In order to maximize our time in Costa Rica, Shelley and I spent only about 1 1/2 days in each city we visited. We made sure to do everything we really wanted before heading on our way to the next destination. After spending a morning in San Jose, we were off to Monteverde, a city surrounded by rainforests and mountains.
Zip-lining in Costa Rica is not to be missed! It was honestly one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life.
There are multiple options of places to go adventuring in Monteverde, but we chose Selvatura because it included 13 lines to zip across, suspension brides, and access to the hummingbird garden all for $75. Other companies cost more for less activities and less time.
A few tips:
- Your accommodation can set this up for you when you arrive
- Hostel/hotel pick-up is included in the cost with pick-ups at 8, 10:30, and 12:30
- Go early to avoid the inevitable afternoon rain and the inevitable flock of tourists
- Bring a sandwich or lunch from town; you’re at the park for about 5 hours, so you’ll want a snack and the on-site restaurant is pretty expensive
- Bring your own small lock with you, or have 1,000 colones ready to rent one
- Wear comfortable (hiking) clothes and shoes
- It’s rainy and hot, so be prepared for that
- You can rent a GoPro for $10, or you can go zip-lining super (wo)man style for an extra $10
- Other costs: professional photos, snake, butterfly, or insect exhibit
- For free you can go in the hummingbird garden. It was amazing, so don’t skip it!
As the title of this Costa Rica series suggests, there is a LOT of wildlife in Costa Rica. One way to see many animals you won’t see during your typical tour is with a night hike, This $25, 2-hour tour includes a hostel/hotel pick-up and a tour guide who traipses around the rainforest looking for awesome nocturnal animals. We saw a sloth, owls, a viper, giant snail, tarantula (which I actually didn’t see, I just stood off to the side and looked away!), lots of birds and bugs, and we were lucky enough to see a kinkajou! Photos were hard to take at night, so below are just a few of the ones I could take.
Built amongst giant trees, Taco Taco offers yummy Mexican fare, which is a happy change from the typical Costa Rican rice and beans. We ordered a pineapple beer, too! When in Rome!
This bar hit the spot after a long day of zip-lining and hiking. There’s nothing fancy about it, but the bus dropped us off in front and we were happy.
Pick a Soda, any Soda
What is a Soda? It’s a traditional Costa Rican restaurant that offers the standard Casado meal. What’s a Casado? You choose your meat/protein, which is served with rice, beans, fried sweet plantains, sometimes cheese, and salad. After a suggestion from our hostel and the promise of a free dessert, we went to Soda de Alameda which was really off the beaten path. You really could pick any soda for an inexpensive Costa Rican meal..and we did many times all over the country.
So while the title of this blog post is Monteverde, technically we stayed in Santa Elena, a little town on the outskirts of Monteverde (the mountain/town where a lot of the sites are located). They’re very close and Santa Elena is actually where the public bus drops you off. We enjoyed our stay here. Our room was like a pretty basic hotel room with a TV, bunk bed, and double bed. The price includes breakfast made by the owner. She’s also like a travel agent in that she’ll make your reservations for transportation and sightseeing.
Room: private room that will fit up to 4 people (bunk bed and a double bed), ensuite bathroom
Santa Elena is small enough to walk around the town in 15 minutes or less. Transportation (pick-up/drop-off) was included in all of the activities that we did since they’re far out from the town.
We took a public bus from San Jose to Monteverde for less than $10 US. This bus leaves from the 7-10 Shopping Center at either 6:30am or 2:30pm. Santa Elena is a short walk down a mountain from the bus stop.
Day 1 – Fly to San Jose
Day 2 – San Jose, Travel to Monteverde
Day 3 – Monteverde
Day 4 – Travel to La Fortuna
Day 5 – La Fortuna
Day 6 – Travel to Tortuguero
Day 7 – Tortuguero
Day 8 – Travel to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 9 – Puerto Viejo
Day 10 – Puerto Viejo
Day 11 – Travel to San Jose
Day 12 – Fly home