Monteverde Night Tour: The 5 Best Wildlife Excursion Options

As dusk descends, the Monteverde cloud forest is transformed. The nocturnal wildlife awakens, and a whole new world unveils itself. A Monteverde night tour is a great way to see night active wildlife in the middle of this unique cloud forest destination.

We have taken wildlife night tours in Monteverde several times and have brought our family and friends on these tours. It has always been a hit with everyone. Plus, it is an activity that all children and adults in somewhat decent physical condition can participate in.

We created this guide to Monteverde night tours to share with you the top 5 tours, tell you what to bring and wear, and give you some info on what to be aware of.

So let’s get to it!

What is a Monteverde Night Tour?

A night tour in Monteverde is a guided walk through the jungle in the dark with an experienced wildlife guide.

You will be given a headlamp to wear as you follow your guide through a reserve in search of night-active animals. 

Monteverde Night Tour: The 5 Best Wildlife Excursion Options

Your guide will be equipped with a telescopic lens so you can see hard-to-spot animals up close.

Plus, these guides conduct these tours almost every evening. They are usually super good at spotting wildlife and are very knowledgeable about all the animal facts.

These night walking tours are usually conducted in small groups on private reserves.

What Wildlife Can I See on a Monteverde Night Tour?

blue jeans frog in Monteverde

Some of the wildlife you might see includes:

  • Mammals:
    • Two-toed and Three-toed Sloths
    • Kinkajous (also known as honey bears)
    • Bats
    • Armadillos
    • Agoutis
    • White-nosed Coatis
    • Ocelots (rarely seen)
  • Amphibians:
    • Red-eyed Tree Frogs
    • Glass Frogs
    • Rain Frogs
    • Toads
  • Reptiles:
    • Snakes (such as pit vipers, boas, and vine snakes)
    • Lizards
    • Geckos
  • Birds:
    • Nightjars
    • Owls (like the Mottled Owl and the Bare-shanked Screech Owl)
    • Potoos
  • Insects and Arachnids:
    • Tarantulas
    • Stick insects
    • Leaf-cutter ants
    • Scorpions
    • Beetles

Our Five Favorite Monteverde Night Tours

We created a list of our top five Monteverde night tour options for you. Each tour offers something slightly different.

So, read through them all to select the one that most aligns with what you are looking for.

Night Tour in Monteverde

Our #1 night Tour Pick

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✅ Book it!

This is our number one night tour option for you. 

There are two main reasons for this:

  1. It includes transportation from and to your Monteverde area hotel.
  2. It is on a private reserve so you do not need to pay any additional fees.

On your tour you can expect:

To walk the cloud forest of Monteverde in the darkness. Along the way you might spot nocturnal wildlife including; tropical birds in their resting state and creatures like scorpions, tarantulas, bats, and more.

Your experienced guide will help you see wildlife and will share a lot of detailed information. 

You can choose the tour time that best fits your schedule, with options at 6pm or 8pm.

Flashlights are provided to enhance visibility during the tour.

Monteverde Rain Forest Night Walk

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✅ Book it!

This tour stands out because it takes place at the Wildlife Refuge Monteverde. This is a big property that is known for having a lot of night active wildlife.

It is possible to have transportation included in your tour or drive to the reserve yourself.

The negative part of this tour is that the $13 admission to the reserve is not included. You will need to pay that on top of the tour cost.

This tour includes the use of a flashlight and a wildlife-filled adventure with an experienced guide.

Private Monteverde Night Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✅ Book it!

This tour is great if you would like a private experience without a group of other people.

Just note that transportation from your hotel is not included. You will need to drive yourself to the starting point.

The guides who lead this tour are amazing. And, since this is a private tour you can tell the guide what you would most like to focus on trying to see. Plus, they can answer ALL of your questions.

Entrance to the wildlife is included and flashlights will be provided to help you get around.

​​Monteverde Coffee, Chocolate and Night Tour

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours 30 minutes | ✅ Book it!

This tour is a great combination of coffee, chocolate, AND night-time wildlife spotting. 

Transportation is NOT included. You will need to drive to the start point in Monteverde.

On this night tour you will experience:

Coffee and Chocolate Tasting

  • Dive into Monteverde’s flavors with aromatic coffee and rich chocolate.
  • Learn the process from bean to brew and cocoa pod to chocolate bar.
  • Enjoy tastings of these beloved Costa Rican products.

Nighttime Exploration in Santa Elena Reserve:

  • Discover the rainforest’s nighttime mysteries with a flashlight-guided tour.
  • Experience the forest’s nocturnal life, different from the daytime.
  • Spot elusive creatures such as the Giant Toad, Glass Frog, and the 2-toed Sloth.
  • Look out for nocturnal insects, mammals, and birds.

Monteverde Cloud Forest + Curi-Cancha Reserve + Night Hike (Private)

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  6 – 8 hours | ✅ Book it!

This is a full day tour option with transportation. It includes several stops and a night hike.

On this tour you will experience:

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve: Begin your day in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Engage in a morning exploration of one of Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems, surrounded by lush vegetation often enveloped in clouds.

Curi Cancha Reserve: After lunch, journey to the Curi-Cancha Reserve. Wander through a mix of secondary and primary forests, experiencing a transition zone that’s perfect for birdwatching. From hummingbirds and toucans to trogons and colorful tanagers, it’s a birder’s paradise.

Monteverde Wildlife Refuge Night Hike: Cap off the day with a night hike. From amphibians and reptiles to nocturnal mammals like sloths, armadillos, and even wildcats. It’s a unique adventure you wouldn’t want to miss. Telescopes and flashlights are provided for an enhanced experience.

What To Wear and Bring on a Monteverde Night Tour

frog monteverde

To Wear

Long Pants: To protect against insect bites and scratches from vegetation.

Long-Sleeved Shirt or Jacket: The cloud forest can get chilly, especially in the evenings. Long sleeves also provide protection against bugs.

Warm Layer: Depending on the season and current weather, it might be wise to bring an extra layer like a fleece or sweater.

Closed-toed Shoes: Preferably hiking boots or sturdy sneakers with good tread for slippery or uneven trails, and bonus points if they are waterproof.

Waterproof Poncho or Rain Jacket: Monteverde is in a cloud forest, so there’s a good chance of encountering mist or rain, even if the day has been clear.

If you need a rain jacket, I have had this one from North Face for a few years and I love it for Costa Rica.

Really, the key is to stay comfortable and protected. It’s better to be over-prepared and remove layers if you’re too warm than to be under-prepared and cold or wet.

You can always check with your tour provider beforehand to see if they provide any equipment or have specific recommendations.

To Bring

You don’t really have to bring much. In fact, it is better if you bring less stuff with you. 

The guide will have a telescope, but it never hurts to have your own binoculars as well. We love our pocket binoculars for seeing wildlife in Costa Rica.

Other than that, just bring your wallet and cell phone or camera. 

We didn’t even bring a water bottle with us so we had less to carry, but you may want one.

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You might be doing some fast walking at certain spots and Monteverde is high elevation so you might find yourself getting out of breath faster than usual.

We were able to just put our stuff in our rain jacket pocket, but if you have more things, I highly suggest a waterproof day pack for Costa Rica exploration.

Helpful Tips for a Monteverde Night Tour

Here are a few things you should know before booking your tour.

If you have poor eyesight or are not in the best shape physically this may not be the best activity for you

Our guide often said, “Come on everyone! We need to go fast to see the animal.” He would then walk off quickly.

Even with a flashlight or headlamp, it can be difficult to see well. 

Don’t walk off the trails or touch any trees during the walk

You never know what could be hiding there. There are plenty of poisonous frogs and snakes in this area.

You might need to manage your expectations

You never know how much wildlife you’ll be able to see on a given night. Sometimes you might see a ton of animals and sometimes you might see very few.

Our Experience on Monteverde Night Tours

frog monteverde

We have done a Monteverde night tour three times with family or groups of friends.

All three times were enjoyable and great for seeing night active wildlife.

I think this activity is a bit touristy, but there is no denying that it is by far the best way to see night active wildlife that you would never spot on your own.

We definitely prefer the night tour with transportation. It just makes it easier so that nobody has to drive in the dark. 

On every tour we have done we have been divided into Spanish-speaking and English-speaking groups. But, I have heard that if there are not a lot of participants they will combine the groups and the guide will speak in both languages. Personally, I don’t really like this because they always tend to use one language more. 

All of our experiences have been on mostly smooth trails (they weren’t paved, but well worn down). 

All the guides have radios and radio each other when they see an animal. 

The guides also have telescopes so you can see the animals up close. Our guides have always been great and take pictures with everyone’s cameras through the telescopes so we could get close-up pictures.

On our walks we have seen; several poisonous frogs, a viper, sloths, butterflies, a tarantula, birds, and probably more which I can’t remember!

Other Fun Things to Do in Monteverde

zip line

Monteverde, Costa Rica is such a fun cloud forest destination with many great things to do.

One of the must-do activities is zip lining. This area offers a unique landscape that I think is best enjoyed from above.

We created a guide to zip lining in Monteverde for more info on that.

I also suggest taking a hike. We have visited both the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Santa Elena del Bosque

I think I prefer the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve due to the greater variety of trails, but both places are great for a walk in the woods with the chance to see a variety of flora and fauna.

For more ideas, check out our list of the 25 best things to do in Monteverde.

If you are looking for the best hotels, restaurants, weather info, etc. Check out our complete guide to visiting Monteverde for all the details.

Additionally, we suggest checking out out guide to the Northern Mountains for other nice places to visit in this area including La Fortuna.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a Monteverde night tour is always a fun thing to do in this cloud forest destination.

I mean, how often do you get the chance to explore the forest in the dark in Costa Rica and see brightly colored wildlife? It’s pretty cool!

If you have any questions about the Monteverde night tour or would like to share your experience, please leave them in the comment section below.

We are always happy to help you out!

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Costa Rica Travel Details: What You Need to Know

๐Ÿš— Should I rent a car in Costa Rica?

Having a rental car will give you the most flexibility when traveling in Costa Rica. This will also allow you to take fun day trips on your own.

๐Ÿ„๐Ÿฝ How can I book things to do?

We find that Viator tends to have the most comprehensive selection of activities with secure booking and good cancellation policies.

๐Ÿ I’m overwhelmed with planning. Can you help?

Of course! I suggest joining our Facebook group for specific questions and head to our Start Here Page to get started planning.

โœˆ๏ธ What is the best way to book a flight?

Usually, we have the best luck finding great prices with Skyscanner. Check for flights to both San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport (LIR).

๐Ÿ›๏ธ What is the best way to book my Costa Rica hotels?

We highly suggest Booking.com for hotel bookings and typically use VRBO for Costa Rica vacation rentals.

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธWhat is the main language in Costa Rica?

The main language in Costa Rica is Spanish. Most people working in tourism speak at least some English.

๐Ÿ’ฐ What is the currency in Costa Rica?

The currency used in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colรณn (CRC). However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist areas

๐Ÿ“ž What is the best way to stay connected?

An eSIM from Airalo is the easiest way to get 4G data while traveling in Costa Rica.

๐ŸŒด Is Costa Rica safe?

Generally, Costa Rica is considered safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s best to use caution and be aware of your surroundings.

๐Ÿ›‚ Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is its own country. You will need a passport to visit.

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