Best Things To Do In Monteverde, Costa Rica in 2023
There are literally a plethora of best things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica in 2023 for families and travelers that like nature, the outdoors and adrenaline filled activities. Some of the best options include a trip to Selvatura Park where you will find ziplines as well as canopy tours and educational experiences. The Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena also known as the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve boasts a less traveled cloud forest or you can visit the Curi Cancha Reserve which puts you in touch with nature. There are excursions for extreme bungee jumping, horseback riding, driving an ATV, climbing trees and canyoneering as well as numerous hiking tours that will take to places like the San Gerardo Biological Reserve. Other options include visiting the Monteverde Frog Pond, the Monteverde Orchid Garden and the Monteverde Butterfly Garden or check out the 300-foot drop of cascading water at San Luis Waterfall.
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If you are seeking the best thing to do in Monteverde for families that combines several activities and experiences into an action packed day then you need to go to Selvatura Park. Located within a 15-minute drive from Santa Elena, the Selvatura Park is situated within 850-acres of Monteverde Cloud Forest and specializes in natural as well as adrenaline filled tours. When you visit Selvatura Park you can choose from nine different packages that include ziplines, canopy hiking over suspension bridges, flying through the air on the Mega Tarzan Swing and you can learn about the natural cloud forest environment from trained biologists. You can go birdwatching, walk through the hummingbird and butterfly gardens as well as view several exhibits on insects and amphibians. Selvatura Park is excellent for all types of nature lovers and thrills seekers that are searching for that once-in-a-lifetime experience when visiting Monteverde Cloud Forest Region.
Nature, Wildlife and Birdwatching Tours
When you are searching for an interesting family-friendly thing to do in Monteverde that will have you immersed in the natural environment of the cloud forest then you should try a Nature, Wildlife and Birdwatching Tour. These excursions are superb for all types of nature lovers that want to learn and see more of the lush cloud forests in Costa Rica. You will be thrilled while watching up to 450 species of birds singing and flying around the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and you will be delighted with the lush green environment that is home to over 400 species of orchids alone. Night time excursions are perfect for viewing the hundreds of mammals and reptiles that come to life during the evening. Other spectacular places you can visit to view birds, wildlife and nature is the Monteverde Butterfly Garden, the San Gerarado Biological Reserve and Selvatura Park.
Zipline and Canopy Tours
One of the best family-friendly things to do in Monteverde that offers a superb adrenaline experience combined with gorgeous cloud forest scenery is to take a Zipline and Canopy Tour. These are fabulous adventures that will have you traveling at high speeds through and above the canopy of the cloud forest along a series of zipline cables. You can pretend to be Superman as you glide effortlessly through the air or you can experience the Mega Tarzan Swing which will have you swinging almost 150-feet into the air and some of ziplines are over one mile long as you experience the cloud forest from a new perspective. There are numerous suspension bridges you will walk across that will have you high above the canopy while you view downward spotting numerous animal and plant species.
One of the most popular things to do in Monteverde for families and adventurers of all types is to travel through the cloud forest areas on an excellent Hiking Tour. When you take one of the excursions you will be immersed in the natural environment of the magical and mystifying cloud forest areas which can include places like the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, the San Gerardo Reserve and Selvatura Park. You will hike through the dense cloud forest areas while watching hundreds of animal and bird species in their natural habitat. The fauna and flora will amaze your senses as you travel and listen to a trained naturalist explain the eco-system of Costa Rica. Many of the excursions will have crossing high suspension bridges over canyons and you can even add-on a zipline or sky tram ride.
When you want to experience the thrill of heights mixed with adrenaline in a safe environment then a superb thing to do in Monteverde is to plan on going on a Climbing Tour. There are a wide variety of options with these excursions that can have you rappelling down a series of waterfalls in a canyon to crossing suspension bridges and climbing to the top of a 60 or 400-feet tree. There are several ways to climb the tree which range from the climbing up the hollow center to climbing on the outside. Once on top you will be afforded views from the surrounding volcanoes like Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja and Tenorio as well as the Nicoya Gulf. Each experience is different and when you rappel down you will feel your adrenaline reach new levels of excitement.
Horseback Riding Tours
One of the best family-friendly things to do in Monteverde for families who like to experience new adventures in a lush cloud forest area is to take a Horseback Riding Tour. These tours are perfect for families of all sizes whether that is large or small and can accommodate all types of horseback riders from novice to expert. You will enjoy the natural scenery of the cloud forest which is home to hundreds of bird and animal species as well as hundreds of plants. You can learn about the history of Costa Rica, the eco-system and various conservation methods from your trail guide while you view the incredible environment. Don’t be surprised when you spot a two toed sloth, a howler monkey or even a motmot bird and the orchids are just beautiful.
Coffee and Chocolate Tours
If you are a foodie and lover of culture that likes to learn traditional methods of preparing foods then a perfect thing to do in Monteverde is to take a Coffee and Chocolate tour. You will be pleased as you travel through the countryside of a working plantation while you take in the scenery riding in an ox pulled cart. Families will enjoy learning about the sugar can history of Costa Rica, the traditional ways of cultivating, processing and drying coffee beans as well as using a paddle to crush cacao beans until you have a rich savory chocolate that will delight your taste buds. During your excursion you will have plenty of opportunities to soak in the lush environment that surrounds while you indulge in mixing the wonderful flavors of chocolate and coffee.
Extreme Bungee Jumping Tour
If you are searching for an once-in-a-lifetime adrenaline rush that is family-friendly then an ideal thing to do in Monteverde is to go on an Extreme Bungee Jumping Tour. You will be thrilled as your starts pumping when you start to cross a canyon in a tram car while you prepare for this extreme activity. The views before your extreme jump are fascinating and filled with lifetime memories. Once you jump you will plunge over 400-feet down in the air at high speeds and your adrenaline will be at high levels of excitement. Don’t worry all the safety equipment and instruction is included to make for a safe journey. This activity is truly not for the light hearted and as you begin to bob around on the bungee cord you will have incredible views of the lush cloud forest environment.
One of the more exciting things to do in Monteverde for adventure seekers looking to travel through the cloud at high speeds is to take an ATV Tour. These excursions are perfect for people who are searching for a flexible option that will leave part of your day open for more exploring or relaxation. You will get wet while traveling through mud puddles and crossing rivers, climb over rock croppings as well as be delighted with the panoramic views of the area. Don’t worry you will drive a state-of-the-art ATV as your adrenaline rises to new levels when you cruise through the cloud forest environment and an added bonus is the wildlife you will spot along the way.
Curi Cancha Reserve
The Curi Cancha Reserve is a great thing to do in Monteverde for nature lovers who like to watch birds, hike trails and view hundreds of species of animals as well as plants. Located less than 1-mile northwest of Monte Verde, the Curi Cancha Reserve is situated on 205-acres of lower montane and premontane wet forests that is home to over 200 species of incredible birds. The Curi Cancha Reserve is composed of 50% virgin forest, 45% secondary growth forest and there is 5% open pasture within the reserve. The Curi Cancha Reserve is a perfect place to hike with almost 4.5-miles of hiking trails that will lead you through this densely treed reserve. Birdwatchers can expect to see species such as the Three-wattled bellbird, the resplendent quetzal, orange-bellied trogon and blue crowned motmot. Other animals you are likely to spot while hiking are coati, armadillo, ocelot, two toed sloth as well as spider and mantled howler monkeys. While you hike you will enjoy listening to sounds of the forest as you marvel at the beauty of your surroundings.
Photo by Melinda Banks
Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas)
If you are interested in viewing some of the most delicate animals in nature in a simulated natural habitat then a perfect thing to do in Monteverde is to plan a trip to the Monteverde Butterfly Garden. Located near downtown Santa Elena, the Monteverde Butterfly Garden is situated within a 3-acre indoor garden and has been teaching visitors about insects and arachnids for more than 20 years. The Monteverde Butterfly Garden has four unique habitat areas which simulates the natural Costa Rican environment. The Monteverde Butterfly Garden is home to more than 20 species of live insects and arachnids as well as 30 species of butterflies and there is an active leaf-cutter ant colony. The Monteverde Butterfly Garden has numerous exhibits which help explain the beauty and necessity of these creatures in the different habitat areas of Costa Rico. As you are strolling through the grounds you will be delighted with other animals such as toucans, motmots, white-faced capuchin monkeys and coatis.
Photo by Bernard DUPONT
Monteverde Orchid Garden
When you want to view and smell some of the most gorgeous flowers in the world then the best thing to do in Monteverde is to visit the Monteverde Orchid Garden. Located within the heart of Santa Elena, the Monteverde Orchid Garden is situated within a 10,700 square feet facility that has been created to simulate the natural conditions of the surrounding cloud and rain forests. The Monteverde Orchid Garden is home to 460 species of orchids which most are from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Region and you will be delighted to see up to 120 orchids in full bloom on a daily basis. During your visit you will experience a collection of miniature orchids which reside in the cloud forest areas as well as the smallest orchid in the world. The second section has bigger orchids that are primarily found in areas between humid and tropical humid forests. The third section features hybrids which were created by cross pollination in a laboratory. While you view these incredible delicate flowers you will learn from an orchid specialist about the difference of each plant.
Photo by Jason Baker
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena/Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
One of the best things to do in Monteverde for people looking for a unique outdoor and natural adventure is to visit the Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena also known as the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. Located less than 4-miles northeast of Santa Elena, the Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena is situated on 765-acres of magical and mysterious cloud forest. The Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena was founded in 1991 by a joint effort of community leaders and scientists to conserve the natural beauty as well as animals that live in the reserve. The Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena is higher in altitude than the neighboring Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and is home to more than 200 species of plants, about 200 species of birds as well as more than 100 animals. There are 7.5-miles on four main hiking trails which are the Cano Negro, Sendero Encantado, the El Bajo and the shortest is the Youth Challenge Trail where you will be treated to views of five volcanoes which include Arenal, Poas, Tenorio, Rincon de la Vieja and Miravalles.
Photo by Ramon -
Monteverde Frog Pond
If you have ever wondered about the beauty and danger of the many frogs that reside within the cloud forest, then an ideal thing to do in Monteverde is to go to the Monteverde Frog Pond. Located in the heart of Santa Elena, the Monteverde Frog Pond features 25 species of frogs that are native to the cloud and rainforest areas of Monteverde. The Monteverde Frog Pond is a great educational experience where you will learn more about frogs and toads from a staff of biologists, conservationists and naturalist guides. You can expect to see species such as the red eye frog, the strawberry poison dart frog, marine toad, crowned frog, the poison arrow frog and the leopard frog. One of the best times to visit the Monteverde Frog Pond is in the evening when the frogs and toads jump to life while provided a chorus of interesting sounds. Also within the naturally-simulated terrariums there is an exhibit that explains the natural history of amphibians.
Photo by benet2006
San Luis Waterfall
When you want to see one of the cleanest rivers and most beautiful waterfalls, then an ideal thing to do in Monteverde is to take a trip to San Luis Waterfall. Located 9-miles south of Santa Elena near the town of San Luis, the San Luis Waterfall is a spectacular sight of water cascading more than 300-feet down into a pool of cold swimmable water. While you are hiking you will transition through cloud and rainforest areas which are packed with wildlife that includes white faced monkeys, two toed sloths, hundreds of butterflies and numerous species of birds. Once at the San Luis Waterfall you will know why the San Luis River is considered to be one of the cleanest rivers in Costa Rica with sparkling blue water. The San Luis Waterfall is accessed by taking a moderate 4-mile roundtrip hike or by horseback. You can also access the waterfall from the San Luis Research Station which is operated and part of the University of Georgia Costa Rica campus. The San Luis Waterfall resides on private land and there is a small admission to hike the trail.