The Monteverde Lodge had a slide show one evening about animals of the rainforest.
I went there for dinner first (which I found a bit ordinary after eating at El Sapo Doro), and then went to the slide show afterwards. It was extremely interesting. The animals that we saw during our trip included this semi-tame coati which was near the entrance to the Monteverde preserve, and a varigated squirrl and a blue mot mot that we saw in the children's forest.
Not what we expected
We were looking forward to our stay at the Monteverde Lodge and Gardens. After staying in great hotels in San Jose and Arenal we were sadly disappointed when we arrived at Monteverde Lodge. The hotel itself is nice for an eco lodge. However, the rooms are awful. Our room was #105. It was dark, dingy, not clean and EXTREMELY outdated. The bed, linens, bed spread, etc were very old and uncomfortable. The room is straight out of the 70's with dark wood walls, 70's dark furniture, etc. The last day we did not have any hot water so no showers that day. On the other hand the ground are nice and the breakfast is very good. We expected more since this was one of the pricer places to stay in the area.
The Monteverde Lodge is a great, quiet, and clean place to stay. We had reserved a garden room but all of the garden rooms were full when we arrived so we were given a more expensive room for no extra charge. We could bird-watch right out our window, which overlooked the cloud forest. Our room was very clean and spacious, with no mildew in the bathroom at all. The hot tub is huge, very hot, and was not crowded when we were there. The food at the restaurant was great and we also walked to Santa Elena (10 min.) to eat at restaurants there (avoid the Tree House restaurant - yuck! but the Morpho restaurant was awesome). It's easy and cheap to take taxis to the reserves or other attractions - we were SO glad that we didn't rent a car. Roads are very rough and the driving style is "agressive." We enjoyed the Butterfly garden and the Frog place and the guided tour of Monteverde Reserve and Sky Trek and Sky Walk. The Monteverde lodge did encourage energy and water conservation, they use some solar water heating, and they have left much of the surrounding area undisturbed - another review called it "overgrown" - but good grief, it's a tropical forest and it's gorgeous!
We loved the Monteverde Lodge & Gardens!! After a treacherous five hour drive from La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano), we were delighted to arrive at the Lodge. The lodge and gardens are spectacular. The gardens are straight out of Better Homes & Gardens. I only wished I had been able to enjoy them longer! Because we were so busy out and about in Monteverde, we only had time to stroll in the gardens for about a half an hour one morning. Our room was nice with a view of the rainforest. We opened the windows up and enjoyed listening to all of the creatures in the forest. We also enjoyed the spa. The staff at the lodge was awesome. The food and drink were pricey, but excellent.
Comfortable But Not Exceptional
We stayed for 3 nights at the Monteverde Lodge and Gardens. The room and bathroom was clean and comfortable, although it had a slightly 1970s feel. We had a garden room, and had been warned that it could be noisy, but we didn't really have any problems. We were also close to the hot tub, although we didn't use it. The gardens were pleasant, and we spent some time by the scenic overlook, although it seemed a bit overgrown to offer much of a scenic view. We were given quite a bit of information on arrival about the various ways that the Lodge is eco-friendly, and also tips on the area (look out for scorpions in your room, avoid the canopy tours, etc.), which was helpful, if somewhat frightening (we didn't see any scorpions, thankfully...)
We only ate breakfast once and lunch once in the restaurant, and found it to be of generally low quality and overpriced, especially compared with other food options nearby (we especially liked the Treehouse Cafe in Santa Elena and Sofia and Moon Shiva in Monteverde).
We used the tour booking service to book a night tour of the Monteverde Reserve on our first night, a night tour of the Ecological Farm the second night, and day tours of the Monteverde Reserve and Cheese Factory on our third day. The tours were good, but rather than being packaged, you had to pay for each thing separately- the transportation was charged to the room, but the entry fees to the park were paid directly to the park, the guide fees directly to the guide, etc., which made the experience a bit more complicated than it really needs to be. Also, unless you closely read the sheet detailing the tours, you wouldn't know you were supposed to pay everything separately, which resulted in us getting a call from our guide after we had gone back to our room to come back and pay him (even he seemed surprised that we were paying him directly instead of the hotel...).
We did not have a rented car, so we spent a fair amount of time walking (abut 15 minutes to Santa Elena or Monteverde- the Lodge is pretty much in the middle), or taking cabs (which were cheap- maybe $1.50-$2 per trip).
On the whole, Monteverde Lodge was sufficient, but we didn't find we wanted to spend any extra time there. Thankfully, there's so much else to do in Santa Elena and Monteverde, that we only slept in the hotel, which was fine.
Good but tour package place
This hotel was a located in a great place, with pretty gardens and ease of access to Santa Elena and Monteverde. It was large, airy and very clean. Seems to be top of all the organized tour lists. We were traveling on our own.
Desk staff could have been more helpful and warm. When we asked for restaurant recommendations, he said what time and then went ahead and asked his restaurant to start cooking for us. We had to stop that because dinner there is about $30/person and dinner in town where the locals eat is about $3/person (and very good).
We ended up using the hotel just as a post for the 2 days and it was perfect for that.
Costa Rica Journal - Mike, Barbara, Bob and Linda
Saturday, June 1 We took a cab to the airport at 3:40 AM for a six o'clock flight to Miami. We met Linda and Bob at DFW. In Miami we just had time for a snack before our next flight on to San Jose, Costa Rica. Our rent car guy met us with our car and took us to the rental place to sign for the 4 x 4 Toyota. We headed out and took it one town at a time to find our way since Costa Rica is notorious for bad roads and no signs. Bob took the first turn driving and it was a wild ride on rough narrow winding roads, but we learned later, these were the good roads. Everything was very green, lush, and beautiful even though it was cloudy off and on. We made a stop in the little village of Serchí and bought some wooden boxes, banana paper note pads and a few other things at the oxcart factory. Due to the 25 pound weight limit on our domestic flights later, we decided we?d better ship it all home. We wanted to shop longer there but due to the weight limit plus needing to get to Arenal before dark, we had to go on. Our next stop was in Zarcero where there was a church with an interesting garden in front with strange trimmed shrubs in the shape of animals and people. We had no information about it except that people on the internet had said to stop there for a look. We took a few photos as it started to rain. From there we had about three more hours to go. It was pretty but we were tired from our early start. For miles we had views of Arenal Volcano which was all clear except the very top. We were told to not be surprised if it was in clouds, and that we might not get to see it at all, so we were excited to see it. We were shooting for six o'clock and arrived at Arenal Lodge about ten after, just after dark. Our rooms were large with hardwood floors, ceiling to floor windows, French doors on one side opening to a balcony, and views of the garden and Arenal. We saw some small lava flows in the dark. After a good dinner Mike and I sat on our balcony in the rockers awhile and watched more lava flows, then went to sleep to a chorus of frogs and insects.
Sunday, June 2 I woke up about 5:30 listening to another chorus, this time of birds. Something made a loud noise like a gorilla screaming and I rushed out to the balcony but couldn't see anything except a dark monkey in the trees. Later we learned they were howler monkeys, and we heard and saw them many more times. The volcano was mostly clear except the very top. Later there was a coati-mondi (raccoon family) on the feeder outside our room. He went down to the restaurant and climbed up a pipe to the open window and stole a banana from the ledge. At breakfast we had a table by the open window and watched little birds. The food was wonderful, made to order eggs and omelets, and a buffet with cereal, toast, fruit and lots of other things. The fruit juices were so good. We walked to the butterfly garden, a big screened building with a garden and huge blue butterflies all over. Mike used his little bit of Spanish to have a conversation with a young man working there who spoke little English. There was no one else around. We found Linda and Bob as they finished breakfast and made our plan. For our horseback ride we met another young guy, Barnardo, who spoke no English. He led us up a hill to a little corral and he got the horses ready. I got on my horse, Chocolate, first and waited on the path as he got the others ready and led them out there. He motioned for us to go. He stayed in the back the whole time and just pointed the way to go. I went first since my horse seemed to have the most pep. I had my camera and Mike carried the video camera. We expected a little 30 minute ride with a view of the lake but he let us go on a long loop for almost an hour and a half. It was really fun and we had wonderful views of Arenol, the lake far below and the countryside. It was a beautiful morning and we really enjoyed it all. After our ride we headed into town, La Fortuna. We ate lunch at Lave Rocks Restaurant which was recommended by an internet friend before we left home. We enjoyed a good lunch then killed time in a couple of shops while it rained. We went to the Tabacón Hot Springs and played in the volcano heated pools and waterfalls. There are twelve pools and each varies in temperature and depth from 101 degrees on down, and also a cold river which only Mike would get in. Tabacón is in the path of a lava flow if there was a major eruption so there were evacuation route signs. We took photos with our little disposable waterproof camera. The hot water felt good after horseback riding and made us very relaxed. We cleaned up there and went back into La Fortuna to Mama Mia's Pizza Restaurant. It was a pretty drive and the sky cleared giving us great volcano views. Like most places, it was open air. There was an Italian owner and only a few others, a Costa Rican family, eating there. We all watched the volcano and they told using some English and some Spanish that it had been hidden by clouds for the past 30 days until now so "it was a special day" they said. We agreed. We all watched as it sent up a plume of smoke and ash. Then after dark there was a glow at the top. We had pizza and enjoyed talking with the others and kidding with the Italian as best as we could. I pointed out a panorama of "Roma" on his wall. I said I loved Rome and that got him started naming places to ask if we'd been there. He wanted to know when we were in Italy and how many days and I showed him with fingers and that it was "too few" days. He seemed to like that and told the girl in the kitchen. It was such a neat night watching Aronal and visiting with the nice people even though none of us really spoke the same language. Words, gestures and guessing can say a lot. He told us he ran a huge restaurant and disco in Milan but it was a rat race working all night and he never got to rest so he came to Costa Rica. Back at the room as we packed for the next day we could see a glow at the top of Arenal.
Monday, June 3 I got up early again, about 5:30, and sat out on the balcony watching Arenal and taking photos. Mike and I ate breakfast and took a short mountain bike ride until his got a flat. About nine we drove up to the Arenal Observatory Lodge. There were tall pine trees in the forest as well as other huge trees with colorful trunks, and much closer views of Arenol since we were only 1.7 miles away. We went up the observation deck in time to see it send up a big plum of ash. We heard and saw a monkey and later heard the howler monkeys as we took a short hike. We crossed a suspended bridge to the newer lodge and pool area and small Volcano Museum. There was a gorgeous swimming pool and garden. We finally headed on to Monteverde Cloud Forest, a four hour trip which actually took us closer to five counting a long lunch stop at Toad Hall, a cute little hippie/health food place. I didn't care for the food that much but had a wonderful banana drink. It was a long trip. The scenery was pretty as we left the volcano and went a long way around the lake, then into more open farmland before some steeper mountainous areas. The roads were winding, narrow and full of bumps and pot holes. I got tired of being tossed around in the car and it was much too bumpy for a nap. It started to rain as we got into town and everything was muddy. We finally reached rustic Monteverde Lodge which had 27 rooms and beautiful gardens. First we learned the famous jacuzzi was closed for new tile, then the butterfly garden and other sights all closed at four. There was a warning posted about doing the zip line canopy tour which we had been told was a "don?t miss" thing to do. After check-in we drove back to town and decide to sign up for the Sky Trek Canopy Tour and Sky Walk. We walked around the little town then drove the muddy streets to another Italian restaurant with a mud pit in front for a parking lot. I don't remember the name but it was very nice with a little garden outside. The pizza was really good there, much better than Mama Mia's, but it was not as much fun. It rained hard after dark and the muddy roads were slippery.
The rest of the journal is on my journal page.
Pension Monteverde Inn
Has anyone stayed at the pension Monteverde Inn? It seems rather remote, doesn't have an internet site that I can find, or an email address? What do people know about it? If I am more interested in birds and other animals than partying and party animals, is it a good place?
Is there a yoga place in Monteverde or Santa Elena?
What about the Bat Jungle, in Monteverde? Has anyone been there? is it good?
I am going there at the end of November, meeting my son there. he has been there for 3 months, enjoying the good life, sufing and yoga.
Re: Pension Monteverde Inn
Could you possibly mean Monteverde Lodge? http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/monteverde-lodge/
Re: Pension Monteverde Inn
Or indeed the Monteverde Inn, its email address is on here http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/monteverde-hotels/monteverde-inn/
Re: Pension Monteverde Inn
I don't know anything about the Monteverde Inn itself but if you like nature and want to be able to get out and see birds and animals it is in a good location. You would be down near the Butterfly garden which I have enjoyed several times. You will also be near the Finca Ecologica where you will see wildlife and also be able to hike down to a pretty waterfall. It is a tough hike but worth it. If your son has been there for 3 months he will know his way around. Monteverde/Santa Elena is easy to get to know. My son lived there for 6 months. I have visited it several times since the early 90's and even spent a week there studying spanish. I was just there this summer learning to identify the trees in Monteverde and the surrounding area. There are some great back trails in Monteverde Reserve where not too many people go.
I would go to Monteverdeinfo.com. They have a map of where things are located. MI looks really far out but you can walk into town. It will take some time but there will be lots of people walking as well. I stayed in a pension on the corner of the street it is on (across from the Heliconia) and walked into Santa Elena every day after class at CPI. You would need to take a taxi back at night.