Monteverde – A Day In The Cloud Forest | Costa Rica6 min read
Costa Rica is literally a tropical paradise. On the higher elevations sets a misty cloud forest. Monteverde was something we were extremely excited about while planning our itinerary for Costa Rica. And if it’s not the most beautiful forest you walk into then we don’t know what else it could be.
WHERE IS MONTEVERDE AND HOW TO GET THERE
Monteverde is located in the northwestern part of Costa Rica. The closest town to Cloud Forest is Santa Elena approximately 6 km away,
- From San Jose: Transmonteverde buses depart at 6.30 am and 2.30 pm from Terminal 7-10,
- From Liberia: There are no direct buses to Monteverde, only one option by public transport is to take several bus routes starting from Liberia-Canas, Canas-Tilaran, Tilaran-Santa Elena,
- From La Fortuna: Buses depart at 8 am and 4.30 pm, we took the morning bus but it broke down and we had to hitchhike to Tilaran. From there it’s less than 50 km to Santa Elena but just because the road is unpaved and bumpy it will take around ⅔ hours drive to get there depending on the traffic,
- Taxi Boat from La Fortuna which takes around 3h, you can book it with your hotel in advance 25$(~20£),
Note: Apart from the list above there is an option to take a shuttle or taxi but it will be much more expensive
As soon as we arrived we left our backpacks and headed to watch the sunset. Simply follow the main road towards the Monteverde Cloud Forest and after 30 minutes walk, you will reach the viewpoint.
Next day we got up at 6 am and took the first bus to the Cloud Forest (600CRC~0,75£) The weather was misty and the sky covered with clouds. Raincoat and hiking shoes are really essential if you decide to visit! We paid 22$(~17£) for admission and another 16$(~12.5£) to get a guide. Luckily it was only two of us plus our guide Ricardo – a son of one of the founders of Monteverde Cloud Forest. We learned so much about the area from the person who’s deeply passionate about their job and brings attention to the preservation of the Cloud Forest. Ricardo showed us many beautiful plants and endemic species of birds for example Quetzal! It was a very rare find and we have been told bird watchers don’t see them that often. It wouldn’t be possible if not Ricardo’s eagle eye and his binoculars. To sum up the whole experience it’s totally worth to pay 38$(~29£). If you visit Monteverde don’t forget to ask for Ricardo to be your tour guide!
After 1,5 hours tour, Ricardo left and we walk further to explore more trials. Previously we were explained that the majority of the trees are very young. But there are the old ones too which could be a few hundred years old. With approximately 12 km of trails, it’s really a lot to walk and we were wandering around for another couple of hours.
The last bus from leaves at 4 PM but it’s only one hour walk (5 km) in case you have missed one.
Monteverde Cloud Forest left us wanting more and the next day we explored Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve 16$(~12.5£). The place is considered less crowded and we found excellent hiking trails along with canopy trees covered with clouds.
WHERE TO EAT
- Orchid Coffee; local and western meals, good coffee, lots of vegan options,
- The Green Restaurant; It’s on the second level of the shopping centre, fresh local food, reasonable prices, ask for vegan substitutions,
- Sabor Tico; Costa Rican specialities, cheap food, try their chips with avocado salsa as an appetizer!
- Monteverde Beer House; middle eastern cuisine, craft beer selection, a bit pricey,
WHERE TO STAY
- Selina Monteverde; located outside of town, budget-friendly, clean rooms and cool decor,
- Monteverde Lodge & Gardens; slightly more expensive accommodation with windows overlooking the forest, close to hiking trails,
- Hotel Belmar Monteverde; mid-range sustainable hotel, nestled in the mountains, rustic rooms with spectacular views, they have hot tubs and pool,
Note: There are a couple of Airbnb listings with price range approx.20£ night if you book in advance