Next, Monteverde national park and its cloud forest: humid, windy and cold, but very beautiful. Even more than anywhere else in Costa Rica, we have seen green everywhere, and it was incredible.
We have stayed at the hotel Claro de Luna: a peaceful place with luxurious vegetation, kind staff and very good breakfast ! We stayed 2 nights there, it was the perfect duration to visit Monteverde.
Half a day at the Monteverde Extremo Park
We spent our first afternoon at the Monteverde Extremo Park. We chose the Canopy tour (50$ per person, includes transportation, 16 Cables, 1 Tarzan Swing, 1 Rappel, 1 Aerial Superman 1030 mts, 1 Subterranean Superman, a tunnel of 190 m).
A good thing to note is that is what raining (again!) but being on the Canopy tour we were not cold and it was not crowded, definitely to keep in mind for rainy days ! We have lot of fun and emotion in the park ! The Tarzan jump is extremely impressive and the attraction is definitely not for heart-sensible people. If you love adrenaline, Extremo park is one of the best place to go in Costa Rica!
Nothing specific is needed expect sneakers and k-way, you will not be able to bring anything on the tour but you can leave it at the reception. They can pick you up directly at your hotel if you do not have a car.
Monteverde National Park
On the next day, we went to Monteverde National Park. Be aware that they are only allowing 180 persons at once in the park, so be there early.
Luckily, we only waited about 20 minutes to get our ticket and entered the park right away.
We did all the trails in the park and were done by 1:30pm, and we even enjoyed a coffee break with-a-view in the morning.
Price for Monteverde National Park & other practical information
The Monteverde National Park entrance fee is quite high : 25 USD per person and 12 USD per child from 6 to 12 years. They accept cash (USD and colones) and credit card. They allow only 180 persons at once in the park and they are opened between 7am and 4pm.
You can find more information about your visit to Monteverde on http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/cloud-forests.
To reach the park, check with your hotel, some shuttles can drop you off right at the park entrance from 7am and pick you up from 11am until 4am. Prices are around 5$ roundtrip per person. You also have buses leaving regularly from Santa Elena to both Monteverde park and Santa Elena park.
You will find onsite a map available as well at each intersections. It is almost impossible to get lost in the park!
Monterverde was, of course, a touristic place, still it was one of our favourite national park during our entire trip in Costa Rica. We were lucky to enjoy a not too crowded day in the park and walked for hours in wonderful vegetation and spectacular viewpoints overlooking the cloud forest and ocean.
What animals can you see in Monteverde National Park?
149 species of mammals are present in the park, including monkeys, all the big cats (although Jaguar is rarely seen). You will find tapir, sloths, venomous snakes, spiders, …
In our visit to Monteverde, we saw (without a guide):
- Spiders and Tarantulas
- A couple of snake
- White-faced Capuchin monkeys
- Half a Dozen of Coatis – they were not in the park but in the parking nearby!
- So many different birds that it is impossible to name them all
Monteverde is definitely a great place to start discovering the wildlife of Costa Rica!
We strongly advice to have a coffee break at the restaurant in front of the park entrance but… on the terrace ! The coffee is great and the view is amazing ! You will probably spot many birds there, and if you are lucky some coatis wandering around the park parking ! We even saw more animals during our coffee break than inside the park.
End your day with some tacos
The park is small but there are many trails, so once you hiked them all, some tacos are well deserved.
In Santa Elena village – where all the hotels and restaurants are located – you will not find that many good food options, however Taco taco is one of them ! (Taco taco near Al SuperCompro, Santa Elena). Note that prices are pretty high but the tacos and burritos are really good and you can have some delicious local beers while enjoying the sunset lights on the terrace upstairs.