Explore Monteverde Mountain
Monteverde is like no other area in the country offering a combination of climatic, altitude and geographic factors, which creates temperature and humidity gradients that change dramatically
over relatively short distances.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest preserve, the main attraction in the area, supports
over six different life zones which includes over 100 species of mammals, over 400 species of birds (including the infamous Quetzal,) butterflies, 120 species of amphibians and reptiles,
2500 species of plants as well as tens of thousands of insect species.
This is a great place for families, couples or for any traveler looking to get off the beaten path and relax in a quiet,
mountain atmosphere. Local activities include canopy tours, guided tours of the forest, sky walks, butterfly farms, bird watching, and much more.
Monteverde or Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve – Of course, this is the main attraction of the are, offering one of the most unique ecosystems on the continent. The cloud forest reveals
a lush green garden of mosses, ferns, flowers and epiphytes growing thickly on every tree. Clouds drift in and settle among the slopes, giving the continuous moisture required for such exuberant
plant growth. Dangling roots and vines sweep across the trails. The air is rich with the sounds of birds and the occasional scurrying of small mammals on the forest floor. In the distance a
howler monkey roars, and a variety of birds can also be seen. See this incredible tour >
- Monteverde Cheese Factory - Here they produce the tastiest cheeses in Costa Rica. The cheese-production process can be witnessed
through the observation window.
- Butterfly Farm - This is a study center and gardens are full of many stunning butterflies, including the Blue Morpho.
- Orchid Garden - More than 430 native Monteverde species are on display
with guided tours.
Probably Costa Rica 's most sought after and famous adventure tour. Strap into a harness and zip through the jungle canopy between a series of platforms to experience
the adventures of the jungle from a different perspective. Contact us for more information on reservations
Horseback Ride to Arenal Volcano
Take advantage of this unique method of transportation from Monteverde to Arenal. The ride is not for beginners due to the duration, but definitely a worthwhile
experience for those horse and nature lovers. If you have a rental car, arrangements can be made to have your car driven from one destination to the next.
See ALL Monteverde Adventure Tours >
Located opposite the supermarket in Santa Elena, above the Desafio office. It has a very pleasant atmosphere and unique rustic decor. The food offered includes vegetarian
options, Costa Rican dishes, pastas, fish and meat dishes.. Prices range from $2-$7 per dish. Try their delicious variety of desserts and ice creams - some of which you may find impossible to
El Marqués -
This restaurant is located beyond the Panadería and
opposite the bank in Santa Elena. It does not look particularly
special from the outside, with a rather basic decor and plastic
tables and chairs. However, the food is good and very reasonably
priced and the restaurant owner prides himself on always
using fresh products. The restaurant specializes in fish
dishes with a whole sea bass, served with fries and salad
costing $5, various other fillet options or seafood dishes
and a range of prawn dishes. The restaurant also offers some
chicken dishes and hamburgers and is planning to extend its
menu to include Chinese rice (arroz cantonés), fried
chicken, tacos, and casados.
Las Palmeras Restaurant -
Located just before the turning to the Butterfly Farm and Finca Ecológica on the road to the Monteverde Reserve, this pleasant restaurant offers an extensive
menu, ranging from typical Costa Rican cuisine, to pizza, pastas, fish, meat and chicken dishes. There are also dishes for vegetarians. It is a restaurant where you will see local people dining
but which also caters for international customers. The staff are friendly and helpful.
La Pizzeria de Johnny (Johnny's Pizzeria) -
Elegant but comfortable atmosphere and has been described by some as the best restaurant in the Northern Zone! It is certainly a popular place to
eat, offering a wide range of pizzas and pastas, meat, and some fish specialties together with a good selection of wines and a choice of sandwiches. Personal size pizzas start about $5.50. There
is also a terrace if you prefer to eat outdoors. It is not the cheapest restaurant in town but far from being expensive and the food is excellent with very attentive staff.
De Lucía Restaurant -
This restaurant is located in a peaceful spot on the road towards the Finca Ecológica and Butterfly Garden. The restaurant offers typical Costa Rican casados,
vegetarian lasagna as well as meat dishes, a selection of sandwiches and hamburgers. Great filet mignon. There is a terrace where you can sit outside and watch the hummingbirds visit the feeders.
Prices range from $5 or $6 for a vegetarian lasagna or a casado, to $12 for steak, while sandwiches cost $2.50 and a hamburger $3.50.
Café Flor de Vida -
Formerly called the Cafe Paraiso. Located opposite the Hotel El Establo, this is an interesting place to stop as, in addition to food, they offer paintings, jewelry
and batik for sale and you can also arrange craft workshops through the Flor de Vida Café. As regards food, they offer vegetarian food and a mixture of Costa Rican and international dishes.
For breakfast you can choose from fruit plates, granola, eggs, omelet's, gallo pinto or tortillas. They also offer bagels (from $1.30), vegetarian sandwiches, pizzas and burgers. In addition
there are a variety of desserts, including tiramisu and chocolate chip cookies, and a selection of drinks, from water to milkshake with ice-cream.
Moon Shiva -
A new place to eat in Monteverde. Located below the Bromeliad art gallery adjacent CASEM arts coop. Some may have known this place to be the home of the Jungle Groove which closed
in the beginning of 2003. Moon Shiva offers a variety of snack foods like guacamole and nachos as well as Mediterranean cuisine
Soda La Central -
If you're looking for a more typical Costa Rican restaurant, this is it! Soda La Central is located next to the Sky Trek office in Santa Elena and is very unpretentious but
good with very big portions.. This is a great option for budget travelers who want a filling meal for a reasonable price. Great place for a casado.
Restaurante Tramonti -
This is one of Monteverde's best places to dine. Located just before CASEM and Stella's Bakery on the road from Santa Elena up to Monteverde. It is a good option for
those staying in hotels nearer the Monteverde Reserve. The restaurant offers a range of different foods and is tastefully decorated. Pizza is prepared in a wood burning oven. The only authentic
Italian food in Monteverde!
Places to Avoid
Avoid driving around the lake at night, as the road is in bad condition and we recommend that you only do this drive during daylight hours.