Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves is a city in Puntarenas.
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. If you are on a budget, there are 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.
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. 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 in the Selvatura complex (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
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 womens' 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.
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.
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, . confortable accommodations just minutes from Monteverde Cloud Forest and other natural attractions. For your comfort all suites at El Sapo Dorado offer 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 RicaEl Sapo Dorado restaurant is known for the creativity, variety, flavor, freshness, and presentation of our food from breakfast to dinner. Our 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, . Monteverde Cloud Forest Hotel Costa Rica Hotel el Establo "El Establo hotel " is situated in the heart of the touristic zone of Monteverde 7 kms from the Santa Elena Rain Forest and 4 kms from the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Quaker friendship awaits you in our hotel, 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 reserve come and enjoy this luxury hotel We invite you to spend your vacations in Monteverde at Hotel el Establo we offer Standar rooms, Junior Suites, Suites and honeymmon suites We are always ready to help you please contacts for further info, with us you want have any problem to find monteverde places to stay, come and enjoy the luxury and comfort of this mountain hotel in monteverde Costa Rica luxury hotel
- Trapp Family Lodge, ☎ 786-8379198, . he Trapp Family Lodge is 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 Costa Rica LOCATION In the heart of Monteverde cloud forest , you are always very welcome to stay in the Trapp Family Lodge, the closest hotel to the beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve U S A Number 786-8379198 FACILITIES: The Trapp Family Lodge boasts of a comfortable rustic atmosphere where you will enjoy a truly wonderful and peaceful stay. You will always get a warm attention right from the Trapp's family. The Trapp Family Lodge is a wonderful choice for a great vacation surrounded by a paradise of flora and fauna. You will be able to enjoy Monteverde incomparable beauty. We have a great bar and a family style restaurant with a view through huge picture windows overlooking the great Monteverde Cloud Forest . In tribute to the majestic surrounding forest, the Trapp family Lodge has carefully used the beautiful tropical woods in its construction and furniture. Toll Free 866 2557476 U S A 786-8379198 CR Fax: (506) 2460-6796 U S A Fax: (815) 377-3909 firstname.lastname@example.org www.trappfamilylodgecr.com
- Pensión Santa Elena is the cheapest option in town, and is located in the middle of Santa Elena. Prices fluctuate but are never high.
- Casa Tranquilo is a hostel for budget travelers. $7 to $10 per person.
- Arco Iris Lodge is a mid-range hotel at $20 - $30 per person.
- Sapo Dorado and Fonda Vela are top-range hotels, at $100 per night.
- 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.
Go to the beach or to the nearest destination - Arenal Volcano & Fortuna.