Monteverde in the northwest of Costa Rica is the perfect place to head if you’re in need of a nature break with a little bit of adrenaline thrown in. The incredible Monteverde cloud forest that surrounds the town means there is no shortage of activities to keep you busy for a few days. From zip lining to hanging bridges and some of the tastiest food in the country, here are the top things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica. Hiking boots at the ready!
1. Climb the incredible fiscus tree
Climbing the amazing fiscus tree (known locally as a choking fig) is one of the best free things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica. And even though it was free I have to say it was amongst my favourite Monteverde activities. This insanely cool, and brutal tree actually grows around another tree and slowly sucks the life out of the poor bugger. Then once the first tree dies and rots away you’re left with this incredible maze of limbs that enable you to climb all the way to the top from the inside! This is definitely worth a visit, for the photos alone!
HOW TO GET TO THE FISCUS TREE: There is also a Fiscus Tree that you pay to visit so make sure you follow these instructions to see the free one. The free Fiscus Tree is a short walk from the centre of town. From the restaurant Rico y Tico head up the hill past Hammock House Hostel. Once you pass a hostel called Eddy’s Place turn right up the next street. Keep walking up the very steep hill until you see a little path that turns right into the woods. Follow the path until you see the huge Fiscus Tree that looks really easy to climb. There are a few out there so it can be confusing. The tree can also be found on maps.me and Google Maps.
2. stuff your face at taco taco
I was literally stunned when I stumbled across some of the best Tex Mex tacos I’d ever eaten in Costa Rica of all places. Taco Taco is a cool and quirky Monteverde restaurant serving a few select and delicious Mexican dishes like burritos, tacos and nachos all with an incredible housemade salsa. I went for the slow-roasted beef tacos with cabbage and mango salsa. Served with corn chips and salsa they were absolutely delicious and affordable too at just $2,900 CRC ($about $6 USD) for two tacos and sides!
HOW TO GET TO TACO TACO: Taco Taco is a little hidden. However, if you head to the entrance of the main supermarket and look down the street you’ll see a big sign for Taco Taco. Just follow that sign and taco heaven is not far away.
COST: $6 USD+
3. Sail To New Heights on the 100% Adventura zip lines
The canopy tour at 100% Adventura features some of the best zip lines in Costa Rica. And two hours speeding across these sturdy lines above the incredible Monteverde Cloud forest is definitely one of the top things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica. I was pretty much freaking out prior to my morning of zip lining with 100% Adventura. They have the longest zip line in the Latina America (1 km long) and a 30 meter high Tarzan swing with a 3-second free fall. On top of this, the two longest zip lines are Superman zip lines, where you actually feel like you’re flying over the cloud forest.
I’m not great with heights so you can see how this might sound like a nightmare. However, when I got there the absolute professionalism put my mind totally at ease. There is at least one guide at every station clipping you on and off, a thorough safety briefing and the staff are so cheerful, funny and willing to have a laugh with you, you hardly even think about the fact that you’re hanging by a few cables 50 meters above dense jungle. And you know what? I wasn’t even scared, I actually had the best time. I even jumped off the edge of the Tarzan swing without thinking twice. Perhaps it’s time for me to think about bungee jumping? If you do one canopy tour in Costa Rica. This is it!
HOW TO GET TO 100% ADVENTURA: Like most Monteverde Costa Rica activities transport is included in the price of your ticket. Tours run at 8 am, 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm and the transport will pick you up from you Monteverde hotel or hostel around 30 minutes prior. You can book your tour with 100% Adventura here.
COST: $50 USD
4. Spend the morning exploring the hanging bridges at Selvatura Park
The Hanging Bridges at Selvatura Park were something I’d wanted to do since I first researched the top things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica. The images are absolutely incredible. And in real life walking the hanging bridges at Selvatura Park did not disappoint! As part of the tour, you explore a 3 km trail with breathtaking views of the canopy. And you really get to see all aspects of the Monteverde Cloud Forest; from the dense jungle; to the bushy leaves of the trees to waking on air through the clouds with the incredible forest below. Selvatura Park is also a lovely place to spend a morning. It has Latin America’s largest Butterfly Garden with over 30 species of butterflies; a Reptile and Amphibian Exhibition, with a tonne of Costa Rica’s snakes, frogs, and lizards; as well as a hummingbird garden; and their very own set of zip lines.
HOW TO GET TO SELVATURA PARK: Transport is included in the price of your ticket. Tours run at 8:30 am, 11 am and 1 pm and the transport will pick you up from you Monteverde hotel or hostel around 30 minutes prior. You can book your tour with Selvatura Park here.
COST: $30 + USD
5. Eat All The Vegan And Vegetarian Treats At Paz Y FLores
Now I’m not Vego or Vegan but I do really enjoy a good veggie feed every once in a while. It just so happened I met a lovely girl from Melbourne in my hostel who was Vegan and on the bus on the way back from Selvatura Park our driver Alberto was telling us his sister owned a vegan restaurant. Well, we decided we had to try it. And we weren’t disappointed. Head to Paz y Flores for a Vego/Vegan take on traditional Costa Rican food and some delicious juice. If you’re thinking for the top things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica add this to your list.
HOW TO GET TO PAZ Y FLOR: Paz y Flor is located down the road past Taco Taco. Keep walking and after you cross the bridge take a right.
COST: $10 + USD
6. Hike through one of the cloud forests
If you’re wondering what to do in Monteverde Costa Rica, a hike through one of the cloud forests is a must. There are two main options to choose from; The Monteverde Cloud Forest; and Santa Elena Cloud Forest. Monteverde Cloud Forest Costa Rica is definitely the most famous of the two and for that reason, it can get very crowded. The entry is also more expensive than the other two at $20 USD. However, it is
Monteverde Cloud Forest Costa Rica is definitely the most famous of the two and for that reason, it can get very crowded. The entry is also more expensive than the other two at $20 USD. However, it is the original and holds over 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds over 4,000 hectares.It also has a hanging bridge so it’s a good choice if you’re not doing any tours.
The Santa Elena Cloud forest is slightly cheaper with the entry costing $14 USD. It’s wetter and colder than Monteverde due to its elevation. However, this means it’s so so green with moss clinging to everything. It also has a fantastic view of Arenal Volcano. I chose to go with Santa Elena National Park and had a lovely morning traipsing around the trails. I saw barely anyone which was refreshing, however, given it was October it was extremely muddy and wet so there weren’t many animals around.
HOW TO GET TO THE CLOUD FORESTS Your Monteverde hotel or hostel should be able to organise transport for you through both of the forests. It will cost around $2 USD each way
COST: $18 + USD
Read more about Which Cloud Forest You Should Visit.
7. Tuck In To Monteverde’s best breakfast at cafe Orchid
It’s not often you find a breakfast that could rival Melbourne cafes in Central America. However, Orchid Cafe is the perfect spot for fellow Aussies to head when they are feeling a little homesick and just want a spot of brunch. And with menu items like homemade granola with cranberries and walnuts, crepes with eggs, cheese and smoky bacon and one of the best Eggs Beni I’ve tasted this is definitely one of the top things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica.
HOW TO GET TO ORCHID CAFE: Orchid Cafe can be found on the way to the main bus station, about 2 minutes past the National Bank
WHERE TO STAY IN MONTEVERDE: I stayed at hammock house which was a smaller hostel but very homely and welcoming. The owners were also awesome at helping you out with anything you needed to book. THey also served the most generous free breakfast I’ve had in Costa Rica. Eggs with either Gallo pinto or pancakes, and as much fruit, cereal and yoghurt as you like. Along with juice and coffee.
To check the latest rates and availability HERE.
DAILY BUDGET in Monteverde Costa Rica: Costa Rica is definitely a lot more expensive than everywhere else in Central America. My Daily budget here was around $60 USD. However, you could save money by skipping the tours. But they really are some of the top things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica.
How to get to Monteverde costa Rica: There are two buses every day from san Jose station 7/10 to Monteverde. One at 6:30 AM and 2:30 pm. The trip takes about 4 hours and will cost you about $6 USD. You can also take a DIRECT SHUTTLE, however, it still takes about 4 hours and will set you back $50 USD.
All over the top things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica And Want more of central America?
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