Not sure what to do in Monteverde? Check out our list of incredible things to do in Monteverde! We’ve visited multiple times and it’s an incredible destination for hiking, birding and adventure.
Want to book tours in Monteverde? Check out our Monteverde booking page! Need a hotel in Monteverde? Use our 5% promo code “mytanfeet” to save $$ at the following hotels: Hotel Poco a Poco, Monteverde Country Lodge and Sibu Lodge. All wonderful places to stay in Monteverde with a great location, excellent restaurant and very cozy and comfortable rooms.
Did you know Monteverde is known as the birth place of the zipline? Now there are a handful of ziplines in Monteverde that will fulfill any extreme adventurer’s adrenaline needs!
Not only can you zipline over the cloud forests at Selvatura Park or Treetopia (Formerly Sky Adventures Monteverde Park), you can also bungee jump 143 meters into the forest, tarzan swing 45 meters down or superman zipline 2 kilometers. Whichever one you choose, your excitement level will be through the roof!
The superman ziplines at 100% Aventura are hands down the most exciting and fun ziplines we’ve ever done.
If you love adventure and are looking for an exciting activity, this is definitely one of the best things to do in Monteverde and worth every penny!
See Resplendant Quetzals
National Geographic named Monteverde as the best place in the world to see Resplendant Quetzal, a stunning bird in the trogon family. For many years, the Quetzal’s immense beauty with iridescent green feathers and a long slender tail has captured the hearts of many, even becoming the national bird of Guatemala and name of their national currency.
As these birds live in high elevations mostly in cloud forests, Monteverde is one of the best places to see them. During mating season (about February – June ish), it is common to see males dancing and flashing their vibrant colors to impress females.
To see the Quetzals, you should go with a guide. Though these birds are colorful, they are small and can be difficult to see in the trees. In our personal experience, the best place to see these birds is in Curi Cancha Reserve as it is more open. We saw 5 Resplendant Quetzals in one tree in March!
You can also see toucans, hummingbirds and many other birds in the reserve, so we highly recommend going with a guide. Plus they carry telescopes which you can use to take pictures with your cell phone with!
On a budget? Check out our cheap and free things to do in Monteverde post.
Hike the Cloud Forest
The tropical cloud forests are one of the most amazing places in Costa Rica. Since there are only a few countries where these forests exist, it’s also one of the most spectacular places in the world. As these forests sit more than1500 meters (5000 feet) above sea level, the vegetation is completely different. You won’t feel like you’re in a tropical country at all!
There are 2 cloud forest reserves in Monteverde: Monteverde and Santa Elena and then there is the biggest private reserve in Costa Rica that protects rainforest and transition forest: Children’s Eternal Rain Forest.
The most popular one is Monteverde but our favorite is Santa Elena. Less people, higher in elevation, more mossy and cloudy. It truly feels like you’re walking through a fairytale! Children’s Eternal Rain Forest (Bajos del Tigre) station is not quite in the true cloud forest, it is more like a transition forest so it is drier than the other two.
There are trails of varying lengths and beautiful view points in each reserve so no matter which one you go to, it’ll be a great experience. You can read our guide to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserves to see which one is right for you.
Walk the Hanging Bridges
Monteverde owes a large part of its popularity to the hanging bridges in the cloud forest. Get up high in the forest canopy by way of these bridges which range up to 800 feet long and 2400 feet in altitude (240 meters to 730 meters).
Three of the Monteverde adventure parks have their own hanging bridges: 100% Aventura, Treetopia and Selvatura Park. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve has one long one but if you want a long trail with more hanging bridges, visit one of the three above. This is one of the best things to do with kids in Monteverde since the hanging bridges aren’t long, the infrastructure is excellent and they can see the forest from a different perspective.
Personally, we love the hanging bridges at Treetopia and Selvatura Park. They have around 8 bridges ranging from 170 to 560 feet offering absolutely incredible views of the cloud forest because those parks are higher in elevation and in the proper cloud forest.
Go on a Coffee Tour
Thanks to the altitude and climate, Monteverde produces excellent high quality coffee. In fact, it’s one of my favorite coffees in Costa Rica! There are several coffee tours you can do in the area: San Luis, Don Juan and El Trapiche. All are great but are quite different. San Luis is a small family owned plantation, Don Juan is bigger and El Trapiche offers a combination tour of sugar cane, cacao and coffee.
The best part of booking a coffee tour is not only learning about the process of coffee, but being able to sample and buy the plantation’s best coffee.
Monteverde Night Walk
Experience the cloud forest when the sun goes down on a guided night walk in Monteverde. It’s a must for nature and animal lovers as you’ll get to learn about the forest life after dark and see the many creatures of the night such as insects, snakes, frogs and more!
It’s a fun and educational experience and you get another perspective of the forest which not many people get.
El Tigre Waterfalls Monteverde Hike
Hiking lovers can’t miss this epic hike at El Tigre Waterfalls. The 8 kilometer (5 mile) long trail goes deep into the rainforest, passing 6-8 waterfalls on a network of many hanging bridges over rivers and through canyons.
You can either hike the entire 8 kilometers or you can hike 5 kilometers and then take a 4×4 truck or horseback ride the last 3 kilometers. They also offer a fun zipline bike!
More Fun Things to Do in Monteverde
These are our favorite things to do in Monteverde but you can also go horseback riding, go canyoning at Finca Modelo or visit the orchid garden.
What to Do If You Have Only 1 or 2 Full Days in Monteverde
Here are some ideas for Monteverde itineraries. Remember you can book your Monteverde Tours in the link!
1 Full Day in Monteverde
We recommend to visit one of the nature parks because you can experience the best of Monteverde all in one day: ziplining, hanging bridges and cloud forest. We personally recommend Selvatura Park for those who want to experience the most because they have ziplining, hanging bridges, a butterfly and hummingbird garden, a sloth center, a reptile and amphibian exhibit and a restaurant. Get the most bang for your buck at Selvatura Park!
For those who want more extreme adventure, Xtremo and 100% Aventura are great choices because they have bungee jumping, an extreme tarzan swing and superman cables. Definitely more for adrenaline junkies!
2 Full Days in Monteverde
On day 2, we recommend to do a cloud forest hike or a birding tour, or both! We did Curi Cancha Reserve in the morning for a birding tour and then hiked Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena by ourselves in the afternoon. You can also go to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
Another idea is to do a guided walk of the cloud forest in the morning, coffee tour in the afternoon and then night walk. Another option is to spend the morning at El Tigre Waterfalls and then the afternoon checking out town or doing a coffee tour.
Read about other things to do in Costa Rica below!
Costa Rica Vacation Checklist
- First time to Costa Rica? Read our First Time in Costa Rica guide.
- Not sure how to move around Costa Rica? Read our How to Get Around Costa Rica guide to find the best transportation method for you.
- Click the link to get our detailed Costa Rica Packing List so you know what essential items to bring.
- Do not forget to purchase Travel Insurance for your trip to Costa Rica.
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