The Best Things to do in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve & Why You Need to Visit

Ready to discover the best things to do in Monteverde Cloud Forest? Here’s why you need to visit this incredible biological preserve in Costa Rica.

Whether you like your trips filled with nature, fun, or indulging in local culture, there’s something for every kind of traveller in this guide. Oh, and don’t forget to take a ride on the Monteverde Cloud Forest Zipline – it’s a must.

Let’s explore!

About the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve

Costa Rica rain forest

We’re sure you’ve all seen the beautiful videos of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve – a lush green forest spanning 35,089 acres of the country, encompassing an impressive 8 life zones. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Costa Rica.

With more than 100 species of mammals, 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 400 species of birds, it’s one of the most diverse ecosystems in the entire world.

And, what’s more, it’s one of the only remaining habitats in the world to still support all six species of the cat family – jaguars, ocelots, pumas, oncillas, margays, and jaguarundis – as well as the endangered three-wattled bellbird and resplendent quetzal (she’s a beauty).

In other words, it’s a must-visit on any Central American trip – after all, it’s not too far from the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, and getting there via a bus is a breeze.

Best Things to do in Monteverde Cloud Forest

Brave The Hanging Bridges

Hanging Bridge, Costa Rica

The Hanging Bridges are what Monteverde Cloud Forest is most famous for – the iconic, a-little-bit-rickety-looking bridges that sit high up in the trees and make for the perfect viewpoint of the lush vegetation below.

From here, you’ll have the best chance possible to spot monkeys and other shy creatures of the forest, and you’ll also get given the lowdown on the forest’s ecosystem and existing wildlife.

The best part? The hike is a really easy 2 miles, made up of pretty flat terrain – nearly anyone can do it, regardless of fitness levels.

Take an Independent Hike

If you’d rather pass on a guided tour and would prefer to explore the forest at your own pace, we recommend one of these gorgeous hiking trails.

Our favourite is the Circuito Del Rio tour, a moderate option that takes around 2 hours to complete – though feel free to take rests for photo opportunities and wildlife viewing!

If you’re looking for a shorter (and easier) option, the Quebrada Cuecha Cascada is a beautiful hike that takes you past an impressive waterfall near the fringes of the jungle.

See the Forest at Night

Toad at night, Costa Rica

Yeah, the Monteverde Cloud Forest is pretty impressive during the day. But, when the sun sets… it’s safe to say that things get a little bit more magical. In fact, the evening is the best time to visit if you’re a lover of wildlife as it’s when the likes of sloths, owls, frogs, and tarantulas come out to play.

Your friendly guide will lead you along one of the many trails inside the Cloud Forest so that you can listen to the jungle sounds and spot plenty of nocturnal creatures scurrying around.

This is a truly unforgettable experience and a highly recommended inclusion to your Costa Rican bucket list.

Seek Thrills on an Adventure Tour

If the Monteverde Cloud Forest Hanging Bridges don’t get your heart racing on their own, why not opt for an adventure tour to really get the adrenaline pumping?

With more than 8 ziplines, high ropes (with 17 different elements to tackle!), and rappelling all available deep inside the jungle, there’s absolutely no way you’ll feel bored on this trip.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Zipline is particularly famous – and pretending you’re Superman as you whizz past the canopy is highly encouraged. Go on, be brave.

See the Forest From Above on a Sky Tram Full-Day Tour

Monteverde cloud forest, Costa Rica

Itching to see Monteverde Cloud Forest from an entirely new perspective? The Sky Tram and Hanging Bridges Trip might be a little bit of a splurge, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you need to embark on whilst you’re in Costa Rica.

Not only will you get to observe the verdant forest from above, but you’ll also be treated to panoramic views of mountains, farms, and the glittering Puntarenas coastline.

This specific tour includes lunch in the town of Monteverde and a visit to the “Monkey Lady House”, where you’ll come face-to-face with adorable white-faced monkeys.

Afterward, you’ll board the Sky Tram, where gorgeous views await you – before your guide takes you on a three-hour tour of the Monteverde Sky Walk Hanging Bridges.

Visit Coffee, Chocolate, and Sugar Cane Plantation

Another excellent thing to do in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Region is to visit one of the many coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane plantations in the area. It allows you to get a deeper insight into the local culture, as well as a sneak peek of the hard work that goes into some of our favourite snacks.

You’ll learn how the ingredients are grown, harvested, and transformed into the products on our shelves. You’ll also be glad to know that, during these tours, samples are heartily encouraged and handed out at any given opportunity.

Visit the Nearby La Reserva Bosque Nuboso, Santa Elena

Suspension bridge, Costa Rica

While it used to be a little bit of a hidden gem, Monteverde Cloud Forest is no longer a secret. So, if you fancy escaping the crowds, it’s well worth popping over to the nearby  La Reserva Bosque Nuboso, Santa Elena. 

Just like Monteverde Cloud Forest, La Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena is filled with so many cool hiking trails that wind through dense forests and past cascading waterfalls. 

This is also an incredible spot for wildlife lovers, as it’s an ideal place to spot the rare resplendent quetzal, the black guan, and the three-wattled bellbird. Or, you can opt for a nighttime tour to spot the forest’s nocturnal creatures, such as kinkajous, armadillos, and various species of bats.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: What to Know Before You Go

Waterfall in Monteverde, Costa Rica

How to get to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Don’t worry if you don’t want to rent a car – it’s pretty straightforward to get to Monteverde Cloud Forest. You’ll want to fly into either San José or Liberia, and stay in Santa Elena, Cerro Plano or Monteverde. From here, there are plenty of taxis available and you might just be able to hail an Uber.

Where to stay in Monteverde Cloud Forest

When it comes to Monteverde Cloud Forest hotels, we’ve got a couple of top picks. Hotel Selina is an ultra-cool hostel/hotel hybrid that’s ideal for digital nomads or younger travellers, while the sweeping views from Trapp Family Lodge are pretty hard to beat.

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