Monteverde Things to Do

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    by Snipernurse
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    by dardila
  • Things to Do
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Best Rated Things to Do in Monteverde

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    Canopy Tour

    by grets Written Aug 18, 2004

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    Only for those with a head for heights!

    First you need to climb a spiral staircase (see photo) which takes you up onto suspended walkways high in the forest canopy.

    Billed as a wildlife experience from a different viewpoint, we didn't see much wildlife while up there, you are far too busy stopping yourself from being frightened!

    In my opinion, it's more of an adrenalin adventure then a wildlife experience, but one which is really worth doing. You DO get a different perspective from the canopy walkways, and the views are amazing (when it's not misty).

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    Exhilarating and Terrifying

    by jag17 Updated Oct 9, 2004

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    You must take a canopy tour while visiting Monteverde. Monteverde is the home of the "original" zip line tour. The scariest thing I have ever done, but so happy when I did it! You start by climbing a rope ladder that is on the inside of a hollow strangler fig tree. You are wearing a harness that is attached to a cable. The cable allows you to zip across the tree tops to platforms that are placed in the trees. At the end, you rappel back down to the ground. A huge adrenaline rush!

    Ladder To The Top
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    Monteverde Cloud Forest

    by Tom_In_Madison Updated Nov 21, 2008

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    This is what a lot of people come to this town for. It's at the end of the pot-hole filled road, a bumpy 20 minute bus ride from Santa Elena. Guides are available there, or you ca reserve in advance, often thru the hotel can do this because 'they know a guy'.

    There are various walking paths going around the reserve. There are a few with high vantage points that give you an amazing view of the valleys. It's not teeming with wildlife, or that you can see anyway. You will see many birds you'll never see again, plantlife that will amaze you, and maybe a sloth or a monkey.

    I'd suggest getting a guide. For $15 he will find you much more than you can find, plus he'll have a high powered scope that you will need to see them. You can even take photos thru it.

    $15 to get in, $15/person for a guide

    path huge plant resplendent quetzal tree is dying from top by the fern engulfing it View from a vista
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    Ecological Farm Twilight Walk

    by mim95 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I took a guided twilight walk in the Ecological Farm (Finca Ecologica). The view outside of the visitor center was truly amazing, as the sun was setting into the clouds.

    It was a two-hour guided walk along one of the four trails in the forest. It was very different from a day walk, as we saw nocturnal wildlife (those that come out at night). We saw a coati, poccupine, tarantula, and many interesting insects.

    The twilight walk is $15, from 5:30-7:30pm. Transporation can be arranged when you book from your hotel for $2.

    You can go to the farm to walk on their trails during the day as well.

    Sunset at Finca Ecologica
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    Canopy Tour Ziplines - Sky Trek

    by Jase1177 Written Sep 12, 2005

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    I read various tips on doing canopy tours and ziplines prior to my arrival. I was not sure if I would do, despite the positive tips. I decided that I should give it a go, as it is "the thing to do" in Monteverde. There are various companies offering these excursions and I went with SkyTrek (mainly because it had its own office in town and had good marketing).

    I was extremely happy with the fact that did this!! Again, I am not the most fond of heights, but this was outstanding. The cost was $45 for both the ziplines & the skywalk and $2 roundtrip transport. The first few lines were relatively easy ones to get you acclimated. The last 5 (11 in total) are the real thrill rides. Zooming across the tops of the trees was amazing and provided wonderful views. The two scariest parts were the climbs of two metal towers and the first time I had to stop going really fast (this was still a bit of fun).

    They even offer a photo ($8) in a descriptive booklet of you going across a line. This made me feel like I had just gotten off an amusement park rollercoster.

    Overall, this was tremendously exciting activity for all ages & sizes (I am about 6'1, 240 lbs - there were ladies there celebrating their 50th birthday).

    Zooming In Me in the Zipline Gear
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    Tarzan swing

    by frank_delargy Written Jan 17, 2005

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    About halfway through the zip lines we got a chance to swing on a wire that was suspended from the top of a very tall tree out over a small valley. Basically a giant tarzan swing.
    The idea was to make sure you made it back!
    It was very enjoyable, but for some was even more scary than the zip lines themselves.

    Frank swinging in the trees.
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    Two-toed Sloth

    by zrim Updated Jan 15, 2005

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    There are two-toed sloths and there are three-toed sloths. What is the difference you ask, well, two-toed sloths have two claws ascending from their limbs, while three-toed sloths have three claws. Otherwise, these animals are very much alike. The two-toed sloths do have longer blondish hair and are found in higher elevations. The three-toed sloths, meanwhile, are only found in the coastal lowlands.

    But all in all, sloths, whether two-toed or three-toed behave alike and lead very similar lives. Lives of intense inactivity. Mostly it's a life of hanging about. Chewing leaves. And climbing down from their perch about once a week to defecate. That's it. One poop a week. Try it yourself sometime and you will gain appreciation for the hard lot that nature has thrown in the sloth's direction.

    if you wish to see a sloth look high in the trees
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    Monteverde Biological Reserve - Reason for Going

    by Jase1177 Updated Oct 4, 2005

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    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.

    Cost: $13

    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.

    Monkey Reserve Path At the Continental Divide Many Streams
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    Animals in the trees

    by frank_delargy Updated Mar 3, 2010

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    When you are up near the canopy, you may see animals. You WILL see lots of vegetation. I heard somewhere that about 50% of the biomass is supposedly in the air plants alone!
    I think that because the zipline areas have more people (tourists) you are less likely to see larger animals. While in the country you will definitely see monkeys if you do any kind of walking outside of the cities.

    lizard in tree Sloth in tree
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    Reserva Santa Elena

    by zrim Written Jan 18, 2004

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    Another beautiful place. Much like the Monteverde Reserve, but perhaps less crowded. My strongest recollection of the morning's walk through the misty cloudforest is the color green. Green, green, green, the whole world seemed nothing but shades of damp green. A greenness that seemed poised to envelop the whole world with vines, moss, bromeliads and strangler figs.

    looking up
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    The Hummingbird Gardens at Monteverde

    by zrim Written Jan 16, 2004

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    After a good walk through the cloud forest, don't rush home and neglect the fabulous little hummingbird garden. The park has set out about a dozen feeders about 100 yards from the main parking lot. Like anyone else, a hummingbird is not going to pass up a free lunch so at any time there is likely to be a score or more hummingbirds flitting to and fro. Gulping down free syrup and engaging in little hummingbird squabbles.

    hummer at rest
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    Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve

    by zrim Written Jan 16, 2004

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    Most of the protected land in the reserve was originally owned by a group of Quakers that relocated to Costa Rica and the Monteverde region in the 1950s. The remaining land in the preserve was acquired by the World Wildlife Fund. The Reserve came into being in the early 1970s when it was realized that the cloudforests of Costa Rica were rapidly disappearing and that they contained a wealth of flora and fauna.

    The reserve is open daily to the general public ($10 fee) starting at 7:00 a.m. However, it is advisable to get the reserve before it opens because a limited number of people are allowed access to any given trail and only 120 are allowed in the entire reserve at one time. If the maximum number of people are in the reserve, then it is required to wait until hikers leave the reserve before being given leave to enter. It is especially important to arrive early if you hope to sight the famous resplendent quetzal.

    ranger station at entrance
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    The elusive resplendent quetzal

    by zrim Updated Jan 18, 2004

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    The brightly colored quetzal is said to be the most beautiful of all birds (although I prefer toucanets and scarlet macaws). It has a red chest and green and blue feathers throughout the rest of its body. Probably, the most distinguishing feature is a tail that is twice as long as the rest of the bird. Everyone wants to see a quetzal, but the problem is that they are smallish (about the size of a woodpecker) and are somewhat shy roosting during great portions of the day at the top of the canopy several hundred feet above the forest floor.

    We saw this quetzal in an avocado tree, but the photo was taken at maximum zoom and has been blown up digitally by a factor of 6 times. That is why the photo is not as crisp and clear as I'd prefer.

    showing his tail feathers
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  • zrim's Profile Photo

    White-nosed Coati

    by zrim Written Jan 16, 2004

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    A member of the family "procyonidea" which includes raccoons (of which I have plenty in my neighborhood) and red pandas. The coatis are forest animals that forage through the thick vegetation in groups of 10-20 looking for a wide variety of food including, fungi, berries, insects and mice. As with many scavengers, coati have become used to human handouts. For the health of the coati and the forest, it is always imperative to resist the temptation to feed wild animals (are you listening Howard?)

    despite appearances, coati are not shy
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    My first howler

    by zrim Written Jan 16, 2004

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    I've been fortunate enough to see apes and monleys in the wild in Asia, but never before had I seen a New World primate (other than humans) outside of a zoo. On the drive from San Jose to Monteverde our peerless driver, Jorge, spotted a troop of howler monkeys far up in the treetops along the left side of the highway. We stopped and got out of the van to gawk at the monkeys. We slowed traffic and got some curses from other drivers who were probably late for their Christmas dinner. I paid them no heed because I was excited at seeing my first American monkeys.

    I like primates
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