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Are you looking for fun things to do in Monteverde, Costa Rica?
Monteverde is a remote (but popular) cloud forest town located in the northern mountains of Costa Rica. This area is home to lush jungles, tons of adventure activities, and a variety of unique wildlife.
Monteverde is one of our favorite places to visit in Costa Rica. We like to come here when we are looking to really immerse ourselves in nature and enjoy some cooler weather. We have visited Monteverde several times and have had the chance to participate in almost all the fun things to do here.
We compiled this list of 25 things to do in Monteverde to help you plan your perfect experience in this cloud forest town. This list has something for everyone from the thrilling adventure of bungee jumping to the relaxed experience of enjoying a spa day.
So, let’s get to planning your trip to Monteverde!
Our Top Picks Of Things to Do
For Something Unique: Climb Up Inside a Ficus Tree
For Relaxation: Visit a Day Spa
1. Hike The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest is the main attraction in Monteverde and a must-visit spot.
This lush forest is renowned for its cloud-covered canopy. It has somewhat of a a dreamy and mystical atmosphere.
At the reserve you can hike the numerous trails that wind through the dense cloud forest.
As you explore the reserve’s well-maintained trails, you’ll encounter a diversity of flora and fauna, including vibrant orchids, monkeys, and unique birds.
You can find out about admission, parking, opening hours and more in our Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Visitors Guide.
2. Walk Along Hanging Bridges
Monteverde is known for its amazing suspension bridges with dense cloud forest views. There are several places you can enjoy this, but our personal favorite is at Selvatura Adventure Park.
The Selvatura hanging bridge area consists of 1.9 miles of walking and 8 bridges ranging in length.
Just note, the website says it is a tour. It is actually a self-guided walk.
3. Go On Zip Lining Adventure
I feel like zip lining in Monteverde is kind of a must do activity. It’s just the perfect way to enjoy a unique view from above.
There are several zip lining companies in Monteverde that cater to different interests.
If you are looking for a crazy thrilling adventure, there is a place for you.
If you want something a little more tame, there is the option for that as well.
I suggest going through this list ↓ of the top zip-lining experiences on Viator and deciding which one is best for your particular interests.
4. Enjoy a Coffee, Chocolate, and Sugarcane Tour
We love this coffee, chocolate, and sugarcane tour because it is something people of all ages can enjoy.
On this tour, a guide will walk you through the process of producing these three products from bean to final treat. You will then have the chance to enjoy tons of delicious samples.
Also, the paths are paved, so if you have small children or trouble walking, you should be fine here.
5. Take a Guided Wildlife Night Tour
A guided wildlife night tour is the perfect way to see night active animals that you would likely never spot on your own. On your tour you might see snakes, brightly colored frogs, sloths, spiders, and more!
This tour includes transportation from your Monteverde area hotel, flashlights and an experienced bilingual naturalist guide.
The guides are well equipped with telescopic lenses so you can see far away animals easily. Plus, they do these tours almost every night and know exactly where the wildlife hang out.
This type of tour is not offered in most other parts of Costa Rica, so if you are interested in this, we definitely suggest Monteverde as the place to do it.
We have done this tour several times and have taken most of our family on the tour as well. It is an activity that people of all ages will enjoy.
You will need to be in moderate physical condition to walk through trails at night with a headlamp on, but it is not overly strenuous.
6. Climb a Giant Ficus Tree
This is a fun FREE activity you can do on your own. Head to this spot on Google Maps and walk into the woods until you see this massive ficus tree.
In the past you were able to climb all the way to the top, but I guess it is a bit of a safety risk. Now you can only climb up a bit and they blocked the rest with concrete.
But, it is still a really cool spot to check out!
7. Go Horseback Riding with Epic Views
Horseback riding along the hills near Monteverde is one of the most popular things to do in this area.
This adventure is done with an experienced guide and well-trained horses.
On a clear day you can see all the way to the Nicoya Peninsula and the Pacific Coast.
We don’t have a favorite tour option for this. Instead, we suggest referring to this list on TripAdvisor and choosing the company that most appeals to you.
8. Spot Birds with a Bird-Watching Tour
Monteverde is the perfect place to go birdwatching.
Because this is a cloud forest destination there are a lot of birds here that you can not see in other areas of Costa Rica.
For example, the most popular bird to look for is the Resplendent Quetzal. You might also see, hummingbirds, toucans, parakeets, and more!
We suggest participating in this tour as a private activity with Estaban. Estaban is an experienced guide who is excellent!
He is not only super nice, but he is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about birds. He will try his hardest to make sure you see tons of wildlife.
This tour doesn’t typically include transportation, but it can be arranged if you need. Instead, you will meet at Curi Cancha Reserve. From here you will explore the reserve and then go on to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve for more exploration.
In total, you will spend 4 to 5 hours birdwatching.
Also, just note that this tour does not include admission to both Curi Cancha Reserve and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. You will need to pay those separately.
If you would like a more budget-friendly bird-watching tour, we suggest a birdwatching tour at Curi Cancha Reserve with Roy. This is a small group tour that lasts about 2.5 hours.
9. Visit El Tigre Waterfall
El Tigre Waterfall is located about 30 minutes north of downtown Monteverde. This impressive area has several hiking trails and four amazing waterfalls.
Some of the trails are a bit strenuous, so it is good to keep that in mind when planning your trip.
It is possible to just drive to the waterfall, pay the admission, and experience it on your own; or you can get transportation from Monteverde.
Keep in mind that the admission is not cheap, but it includes lunch and a horseback ride up from the falls.
The most affordable way to arrange a day here is directly through the El Tigre Waterfall website.
10. Learn Traditional Cuisine with a Cooking Class
If you are interested in cooking and learning about traditional Costa Rican food, a cooking class is the perfect way to fully embrace that.
We HIGHLY recommend taking a cooking class with Yolanda at her family’s farm, Finca El Paraiso. You will learn to make bread and empanadas. And trust me, if you’ve never had empanadas before, you are in for a real treat!
Anyway, the best thing about this tour is Yolanda and her family. You might meet all of them while you are there. They are just so genuinely kind and will be happy to tell and show you everything about their farm.
This is really the perfect cultural experience.
Yolanda’s family at Finca El Paraiso actually has four cooking tours. We have only done the bread-making one, but I’ll list all 3 options for you because they all sound amazing.
11. Go on a Guided Nature Walk
A guided nature walk is always a great way to spot tons of wildlife, learn about all the flora and fauna, and even some history.
We like hiring a guide because not only are they knowledgeable and great at spotting animals, but they also carry a telescopic lens so that you have the opportunity to see animals hiding in the trees up close.
Our favorite group of guides in Monteverde are from Pasión Costa Rica.
With this tour, you have the option of choosing between hiking at the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Curi Cancha, Santa Elena Reserve or SkyWalk bridges.
Just note that your admission to the parks needs to be paid separately.
12. Visit the Monteverde Cheese Factory
A little history lesson for you, Monteverde first became popular when a group of Quakers from the United States moved to this area in the 1950’s. They began dairy farming here and the Monteverde Cheese Factory was born!
Before COVID it was possible to visit and tour the cheese production. However, that unfortunately is no longer possible.
We still suggest visiting though!
It is basically just a store, but you can buy some fresh cheese or ice cream made from milk from the Monteverde cows.
It’s a fun little stop that might even be on your way when traveling in the area.
13. Get a Drink Inside a Treehouse
In the downtown area of Monteverde, there is a restaurant that is aptly called Tree House Restaurante. This restaurant is built with a large tree in the middle of it.
I don’t really think the food is the best. There are much better places worth eating at in this town, but it is a fun place to go for the experience.
We suggest coming here for a cocktail or two to embrace the ambiance before moving on to another place for your meal.
14. Try Rappelling Down a Waterfall
Are you ready to go canyoning down the cliffside of a waterfall? This is one of the most absolutely thrilling adventures that you can do in Monteverde.
Some of the zip-lining companies offer rappelling as part of their zip-lining package, but these are not down a waterfall face.
To do this down a waterfall we suggest booking a tour through Finca Modelo.
15. Try Some Local Craft Beer
The Monteverde Brewing Company is located on the road to most of the zip-lining parks. So, it is a good place to stop for lunch and a beer after a morning of soaring over treetops.
The Belmar Craft Brewery is just a short detour from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve if you are heading back into the downtown area.
We like the relaxed vibe at Belmar. Plus it is located on a small pond, so it just feels peaceful.
16. Try Bungee Jumping
We haven’t actually gone bungee jumping in Monteverde, because we are wimpy. However, a friend of ours did this last year and had such a great time.
You will definitely experience the thrill of a lifetime here! This is actually the highest bungee jumping experience in all of Central America. It’s about 469 ft high (143 meters).
Rest assured, the robust cables and protective helmets ensure your safety. Also, the guides are well-trained and super helpful.
All equipment and entrance fees, as well as hotel transportation, are included.
17. Hike at La Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena
The La Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena is a private reserve with hiking trails. It is similar in some ways to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, but it has fewer trails (but also fewer tourists.
It is located next to a lot of the zip-lining parks, so we suggest a visit here in combination with your zip line adventure.
18. Visit the Colibri Cafe
If you visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, we definitely suggest stopping at Colibri Cafe after.
This cafe is located just outside the entrance to the reserve and is the perfect place for a warm cup of coffee or lunch.
The best part however is all the hummingbirds. They have set up hummingbird feeders all over the outside of the building so you can watch the hummingbirds eat while you eat.
19. Walk Along the Base of a Ficus Bridge
Near the downtown of Monteverde, there is a piece of private property that has a ficus tree that looks like a bridge. This is a private property, so you do have to pay a few dollars to enter.
I think it is a cool thing to just see. You probably won’t spend much time here, but because it is such a short walk from the downtown area we seem to always take people here as a little walk after lunch.
20. Try Your Hand at Milking Cows
This is the perfect experience for families with young kids.
With this tour, you will need to drive to El Terruño de los Torres farm in Monteverde.
Here you will take a private tour of the farm, you’ll participate in milking cows, collect eggs, and then eat a delish breakfast made with fresh ingredients.
It’s a great way to show kids where their food comes from!
This tour begins at 7:00am and lasts for about 80 minutes (including breakfast).
21. Enjoy the Sunset Views
It is easy to get spoiled with sunset views in Costa Rica along the Pacific Coast, but places with high elevation (like Monteverde) can also provide epic sunset views.
It is a nice change of scenery to have green cloud forest hills as your backdrop instead of the ocean.
Last time we were in Monteverde during dry season we captured this amazing rainbow just before the sun went down.
22. Transfer to La Fortuna by Boat
This is not really a fun thing to do in Monteverde, more of a fun way to get to La Fortuna.
A lot of people like to visit both towns on a trip to Costa Rica because each features a unique jungle experience.
La Fortuna and Monteverde are close to each other on a map, but in reality, it takes almost three hours to drive between the two towns because of Lake Arenal.
However, if you don’t have a rental car, a fun way to transfer is by boat.
A shuttle will pick you up in Monteverde and drive you to the shores of Lake Arenal. From there you will get on a boat with your luggage to the other side of the lake.
It’s a beautiful ride because you get to enjoy the backdrop of the Arenal Volcano along the way.
On the other side of Lake Arenal, you will hop in another shuttle that will take you to your hotel in La Fortuna.
23. Enjoy a Treetop Dining Experience
San Lucas Treetop Dining is truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. If you are on your honeymoon or looking for a romantic splurge of a dinner, this is the place to do it.
Basically, this restaurant consists of eight private dining areas in glass boxes that are raised 50 ft in the air.
You will then enjoy a nine-course menu with a focus on local ingredients.
The experience lasts about 2.5 hours.
They are happy to accommodate any allergies or food aversions, you just need to make sure to include that information while booking.
24. Go Souvenir Shopping Downtown
The downtown area of Monteverde is dotted with small shops featuring tons of souvenirs. Here you can buy everything from t-shirt, to magnets, to indigenous masks.
In our opinion, if you are looking for a good souvenir, coffee or Costa Rican chocolate are always a good option.
25. Enjoy a Spa Experience
Sometimes after a long hike you just really need a relaxing massage and spa experience.
Our go-to place in Monteverde for this is Hotel Belmar. You do not need to be a guest at the hotel to book a massage.
They offer deep tissue massages, hot stone massages, couples massages, and more!
We suggest just giving the hotel a call and they can help schedule something for you. Alternatively, you can fill in the request form on their site. But, calling and booking will be faster.
And that is the entire list of 25 things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica. However, if you plan to visit this area there are a few other things you should know. Let’s go through all the details!
Where to Stay in Monteverde
Sometimes people ask us if they should visit Monteverde or Santa Elena. They are actually basically the same place. Typically people refer to this area as Monteverde.
The main downtown area where all the hotels and restaurants are is actually called Santa Elena.
So in other words, Monteverde is basically the county and Santa Elena is the town.
I suggest staying somewhat close to downtown Santa Elena. The town itself is small and not overly hectic.
It is great central jumping off point for all activities and most restaurants are somewhat condensed to this area.
A few hotels we like are:
Monteverde Lodge & Gardens– Beautiful rooms in a unique jungle setting. There is a restaurant and the staff are happy to organize day tours for guests.
Chira Glamping– It is hard to describe this place because it is just so unique. Picture your own private yurt-like dome with a private bathroom and a beautiful jungle view. There is a shared kitchen on-site for guests to use.
Camino Verde Bed and Breakfast: This place is newly done and looks beautiful. Breakfast is included and there is a communal kitchen that guests can use.
Los Pinos Lodge & Gardens– Every cottage has a private kitchen and balcony. The property is great for exploring.
Hostel Cattleya– Nice hostel with private rooms and shared dorms. There is also a shared kitchen for guests.
Greenmount Hotel: The owners here are the sweetest. The perfect place for budget private accommodations.
What to Eat in Monteverde
Some of our favorite restaurant in Monteverde are:
Restaurant Celajas– Amazingly fresh food served with a view. A great date spot.
The Green Room – This is a great dinner spot. They do excellent burgers and steaks, but their menu has a variety of other options as well.
Restaurante Thomas & Thiago– Delicious restaurant with a bit of everything on their menu.
Soda La Amistad – Great place for affordable typical Costa Rican cuisine.
Weather in Monteverde
Monteverde is a cloud forest town, so even during the dry season (December through late April) it can sometimes be rainy.
Typically during the dry season, you will have mostly dry days and a lot of wind. Unike other areas of the country it doesn’t usually get too dried and dead-looking here because there is still a bit of rain.
From late April until late November, you can expect more consistent rain, with heavy rain in the later part of the year.
In our opinion, this heavy rain really adds to the charm of the area, so don’t let it deter you.
However, keep in mind that this area tends to be a lot cooler than other parts of the country. Pack those long pants and warm shirts. And definitely don’t forget your rain gear!
Other Things to Note About Monteverde
Things May Appear Close, But….
Unfortunately, as of now, there is no way to drive between Monteverde and these places. Instead, you will need to go all the way around Lake Arenal.
I have heard rumors that a road is being built between the Children’s Eternal Forest to make this drive much quicker, but I have no idea when that will be completed.
Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance is not just for illness or injury, but also lost luggage, delayed trips, and more!
We like Heymondo for Costa Rica travel insurance.
Do You Have Travel Insurance?
Don’t let unexpected medical expenses or trip interruptions overshadow your dream Costa Rican vacation.
In general, Monteverde is a safe area. However, as with all of Costa Rica, petty theft sometimes occurs.
It is best to not leave anything of value unattended (this includes locked in your car) and not be overly flashy with anything of value.
Keep in mind that Monteverde is located in the mountains. It is a much higher altitude than the beach towns.
I say this because it is easy to overdo it here when hiking. You might think “oh thats an easy walk” but find yourself getting short of breath quickly.
So, take it easy!
Conclusion: Things to Do in Monteverde Costa Rica
In conclusion, there are TONS of things to do in Monteverde for all budgets and interests. You’ll love this area no matter what your travel budget or adventure level.
If you have any questions about planning your trip and things to do in Monteverde, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!
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