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I personally don't like the canopy tour, in which you whizz from one platform to another above the rainforest using a cable system. It is mainly for those who love the thrills. Keep in mind that you can't truly enjoy nature this way as you zip quickly across.
Accidents do happen, ensure you do enough research about the companies before taking a canopy tour. The following warning came from the Foreign Affairs Canada website (see url below):
Whitewater rafting and other adventure sports (e.g. the popular Canopy Tour) should only be undertaken with a well established company. Be aware that Canopy accidents do occur from time to time, including one accident in November 2004 involving a Canadian who fell 11 meters after the Canopy cable broke. If you have any doubt concerning the security of the installations, we strongly recommend that you refrain from using them.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Beware. When taking the jeep-boat-jeep to Monteverde(actually Santa Elena), the driver will arrive in Monteverde and pull over. An ‘owner’ of a local hotel will probably be there, and give you a great deal on a few rooms she has left. For one, it probably isn’t her hotel, for two it may not be a great deal. Hotels often pay someone to lure customers in to their empty hotels.
If you don’t have a place to stay when he pulls over and you get the sales pitch, get out here and walk around. There are at least 25 places to stay within 50 yards of the main street, including at least 3 cheap hostels. No problem finding a place.
Written Nov 20, 2008
The main drags in Monteverde and Santa Elena were recently paved, and no sidewalks were placed. The cars will drive extremely close to you, so be very careful and walk in the ditch when at all possible.
Written Aug 9, 2007
Okay, so I can know I should not feed animals but I am a sucker for animals that may be suffering. There are quite a few dogs running around the town and many of them look quite hungry. I held off giving them anything until I saw a young puppy who couldn't seem to find anything amongst the bigger dogs. He was so adorable too. So, I went down to the market and just bought some inexpensive pepperoni or something. Well, it was hard to get the little doggies to stop following me and they also crowded around quite eagerly to get what I had. A couple were slightly aggressive but not in a dangerous way.
So, just be cautious if you see the dogs and decide they need a snack. I can be such a sucker :-)
Written Feb 14, 2006
Not sure if this is general or warning, so I will place it in both. There is only one bank in Santa Elena, which happens to be Banc Nacional. Bank Nacional ATMs only dispense funds to its own customers. So, make sure you have enough colones or dollars to exchange before you go head to this town for several days.
Written Sep 12, 2005
In order reduce the impact of so many visitors, the Topical Science Center (at the main Monteverde Preserve) limits the number of people who can use the paths and trails at the same time. Use of the paths cannot be reserved; instead visitors have access to them on a first-come, first-serve basis. When we went the limit was 100. The current number allowed is probably between 120 and 160.
Those who arrive once the limit has been reached, have to wait 15 to 45 minutes until those on the paths return to the entrance of the Preserve. Visitors who have reservations for the guided tours with guides from the Preserve, have guaranteed entrance to the paths.
That's a good reason to make a reservation with a guide. You can do the trails in the reserve on your own, but you stand a much better chance of seeing animals and finding out what the birds are that you see if you go with a guide.
Use only the marked paths and trails; visitors have gotten lost in the Preserve for leaving the permitted and marked trails.
The trails are often wet and muddy (duh - rain forest = rain). Visitors can rent rubber boots in the reception area.
Written May 22, 2005
The air is quite damp here in the cloud forest. And the sun usually doesn't come out often. I washed some clothes and they were still quite wet when I left 2 days after. I suggest either do laundry before or after coming to Monteverde.
Written Apr 20, 2005
The roads can be tricky to down right dangerous. It is said everywhere, the roads aren't in the best conditions. Be careful when riding.
But see also from the perspective of a pedestrian. Don't walk on dark roads at night, and not just in San Jose. These dirt roads usually don't have sidewalk and most car drivers aren't demure. Could be speeding, trying to avoid a pothole or just not putting on their headlights. And in Monteverde, the wind picking up the dirt of the road might be blinding you...
Written Feb 7, 2005
The roads to Monteverde are deliberately kept unimproved. It is quite a bumpy trip, and cannot be taken faster because there is too much chance of breaking an axle. In the wet season, a 4x4 is recommended.
There are two main routes - from San Jose to the west, and from San Jose via Arenal. We went via Arenal and came back the western route, which is shorter but not as scenic, and there is a 100 colones toll. Someone tried to flag us down to take a lady and her luggage down to San Jose, but our car was a two seater and she wouldn't have fit. We saw lots of people traveling by horseback, which is really the way to go here if you've got a horse.
Travel by car:
From La Fortuna, go to Tilaran, (follow the road around Lake Arenal) to Monteverde. 4 hours.
We went the other direction on this route:
From San Jose, follow the signs to Puntarenas, then Penas Blancas or Liberia at Lagartos. The turn off is 147 kilometers from San Jose. And about 10 km after the Texaco gas station. Then it's 35 km of dirt road with great views. You have to earn your stay in Monteverde rainforest! About 3.5 hours.
Updated Sep 13, 2004
If you are afraid of heights, Monteverde might not be the place for you! The best way to admire the scenery is by the suspension bridges and the zip lines, which are tough if you are afraid of heights like me. But it can be done, heck if I did it, you can too!
Written Aug 26, 2004
5 Reviews and 438 Opinions We stay´d in MOnteverde for a couple of nights, we loved the area (we´re birdwatchers) and clearly...