Canopy tour and zipline. $40. Group has 13 ziplines, one of them 800 meters long. also has a rapelling that is sort of like sliding down a rope in free fall from about 25 feet. a Tarzan Swing which is what it sounds like, and a walkway across the area.
4 young guys took us around and made sure we were safe. One line we were about 50 feet over the tree line. Very fun, for for the scared of heights crowd--but I did it and I was a bit scared here and there. It's fun.
One of the guys takes a big camera along and takes photos and you ca buy the photo disk at the end for only $10. I did.
Your hotel owner can book this for you. They know all about the 5 different companies running these, and they can book it for you. They don't mind, they probably get a little something in return for doing it--and it's much easier for you.
A frog compound. Has many varieties of frogs. Come in afternoon or early evening when they are most active. Has over 28 species of frogs & toads, including the Poison Dart Frog ad the cute red-eyed tree frog.
Open 9am - 8:30pm
A night hike in Monteverde is a popular venture while in the area. I believe the ticket price is in the 35$ range. You start at a camp, watch a short video and get a short orientation. A guide takes you through the cloud forest and you will be impressed at his skill in noticing wildlife. What may dissapoint you is that you will find most of the wildlife are small frogs, lizards and the like. These are interesting, however you wonder if it warrents the high price. At the end of the trail there is hole in the dirt were a tarantula calls home, she'll probably be the most interesting wildlife you will see on your trek. The darkness (when all the flashlights are off) and the sounds of the forest are intriguing, however the sights can be a little less than satisfying
The Serpentarium displays some of the local reptiles for your viewing. Overall, however, the set up is quite small and kinda blah. If you have kids that you want to keep occupied then maybe you could go there, but for adults its barely worth the 10 minutes it takes to fly through the displays. If you need a break from hiking trails, you're better off spending time other ways, like sampling the areas many bakeries and cheeses, or basically almost anything.
The park offers a small variety of hikes which all provide low impact exercise and great scenary. You will really experience why they call the area a "cloud" forest and will love the lush green that surrounds you. Bring along your iPod and camera and stroll away. It is definately worth a day here. Park is open 7am-4pm and entrance when I went was 12$. I hiked the most popular hike which leads to a lookout point at which you can see the Ocean near the Nicoya Peninsula. The view is average, as the dense fog obscures, but it is worth seeing. Make sure you grab a map of the park on your way in, you will find it's exceedingly easy to navigate your way around
You don't have to get a neck cramp to see the top of the forest canopy. Ride in style ziplining along metal cables from tree to tree and walk across the different heights of the canopy across hanging bridges. This can not be missed and will be a highlite of your tour. Of course both activities involve some heights but if you think you can get over it you should really try.
Ziplining - There are at least 15 platforms that will lead you ziping across the forest to the next. You begin with an instruction on how to safely operate the ziplines, pay attention there is some info you need to know. I would say you reach max speeds of about 20 mph when ziping across the lines, and the ride is fun. One line is approximately 1/2 km long! The company that I went through, Selvatura were well outfitted and professional, the men helping you along the ziplines are friendly. You should plan on getting a little mucky from the zip lines, just check out the pictures! It is a blast! You gotta try the tarzan swing while your there!
Hanging Bridges - About ten bridges await for you at different levels of the rainforest. Along the way are signs describing the wildlife and etc. at the certain height. It is a great place to snap photos and being able to view across the cloud forest is very relaxing, a great way to unwind after the zip lines! It is usually included along with the zip lining, as it is in the same general area.
The bridges offer tons of photo opportunities and a look at the different levels of the rain forest. I went with Selvatura company in the Santa Elena Rainforest and it was great! A must do
Don't wuss out on doing the tarzan swing!!! It is a blast!!!
***Check out my video of my travel friend on the tarzan swing, what a rush!
Less crowded and cheaper than the Monteverde Reserve.
You can take 3 tours trough forrest with or without a guide.
We chose to walk the path without a guide we were there early in the morning and were hoping to see a lot of animals.
False hope no animals seen in the forrest but its was peacefull in the cloaudforrest we only met one couple in our path.
The man from the Tourist office recommended this forrest but as we have seen no animals I cant tell you if you will see them at Monteverde Reserve...
Another tip about not going into the rainforrest without a guide: of course you could do so, but you will miss a lot of animals, plants, stories,... when hiking on your own.
You can book guides in your hotels, sometimes find them at the monteverde national park entrance or just contact them directly.
I made a tour with a guide (in english) I can highly recommend:
cell phone (506) 822 35 00
Watch out for the ink berries!
Imagine a lush cloud forest, what is the best way to see it?
Well you could trek round it at floor level, pay to walk mid way up the trees in the bridges called Sky Bridge.
Or, you could zip line your way over and through the trees.
Oh yes, what an awesome ride. One line is over half a mile long. The view is great.
Lasts about 2 hours
Costs about $40, well worth it
By visiting the cloudforest over the hanging bridges you can get a glimpse into the treetops of the forest, invisible from the ground. It gives you the opportunity to see other plants and trees and more birds. It's a special experience, however, don't expect to see more animals than on the ground. You really need a good guide or an experienced eye to observe the wildlife.
In the Monteverde region there are two opportunities: the "Sky Walk" and the "Tree top walk way" in Selvatura. We did the last one. The walkway is a 1.5 miles (3 kilometer) trail that crosses through the cloud forest. There are 8 suspension bridges between 36 and 170 meters high. It's a nice walk of about 1.5 hours and costs 20 USD per person.
A guided night walk can be very interesting, it will give you the opportunity to see some other animals, especially bugs that you won't see during the day.
The night walk starts at sunset. You will be given a flash light and together with a guide you will walk the dark trails looking for spiders, snakes, and all kind of night bugs.
We did ours at the Ecological Santuary in Monteverde. The cost per person is 15 USD. The night walk starts at 5:30 p.m.
More mildly referred to a "Canopy Tour", there is no better way to experience the full magnificance of the Cloud Forest than to glide from treetop to treetop on a wire suspended in excess of 400 feet off the ground. The first time you strap onto that wire, you think you're going to die. Unless you have a heart condition or some other health malady, don't worry. Everyone feels that way. The second time I went to Costa Rica, I took 9 Boy Scouts and 3 leaders, and without fail, every one of them reported to me that this was their favorite experience of the entire trip.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting a little dirty. Take a rain jacket, if you have one. There is hiking involved, so wear comfortable shoes.
Visiting a hummingbird garden is a wonderful experience. It's amazing to watch all those hummingbirds flying around you.
We went to the hummingbird garden in La Selvatura. The garden is situated in a corner of the park where several poles with baskets with sugar water are placed. About 14 different kind of hummingbirds come here daily. Sit down on a bench, take your camera and start shooting those cheerful, colourful little birds.
Entrance to the garden is 5 USD.
Note: there is no entrance fee when visiting the hummingbird garden at the entrance of the Monteverde Reserve.
Before or after you visit the Monteverde Reserve, take a few minutes to visit the Hummingbird Gallery. The gallery is just a few steps down from the reserve entrance, with signs pointing you up some steps. In a small outdoor area there are several feeders that attract somewhere between 6-10 different species of hummingbirds. There are dozens of hummingbirds zipping and fluttering around. All the hummingbirds are brightly colored and beautiful. This is a great spot for getting some very nice pictures of hummingbirds.
There is also a small gift shop with photos, t-shirts, jewelry, and crafts at the gallery. They offer slideshows and other talks.
The Monteverde Biological Reserve is definitely the biggest attraction in the area. Undoubtedly it will (and should) be on any itinerary.
Getting There: There are regular buses from in front of Banc Nacional, with the first at 6AM. The same bus leaves the reserve entrance at similar schedules. These schedules are posted at the tourism office in town and at the admission booth at the reserve.
Another alternative is to take a taxi from town. Most drivers speak English and many even advertise this on the taxi. They are lined up along the street just after the church. Just go up to one of your choosing and ask how much to go to the Monteverde Reserve. It should cost about $5 (2,500 colones in 9/05). Agree to a price and get in for the fairly short ride.
In There: When you pay the admission the ranger will ask how long you want to spend in the reserve and will point out routes on a map. The reserve is effluent with tropical life. Within 30 meters of the entrance, I spotted a large spider monkey in the trees. The paths vary between some with embedded blocks, wooden steps, concrete steps, and totally natural ground. The variety of trees, plants, and flowers are overwhelmingly beautiful.
If you are lucky, you may spot the wonderful quetzal. Unfortunately I did not see the bird, but did hear a couple of them. I did see other birds, including a set of small quail-like birds. The numerous butterflies were also enjoyable.
Because of the off-season, I was mostly in the reserve alone...only seeing about 6-7 other people the entire time I was there. It was quite peaceful and relaxing. I also enjoyed the path (Sendero Brillante) that led up to the continental divide. There is a marker denoting the altitude of 4,662 ft. I found this amusing as my home is higher than this and the divide in the Rockies is much higher.
The reserve is an absolute must for every visitor to the area. It is nearly impossible for you not enjoy yourself while hiking through here.