Monteverde is famous for a reason—its cloud forests are brimming with plants and animals, its zip lines and suspension bridges are the longest (and most exciting) in the country, and its coffee is tasty, local and cheap. Each of these diversions – as well as countless other activities – can be enjoyed through a number of exciting tours.
These professionally run tours are both educational and entertaining, and ensure that participants will walk away with more knowledge and more fun than they walked in with.
A tour of Monteverde’s cloud forests promises all this and more. Plainly speaking, these forests are the area’s crown gem, the main reason that most people assent to the grueling car ride up the road leading to Monteverde. The fact of the matter is, however, the trip is well worth it.
MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST RESERVE
Owned by the Tropical Scientific Center, a leader private organization on environmental studies and tropical conservation; the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve covers an area of more than 5.000 hectares. It was established in 1974, thanks to the efforts of Wilford Guindon, one of the first Quaker settlers and biologist George Powell. It is an area of extraordinary beauty and one of the more exuberant ecosystems on the planet.
SANTA ELENA CLOUD FOREST RESERVE
Private non-profit reserve administrated by the Santa Elena High School. It is dedicated to nature conservation, ecotourism and all profits go to the improvement of regional education. Located high on the Caribbean slopes of the Cordillera de Tilarán (5, 000 feet, 1,500 m), the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the first community managed reserves in the country. The Reserve officially opened in March 1992. It comprises an area of 310 hectares or 765 acres, and together with the Children's Eternal Rainforest, the Arenal-Tempisque Conservation Area and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve constitutes a contiguous conservation area of approximately 28,000 hectares or 69,000 acres.
CHILDREN'S ETERNAL RAIN FOREST
The Monteverde Conservation League (MCL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the tropical forest. Founded in 1986 in Monteverde, the MCL began a land purchase campaign to conserve the tropical forest. Currently, the organization has achieved the formation of the largest private reserve in Costa Rica: The Children's Eternal Rain Forest (CERF). This has been possible thanks to the support of children, adults, schools and organizations around the world.
Stands for “Comite de Artesanas de Santa Elena y Monteverde”. At the women´s artist coop in Monteverde you can find handcrafted souvenirs such as stationery, jewelry and t-shirts decorated with the Famous Quetzal.
Monteverde is the capital of the canopy tours in Costa Rica, and was the first place where this activity became a tourist attraction. This is a new and exiting way to explore the forest’s last frontier: its canopy, where the abundance of life forms and interactions reaches its climax.
There are at least 6 different canopy tours in the area, featuring the new Tarzan swings, rappels, hanging bridges, look out points and more. Some tours offer the longest cables in the area; others use towers that rise above the canopy for greater views and lengths, the sky tram brings you to the top of the continental divide, from where the cable lines start. Some provide transportation; some offer other attractions at their facilities and all of them cater for safety and fun.
SUSPENSION BRIDGES TOUR
If you’d ratter keep your feet on the ground, but still want to experience the beauty of the Canopy, we recommend you one of the hanging bridges tours. There are different companies that offer a natural history walk on a forest trail passing by a series of hanging bridges. The walk ways are firmly anchored and completely safe, from there you can appreciate the changes on the forest’s levels, plant interactions and wildlife can be easily observed. Transportation is provided and tours range from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Local Monteverde families are directly benefited by the conservation of their forest land. Small private reserves have been established on the SW flank of the mountains. Visitors can experience the magic of the forest at dusk. These reserves are located on a lower elevation, where second growth forest is less dense and chances to spot wildlife are greater.
The rich soils of Monteverde are ideal for the production of Coffee. Since decades ago, local families have dedicated their lives to the cultivation of our “grano de oro”. By attending these tours, visitors learn about growing, harvesting and processing the beans until they are ready to be enjoyed. Their contribution goes directly to the local families.
When visiting "El Trapiche" one of the tours recommended by the hotel, tourist can also learn about the process of making sugar at the sugar mill, interact and enjoy the rich flavours of raw molasses and the history and traditions behind these two products. The tour begins with a short walk through the farm where you can get a glimpse of plantations as sugar cane, coffee, bananas, plantains, tubers, oranges and more. Enjoy the entire coffee process, ride a Costarican ox cart and experience the process of making liquor out of the sugar cane, and to finish delight yourself with a fragrant cup of coffee.
THE FROG POND OF MONTEVERDE AND BUTTERFLIES GARDEN
An herpetarium located at only one hundred meters from Poco a Poco in which you can admire over 20 species of frogs and other amphibians. At their butterflies’ garden, there are different sections representing species of butterflies from the Monteverde area.
Visitors can admire more than 25 species of native frogs, toads and other amphibians living in large, naturally-simulated terrariums. A bilingual guide accompanies visitors during each tour and teaches them about the frogs’ history, habitat, and unique characteristics. Some of the frogs and toads on hand include the colorful poison arrow frog, crowned frog, marine toad, cane toad, leopard frog, hourglass frog, and the famous red-eyed tree frog.
BUTTERFLY PROJECT OF MONTEVERDE
This farm has a nature center, 4 gardens, a 500 square meter netted flyway, 3 greenhouses, a gift shop and botanical gardens. Founded in 1991 by biologist Jim Wolfe and his wife Marta Iris. The focus of the project is environmental education.
HORSEBACK RIDING TOURS
Regardless of the riding experience, this tour offers the chance of enjoying beautiful views of the gulf of Nicoya, waterfalls, forests, wildlife and breathtaking sunsets.
Costa Rica has 15 different species of venomous snakes, among which are the fer de lance, the godman montane pit viper, slender hog nosed pit viper, jumping pit viper, black speckled palm pit viper, eyelash palm pit viper, the rainforest hog nosed pit viper, side palm pit viper, the mute rattler, neo tropical rattlesnakes, cantils, corals, red tailed coral snake, chinilla, and selagic sea snake.
Just a couple of blocks from Hotel Poco a Poco the Serpertarium exhibits snakes and other reptiles and amphibians from Costa Rica.
Located next to the entrance of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Very worthwhile. Gifts, photos. etc. Great photo opportunities outside the gallery, where feeders attract a wide variety of hummingbirds in overwhelming numbers. Here visitors can observe up to 14 species of the tiny, lively colored birds as they amaze you with their spectacularly acrobatic aerial maneuvers.
Art, wisely, decided that its home would be in Monteverde. Surrounded by so much greenery, colour excels here. Emotions, sensations, energy and life are pregnant with beauty in the different materials used whether wood, paper, silk or others.