Cloud Forest at monteverde
Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves are in Central Pacific.
The cheapest way to get to Monteverde is by bus, but you may also choose to use the Taxi Boat Taxi option if you are coming from "La Fortuna" and Arenal Volcano area.
You may also choose to get a rental car. The roads within Santa Elena are now paved, but only as far as the gas station. The road to the reserve is not paved. Renting a car is thus not such a bad idea, but make sure that is is 4WD.
There are also private transportation companies that offer private transfers in a private vehicle. There are also shuttle services that charge around $29.00 per person from anywhere in the country. Be aware that these are not private, and sometimes utilize window vans that are packed like sardines.
Beware of pickpockets on the public bus. Don't put your back pack in the overhead rack.
There are several Taxi companies, and local bus services are going up and down the hill every 2 hours every day. Many of the activities in the area are in walking distance. The ones further away have free transportation included in their price.
The most scenic parts of Monteverde are at the Trocha in San Luis, at the Ventana in the Monteverde Reserve or at the Mirador in the Santa Elena Reserve. Mist and clouds often obscure these views.
Monteverde's appeal centers around its scenery and nature. Many ecosystems exist in the numerous reserves, such as Bajo del Tigre, the Santa Elena Reserve, the Bosque Eterno de los Niños and the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
A major industry is the zip-line business, and there are several choices, including the mediocre Original Canopy Tour, the good Sky Trek and the stellar Selvatura Park. These "canopy tours" offer a good albeit fast look at the canopy from dizzying heights.
Minor attractions include:
- the Bat Jungle, with live bats, museum & an Argentinean restaurant
- the Frog Pond, which affords a decent look at the numerous local amphibian species
- the Butterfly Garden in Cerro Plano
- the far superior Victorian-style Butterfly Garden at Selvatura Park (ask a guide)
- the astounding Insect Museum in the same complex
- the San Luis waterfall
- the very interesting Bajo del Tigre night walk (guarantees tarantula and sloth sightings)
- the Monteverde Cheese Factory
- horseback riding... All Day Cowboy Ride and San Luis Waterfall Ride exciting alternative options to the normal 2.5 hour rides
- UGA Costa Rica Campus, San Luis de Monteverde, ☎ (506) 2645-8049, . Visit the San Luis Botanical Garden with arboretum trails and 75 species of medicinal plants; Resident Naturalists offer day and night-time natural history walks through forest trails; participate in UGA Costa Rica's Carbon Offset Program and help reforest with native species; stop in and enjoy a cup of coffee or fresh, cold juice and a meal after hiking to the San Luis waterfall!
All throughout the main drag of Santa Elena, T-Shirts, shot glasses and other standard tourist fares are sold. Coffee products are sold throughout town as well, though the Coffee Roaster in Monteverde is particularly noteworthy. A women's art commune, CASEM, is a good place to look for wooden wares and a variety of rainforest themed stuffed animals, but is not cheap. Cerro Plano also boasts a South American clothing store, which is relatively cheap but certainly not Costa Rican. Overall, Monteverde souvenirs are tourist-geared kitsch, however.
- Marvin Anchia (Horse Trek Monteverde), Santa Elena, Monteverde, Costa Rica (Santa Elena Center with Desafio Adventure Company), ☎ 506-2645-5874, . 5-7. Howrseback Riding in Monteverde Costa Rica. From 2.5 hours to the exciting new All Day Cowboy Ride and San Luis Horseback Ride. Good horses, fantastic scenery.
Go to downtown Santa Elena to get the best food. Sophias Restaurant has really exotic food, and the new restaurant at the top of the Monteverde History Museum, Tramonti is great for italian food. Fried chicken next to the bank in Santa Elena.
- Panaderia Jimenez, San Elena and Canitas. The Panaderia Jimenez on Santa Elena's main street has delicious bread, pastries, coffee, and more at budget prices. Stop by for breakfast or a snack for the trail or bus ride. Their products are both served at restaurants and on the store shelf throughout the region.
Bar Amigos is the premier place for Ticos and tourists to mingle. Beers are ¢700, but expect an occasional ¢1000 cover charge. Service is mediocre but the food is great.
The Guarida del Sapo is a more upscale and much more expensive locale, with beers going at a criminal ¢1200. However, the service is amazing and the music is never as loud as Bar Amigos.
The Unicornio is a locals only spot for the most part, with beers at ¢700 and (hilariously bad) karaoke most every night. Proceed to Unicornio with prudence and trepidation; you're likely to stick out here as a tourist of any kind.
The Bromelias souvenir shop sometimes converts into a bar with great live music, but this is rare. Beers here are also ¢700, but Bromelias is by and large the best place to drink when it's functional.
- Hotel Sapo Dorado, . Comfortable accommodations just minutes from Monteverde Cloud Forest and other natural attractions. $100.
- Casa Tranquilo, . The Ultimate Backpacker Experience, FREE internet, FREE breakfast, Large rooms for 8$ per person. The Owner David speaks perfect english and is willing to help you organize your trip.
- El Sapo Dorado offers private entrance and porch, private bath with hot water shower, 2 queen-sized beds with orthopedic mattresses, versatile lighting, and a table and chairs for writing, playing games, or enjoying room service. Monteverde Costa Rica El Sapo Dorado restaurant is known for the creativity, variety, flavor, freshness, and presentation of our food from breakfast to dinner. The menu always includes a choice of whole grains, vegetarian and vegan dishes, pastas, seafood, chicken, as well as beef, pork, and decadent desserts. Organic produce is used whenever possible.
- Hotel el Establo, ☎ (506)2460-4697, . In the heart of the touristic zone of Monteverde 7 km from the Santa Elena Rain Forest and 4 km from the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Set in a private 150 acres farm (50% protected primary forest) adjacent to the Monteverde Reserve, from here you can arrange one day hiking tour to the monteverde cloud forest.
- Trapp Family Lodge, ☎ 305-712-5634 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The closest lodge to the Monteverde Reserve Costa Rica, a 15 minute walk, great for bird watching. This cozy new 20-room inn pays tribute to its setting with beautiful tropical wood appointments, private balcony in each guest room, and a family-style restaurant fronted by huge picture windows and a balcony overlooking gardens and verdant rain forest. Set in a small private reserve, the lodge is ideal for families or anyone appreciative of a warm, homey atmosphere and a convenient location just a few minutes walk from the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
- Pensión Santa Elena is the cheapest option in town, and is located in the middle of Santa Elena. Prices fluctuate but are never high.
- Arco Iris Lodge is a mid-range hotel at $20 - $30 per person.
- Monteverde hotel - Fondavela Hotel Fondavela provide luxurious accommodations in harmony with the surrounding beauty of nature. The Fonda Vela hotel proximity to the world famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve makes this luxurious eco-lodge a favorite with bird watchers who can see the rare Resplendent Quetzals and Three-wattled Bell Birds.
- Sleepers Sleep Cheaper Hostel , 200 m south of Bus Stop, in front of World of Insects. Another cheap option from $5 to $10 includes breakfast and internet access.
- Montelena Hostel, ☎ (506)-2645-6559, . An excellent and economic option for backpackers. Singles for 12 USD per night. The place operates as a hostel and an information center (English spoken). The hostel offers free internet, kitchen, and breakfast.
- Ecolodge San Luis at the UGA Costa Rica Campus, San Luis de Monteverde, ☎ (506) 2645-8049, . (www.ugacostarica.com) The University of Georgia operates a 155-acre campus in San Luis, including the 12-room Ecolodge San Luis. Ideal for tourists interested in an educational, nature-based experience. Internet and wi-fi, but NO television or phones in rooms! Hot water and private bathrooms. Meals and a variety of on-site activities included in nightly rate. Neighboring the San Luis waterfall and adjacent to the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, this is the ideal place to stay in the Monteverde area when you don't want to stay in the middle of the tourism development. $64-102.
- Camino Verde Bed & Breakfast (Camino Verde Bed & Breakfast), 300m Sw of the Supermarket, Santa Elena, Monteverde (From the central Bus Station walk Southwest. At the Supermarket follow the sign straight down the dirt road for 300m. ( We are next to Tina's Casitas)), ☎ (506)26456849, . checkin: 1:00 pm; checkout: 11am. Camino Verde B&B is a "Bed and Breakfast" style lodging opened in 2009 and located on the edge of Santa Elena. Although Camino Verde B&B is part of chain of 3 accommodations in Monteverde it remains very much a family-run business. Even the owner's 12 year old daughter can often be found mucking in! The B&B is laid out in the style of a family house and guests are encouraged to treat it as their home. The building was in fact once the owner's family home which gave inspiration to this 'Tica House' designed hotel. The B&B is situated a 5 minute walk from the town centre of Santa Elena, but is far enough away for it to be quiet and have more rural surroundings. This is the perfect option for those who crave the quiet side of the countryside but who require the amenities provided in a town. Facilities... Camino Verde B&B comprises private rooms which sleep 2 to 4 guests. Four of the rooms have shared bathroom facilities and the rest are en suite. For the rooms with private bathroom the prices are $25 for one person, $35 for a double, triple $45 and quadruple $55. Rooms with shared bathroom costs $15 for a single and $20 for a double. All prices include breakfast and tax. Camino Verde backs onto Tina's Casitas and is run by the same people, which offers even cheaper private rooms and dorms ($6). There is a kitchen and a communal area here which B&B guests are welcome to use. Here there is a computer with internet connection, plus Wifi is available for guests with routers in the communal areas of both the B&B and Tina's Casitas. Breakfast is free for all guests and is served from 6am until 9am. However the staff are very flexible and an earlier breakfast or packed-breakfast can be arranged if you have an early morning tour, just give them prior warning the evening before. There are three options for breakfast: the first is the typical Tico dish of eggs, rice and beans and toast; the second is fried or scrambled eggs with toast; the third is a fruit platter served with toast. Real coffee and orange juice is also available for every guest. Check-out time is 10am but guests are welcome to use the communal areas all day if they have a late bus to catch. Camino Verde also offers a luggage storage service. The friendly staff on reception are also experienced tour agents so can give out impartial advice on all the local companies. Furthermore they can share their countrywide knowledge of Costa Rica and organise any ongoing travel. Upon arrival at the hotel they give all guests a map of Monteverde and mark out all the different tours and activities that various companies offer in the area. This way guests learn about what is available to them and can suss out how long they might like to stay for. If required they can create "pick and mix" packages of various activities to suit each individual. Please let us know if you need any help on getting to Monteverde! We can help you arrange a Shuttle or a Taxi Boat Taxi if your coming from Arenal, For example, the taxi boat taxi is $25 a person and Shuttle from San Jose to Monteverde is $39 p.p Also, Just to let you know, there are a lot of fun things to to here, and since we have an Info-Center we can help you arrange anything with great discounts! Prices you will find online will be higher, and availability wont be a problem, so there`s no need to book tours in advance. Let us know if you have any questions about the B&B or on things to do! Advice about arrival time. Check out at 10am Credit Card Facilities. 17.5 p.p. (10.315365,-84.826735)
Go to the beach or to the nearest destination - Arenal Volcano & Fortuna.