Monteverde, Costa Rica is a wildlife wonderland and ecotourism hotspot.
With endless animal-spotting opportunities, lush green forests, and cool, fresh air – it is the most ideal place for ecological exploration. But the tiny town is SO packed with adventures, tours, and treks to embark on, the task of choosing which ones to try on a short visit can seem quite overwhelming.
Whether visiting for 2 days or 12, the following activities are must-dos in Monteverde (and yes, they can all fit into 2 days!)
Must-Dos in Monteverde
Night Hike at El Bosque
the tail end of a koati scrounging for food
Many of the “most wanted” creatures in Costa Rica are nocturnal, making a night hike your best opportunity to see animals like armadillos (and even sleeping toucans). But in your eagerness to spot animals, definitely don’t go it alone at night – you risk running into dangerous or frightened animals, or the less scary but maybe more disappointing risk of not seeing any animals at all. Go with a guide for the best chance to spot some cool critters, and to enhance your experience while staying safe.
all safety-harnessed up and ready to zip line
While zip lining is incredibly popular throughout Costa Rica and most of Central America, it is at its best in Monteverde. With several operators to choose from, the length and number of zip lines at each are similar and safety standards are extremely high while providing an awesome experience and amazing view of the forest from above. Make sure not to miss the intimidating but worthwhile “Tarzan Swing” at the end of the zip line trip (it’s just like it sounds) – but make sure your bladder is empty before taking the leap!
one day, the inner tree will die and be perfect for climbing
Strangler trees and some figs cover their host tree in thick, vine-like trunks that eventually kill the host. After the dead host tree rots away and the inside is left hollow, it provides an excellent opportunity for adventurers to climb the lumpy, entangled outside – from within!
Coffee And Chocolate Tasting
one of the more delicious chocolates from Monteverde
Whether you opt for a guided tour, or go for a less expensive and more DIY approach by visiting local shops, a coffee and/or chocolate tasting session is an absolute must. Costa Rica is known for both of these crops, and the quality is high (and the cost low) especially in Monteverde, with many organic and sustainable options as well. After trying as many as possible, choosing your favorites to bring home supports local farmers and producers, and coffee and chocolate make great gifts and souvenirs. A bar of rich chocolate or a cup of creamy coffee sure beats a fridge magnet or t-shirt!
Visit the Bat Museum
one of my new batty friends
Who knew bats were so important to so many ecosystems? Definitely not me until I visited the Bat Museum in Monteverde. The informative exhibits and knowledgeable bat researcher guide will get you up to speed on important bat science before taking you into the Bat Cave (seriously!) to watch bats hang out. The scientists at the bat museum have built a simulated, recreated indoor ecosystem and stylized bat cave for the little winged guys to hang out in. It’s the perfect opportunity for photos, but be sure to turn off your flash first. You’ll be surprised at how cute some of them are – like little puppies with wings – and hopefully inspired to support bat research and funding in the future, as millions of bats are dying each year to a (so far) incurable fungal disease, especially in the United States.