Monteverde, Costa Rica

Enveloped in mist, with trees wrapped in soft layers of moss and ferns, Monteverde is a mystical destination where adventure abounds. In this magical, verdant mountain where the clouds hang low, you will find a million things to see and do, so take your pick and budget your time mindfully.

The Monteverde region, at an elevation of more than 4,500 feet on the Talamanca Mountain Range, is famous for the Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves that offer visitors the unique chance to experience this area’s rich biodiversity, which includes more than 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds.

Adventurous types will feel right at home here, with Monteverde’s impressive selection of zipline tours, waterfall rapelling, horseback riding and hiking options.

This region’s two main reference points are Santa Elena and Monteverde villages. Santa Elena is the quaint, sleepy mountain town you will first see when you arrive into the area on one of the three unpaved roads that lead there. The town of Monteverde is located just a short drive uphill from Santa Elena.

Monteverde is home to Central America’s largest private reserve, the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, a dreamy expanse of 22,000 hectares of protected rainforest. This reserve is a popular alternative to the Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves and although it offers a lot of kiddie attractions, such as a Children’s Nature Center, library and arboretum, its magic delights all age groups.

The Twilight Walk at the Children’s Eternal Rainforest should not be missed, since it offers the unique opportunity to observe nighttime creatures like owls, fireflies, bats, snakes and sleeping birds. This rainforest reserve is operated by a conservation NGO dedicated to preserving Monteverde’s rich biodiversity.

The Land of Peace

Monteverde’s history was shaped by its Quaker settlers, who were not the first to arrive in this area, but migrated here in the 1950s from the United States. The Quakers sought to live in peace and opposed the military draft imposed by their government at the time. They decided to settle in Costa Rica, where the army had been recently abolished, and chose the region of Monteverde for its cool temperatures and farming possibilities. Their wish to protect the land they had settled led to the creation of the Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves.

Monteverde Weather and Packing Checklist:

The cloud forest tends to be rainy and damp, so don’t forget your rain gear, hiking boots, pants, long sleeve shirts, jackets, sweaters and sunblock for daily protection!

Monteverde experiences consistent rainfall from May to November. As most of the country’s northern region, this area’s heaviest rains are expected from September to November. Average temperatures hover in the low 70s during the day, dropping to the upper 50s at night.

How to get to Monteverde:

From San José:

By car (four-wheel drive is advised):

Take the Inter-American Highway and drive west toward Puntarenas. Get on the road to Liberia at the Puntarenas intersection. Turn right at Kilometer 133, going toward the town of Sardinal. Then, take the bumpy gravel road all the way up the mountain to Santa Elena.

By bus:

Transmonteverde company has daily buses that leave San José at 6:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $5 USD. 


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