than 400 species of birds and more than 3000 species of plants were discovered. Or enjoy the view of the Gulf of Nicoya from the distance, or swim in the cold water of the San Luis waterfall, visit the famous cheese factory, hike to the top of Cerro Amigos, or walk to one of the viewpoints where it is possible to see the Arenal Volcano. Upon arrival in Monteverde, you will find that much of this village remains untouched by modernity, and most of the people here still lead rural lives, although there are many elegant restaurants, hotels, banks, souvenir shops and cafes.
Attractions and Activities
Located only 4 hours from San Jose, Monteverde provides for a unique nature experience! Mountains, plants and animal watching, awsome views, cloud forest reserves, waterfalls, are to discover. It is a paradise for nature lovers. Monteverde is a protected area divided in 3 Biological Reserves: The Monteverde Cloud Forest, The Santa Elena Cloud Forest and the children’s Eternal Rain Forest and its town Santa Elena, have all the necessary services: restaurants, info centers, hotels, bars, souvenir shops, pharmacies and supermarkets.
Rain Forest Excursions
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (open daily from 7:00 am- 4:00 pm)
Walk in this biological reserve that sits at an elevation of 1,200 meters (4000 feet). The park is surrounded by a misty cover that supports a wide diversity of flora and fauna. This reserve is considered one of the primary cloud forest in Mesoamerica and the most exceptional wildlife sanctuaries in the New World Tropics.
The Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve (open daily from 7:00 am- 4:00 pm)
Less crowded than the Monteverde Cloud Forest, this Reserve sits at 1650 meters (5400 feet), has stepper trails, and a slightly better chance of seeing quetzals which makes the Santa Elena Cloud Forest the best place to hike.
The Children’s Eternal Rain Forest (CERF)
The CERF is 22,000 hectares of primary and secondary forest as well as regenerating areas characterized by peaks and mountain ridges, valleys and canyons as well as abundant rivers of rapid currents that drain on the Pacific and Atlantic slopes of Costa Rica.
Walking around Monteverde
The Cheese Factory
The Cheese Factory is located in the heart of the Monteverde Community where you can enjoy several varieties of cheese, locally produced and cured meats, hams and sausages, cream and milk, caramels and the famous, Monteverde ice creams and milkshakes! You can also see the process of how these tasty products are being manufactured.
Canopy and tree walks
Appreciate the rich diversity of the canopy flora and fauna while you enjoy the adrenaline rush in one of the canopy tours or hanging bridges that travelers can find in Monteverde.
San Luis Waterfall
Approximately three-hours hike from downtown Sta. Elena, the 100 meter waterfall is nestled deep in the valley with an incredible view. In warm weather, dress light; wear sun block and comfortable shoes. In cool weather, dress in layered clothing and a raincoat to protect you from the wind and rain.
Farms and Animal Watching
The Bath Jungle, butterfly gardens, the Frog Pond, trails in the forest, the Serpentarium, insect museums and the Humming bird Gallery are some additional options to appreciate the wild life in Monteverde and the surrounding areas. Travelers can also find small family farms that offer coffee tours, horse back riding or hiking in the cloud forest, animal watching and more.
The Monteverde Coffee
The Cooperative Santa Elena maintains high standards for the quality of the coffee by choosing only the very best beans to become the Monteverde coffee, which you can find on the supermarkets, coffee shops, restaurants and hotels around.
In this small town is possible to find a wide variety of elegant restaurants, bars, live music and an exciting night-life.
Souvenir shops offer many paintings, wooden crafts and jewelry, handmade by local artisans, which represent life and some Costa Rican culture. After shopping have a cup of organic coffee grown in this area or enjoy a delicious ice cream.
Location and Map
From San Jose, take the bus on the 7/9 Avenue, 12 street, on the San Carlos Bus Stop (Old bus station to Puntarenas). 2 buses leave daily at 6:30 am and 2:30 pm. It is recommended to buy your tickets in advanced. From Puntarenas, there are 2 buses: one at 1:00 pm and one at 2:00 pm.
From San Jose follow the signs to Puntarenas and continue on direction Penas Blancas or Liberia. At km 147 (about half an hour after passing Puntarenas on your left) turn right 50 meters before the bridge at Lagartos. Follow the road for about 10 km and you will see the Texaco gas station. Then it's 35 km of dirt road to arrive to Monteverde.