3-Day Monteverde Costa Rica Guide (New!)

Monteverde Costa Rica Guide

Looking for things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica or crafting the perfect Monteverde itinerary? You’ve come to the right place! Get ready for thrilling ziplines, magical night walks, hiking through lush jungles, and savoring the best local flavors. This was one of our favourite parts of our unforgettable journey in Costa Rica’s paradise. We know we promised you rest and relaxation, but monteverde is not the place for it! Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a nature lover, Monteverde is chock-full of experiences. It had us excited to do stuff even on a severe hangover! Read on to get all the deets!

Background – Nestled in the Tilarán Mountain Range, Monteverde is renowned for its lush cloud forests, diverse wildlife, and eco-friendly tourism. This small town and its surrounding areas offer a rich tapestry of experiences that showcase the best of Costa Rica’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

The cloud forests of Monteverde are the region’s crown jewels. These unique ecosystems are characterized by their perpetual mist, which gives the forest a mystical vibe. The dense canopy is home to thousands of plant species, including towering trees, delicate orchids, and vibrant bromeliads.

Bird watchers flock to Monteverde Costa Rica for the chance to spot the rarely spotted quetzal, a brightly colored bird that is considered one of the most beautiful in the world (which we unfortunately did not get to see – I’m still disappointed even if I’m not a bird enthusiast). The forests also host a variety of mammals, insects, and reptiles, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts.

Monteverde is a leader in ecotourism and sustainable practices. Many of the lodges, hotels, and tour operators in the area are committed to reducing their environmental impact and supporting local communities. Educational tours are also a significant part of the Monteverde experience. Coffee and chocolate tours, like those offered at Don Juan, educate tourists about traditional production methods and the importance of sustainable agriculture.

Beyond its natural attractions, Monteverde offers rich cultural experiences. The town itself has a vibrant community of artists, musicians, and artisans. Visitors can explore local galleries, attend music performances, and shop for handcrafted souvenirs at markets and shops.

Practical Tips – be prepared for the weather in Monteverde Costa Rica! The cloud forests are, as the name suggests, often shrouded in mist and rain, so packing waterproof clothing and sturdy hiking boots is a must. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from December to April, when the weather is more predictable, and the trails are less muddy.
Transportation can be challenging due to the rough, unpaved roads leading to Monteverde. Renting a 4×4 vehicle is highly recommended to navigate these conditions comfortably. 

Travel Itinerary Monteverde Costa Rica (Day 4-6 of our epic 17 day Costa Rica Itinerary)

  • For the full itinerary read our Ultimate 17 day Costa Rica Itinerary post!
  • Day 4: Detour through Tenorio Volcano National Park to Monteverde
  • Day 5: Explore the Cloud Forests of Monteverde
  • Day 6: Coffee & Chocolate Tour and driving to Nosara

Day 4: Driving to Monteverde

Jungle Hike to Rio Celeste near Monteverde, Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Tenorio National Park
Rio Celeste - Tenorio National Park

We hiked through the lush jungle to see the Catarata Rio Celeste, which plunges from 30 meters high into vibrant blue waters. Legend has it that the gods washed their paintbrushes in the river, giving it its stunning color. The rest of the 2-hour hike took us past bubbling sulfur springs, where we spotted a green snake and a tarantula hiding in its burrow. Though you might be eager to reach the cloud forests of Monteverde Costa Rica, I highly recommend making this slight detour to experience the magical Rio Celeste!

Quick Guide to Rio Celeste Hike

  • Duration: 2-hour hike
  • Cost: Park entry fee ($12)
  • Tips: Wear sturdy hiking shoes; bring water and snacks
  • What to Bring: Camera, bug spray, rain jacket
  • Best Time: Morning for cooler temperatures and fewer crowds
  • Official SINAC website for Tenorio National Park

San Lucas Treetop Dining in Monteverde

San Lucas Treetop Dining Monteverde
San Lucas Treetop Dining

After our hike, we headed to Monteverde and checked into our accommodation (I highly recommend staying at the Rainbow lodge – it has stunning views and great value for money if we consider costa rica can be quite expensive). For dinner, we booked the private dining experience at San Lucas Tree Top Dining, where we had a sensational dinner in our own little contained glass house perched between the treetops. 

I am convinced we almost saw a monkey when the trees next to us started rustling wildly! But no such luck. Oh well – the dinner made more than up for it. This must have been one of the best dinners in my life. You’ll have to shell out for it, but it is absolutely one hundred percent worth it! Definitely make a reservation for sunset, to be able to see the wonderful view come to life.

Quick Guide to San Lucas Tree Top Dining in Monteverde Costa Rica

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Cost: $$$ (splurge-worthy though, especially for a special occassion)
  • What to Bring: A jacket or light sweater, as it can get chilly
  • Best Time: Sunset
  • Reservations a must! Make them here

Day 5: Cloud Forests Monteverde Costa Rica

Hanging Bridges Walk in Selvatura

Selvatura Hanging Bridges Treetop Walk
Selvatura Hanging Bridges

We started our day early, despite a slight hangover from the previous night’s cocktail fiesta, with a visit to Selvatura Park. We chose Selvatura Park because, according to our research, it was the best way to experience the cloud forests in Monteverde in a single day. Thanks to jet lag, we began our morning with a hanging bridges walk, offering breathtaking views of the cloud forest. The misty, old-growth forest gave off a real jungle vibe, with moss, vines, and little critters everywhere. 

Being the first ones there, we had the opportunity to enjoy it in serenity. We saw a hummingbird fly right next to us, as well as various colourful centipedes and other tiny creatures. This walk was a fantastic way to immerse ourselves in the misty atmosphere of Monteverde Costa Rica.

Quick Guide to Selvatura Hanging Bridges

  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Cost: $35
  • Tips: Go super early to avoid crowds
  • What to Bring: Comfortable walking shoes, rain jacket, binoculars
  • Best Time: Early morning for the best wildlife sightings

Selvatura Zipline Adventure

Monteverde Costa Rica Guide
Ziplining through Cloud Forests

Next, we tackled 13 ziplines through the cloud forest, including an exhilarating 1km ride we did together. The rolling clouds and stunning forest views made this a must-do activity in Monteverde. The adrenaline rush from zipping through the misty canopy was absolutely unforgettable! Honestly, this was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I wasn’t sure about it at first because it seemed like a pretty touristy thing to do, but it exceeded all my expectations.

Quick Guide to Selvatura Zipline Adventure in Monteverde Costa Rica

  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Cost: $50 (Zipline package fee)
  • Tips: Wear comfortable clothing; most people wear exercise gear
  • What to Bring: sense of adventure, rain jacket
  • Best Time: Anytime, but morning for fewer crowds

Selvatura Sloth Sanctuary Tour

Selvatura Sloth Sanctuary
A Local Resident

In the afternoon, we toured a sloth sanctuary, where we learned about the rescue efforts for these adorable creatures. All the sloths here could never be rewilded due to injuries sustained in human environments. We didn’t see any sloths in the wild during our entire trip (they are surprisingly hard to spot!), so it was interesting to see them here. However, if you’re looking to skip something in Selvatura, this might be it.

Quick Guide to Sloth Sanctuary Tour

  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Cost: $30 (Sanctuary entry fee)
  • Tips: Visit early in the day to see the sloths at their most active
  • What to Bring: Curiosity about wildlife
  • Best Time: Morning for fewer crowds and more active sloths

Nightwalk in the Rainforest of Monteverde Costa Rica

Nightwalking Tour Monteverde
One of the Spotted Orange Tarantulas

Since we hadn’t packed enough into one day (just kidding!), we decided to see more wildlife and signed up for a night walking tour in Santa Elena. We chose CREAR tours, which operates out of a plot of land behind a resort. The guide was super knowledgeable, helping us spot an array of nocturnal wildlife including tropical frogs, crickets, tarantulas, a rare dove (slightly less exciting), and even a possible vampire bat. 

We also encountered a tarantula hawk wasp, known for having the most painful sting on the planet. Luckily, it left us alone after we turned off all the flashlights! The guide told us mammals are slightly harder to spot as they move around a lot, but the group before us had spotted a Coati. Exploring the rainforest at night was truly unique, offering a completely different perspective of Monteverde’s rich biodiversity.

Quick Guide to Night Walking Tour

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Cost: $25 (Night tour fee)
  • Tips: Wear long sleeves and pants and plenty of bug spray
  • What to Bring: Good hiking shoes
  • Best Time: Evening
  • Book through CREAR Tours

Day 6: From Coffee to the Coast

Coffee, Chocolate and Sugarcane Tour at Don Juan

Coffee Tour Monteverde
Image Caption


We couldn’t leave Monteverde without visiting one of the famous coffee growers in Monteverde, so we decided on a whim to start our day with a super nice tour at Don Juan in Santa Elena, where we learned about coffee, chocolate, and sugarcane production. The fresh chocolate making was a highlight, and we even spotted an agouti and some lively Costa Rican squirrels.

Quick Guide to Don Juan Tour

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Cost: $35 (Tour fee)
  • Tips: Book in advance to secure your spot
  • What to Bring: Comfortable shoes and a sweet tooth
  • Best Time: Morning to avoid the heat
  • Book via Don Juan Tours

Drive to Nosara

Monteverde to Nosara
On the Road to Nosara

The drive to Nosara was an adventure in itself, taking us 3.5 hours on some very, very rough roads. The journey was bumpy and dusty, but it added to the sense of adventure. Or so we say. We can imagine this drive can turn into a bit of a nightmare so make sure to leave enough time for it!
In the early evening, we finally arrived at our charming hotel, The Nomadic, in Nosara. After a walk through the mangrove jungle to the beach and a relaxing dinner at (an expensive but) delicious Italian pizza place, we ended the day with a serene night swim in the pool in the midst of the jungle vibes.

Quick Guide to Driving to Nosara

    • Duration: 3.5 hours (but much longer also possible depending on weather)
    • Tips: Check road conditions beforehand and drive during daylight
    • What to Bring: Snacks, water, patience, a good playlist
    • Best Time: Morning or early afternoon for better visibility (DUST!)

Stay Tuned for More Adventures!

We’re still polishing up this blog post, but we were so excited to share our journey with you that we couldn’t wait to put it online. Check back soon for more updates and stories!
For the rest of our Costa Rica intinerary see our Ultimate 17 day Costa Rica Itinerary!