Top 10 Things to Do in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Who hasn't dreamed of the Pura Vida, the Pure Life, and Costa Rica? I know I did for years before I came to Costa Rica in 2016 for our transformational retreat. In 2016, I knew I would be back to Costa Rica to explore more of the beautiful country. Here I am, fulfilling those prayers and desires.
I continue to be in awe that I am spending almost three months in Costa Rica in 2021! I spent my first month at Dragonfly Hideaway in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. I just finished spending three weeks at Casa Balbi in Monteverde, Costa Rica so I thought I would put together a list of Top Things to Do in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
On my journey, many entrepreneurs helped me like My Tan Feet, Two Weeks in Costa Rica, and Visit Costa Rica. I thought I would return the favor for you and others who are thinking about visiting Monteverde, Costa Rica.
In putting together the Top 10 Things to Do in Monteverde, Costa Rica, I thought of nature, unique experiences, and favorites for foodies!.
Monteverde, Costa Rica Stays & Transportation
I arrived in Monteverde, Costa Rica on January 27, 2021 at Casa Balbi via Airbnb. I set up my stay from the start until February 15, 2021. The average tourist spends about 1-3 days in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I decided when I left Atlanta, GA the end of 2020, I wanted a slower pace of travel for safety and sanity.
I chose the Airbnb both for a solo stay as the immersion in nature looked perfect in every way. Casa Balbi has four separate tiny houses and efficiency type accommodations. Whether, you are coming for a short or long term stay, you will love it.
Larry, the owner and Diego the manager are super helpful, patient, and kind in every way. Grethen, who works on the property as well has an incredible farm and night tour I recommend. You may find their website and information via Instagram: Casa Balbi and www.casabalbi.com
This is my private porch in Casa Terraza. Casa Balbi offers Casa Terraza, Forest Studio, Casita by the Stream, and Studio Apartment. Ecopark is part of the property as well and you may go for free walks daily! I went at least 4-5x. On one of my walks, I saw 5-10 monkeys alone!
All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 12 Mini.
For transportation, I arrived here via the jeep-boat-jeep tour for $26 from La Fortuna, Costa Rica. I loved the views on Lake Arenal! During my stay, I took taxis with Manuelito recommended by Casa Balbi to town for exploring, groceries, and eating or the tour operators picked me up and dropped me off at my Airbnb. I spent a total of about $35 on taxis the entire three weeks.
As a result, if you are more than happy staying home many days or exploring nearby on the property, I don't think having a rental here makes sense if you stay a week to a month at all.
If you are coming to Monteverde, Costa Rica for a short stay, I recommend you check out my One Day in Monteverde, Costa Rica guide too!
Top 10 in Monteverde, Costa Rica
You will find nature, wildlife, and relaxation along with foodie favorites including cloud reserves, bird watching, hanging bridges, orchid gardens, and much more!
I am sharing what I experienced, and what logistically makes sense for what is close by. This is something I keep in mind always to save time and money whether you are traveling with a car and paying for gas, or with taxi's/uber's like I am.
In putting together the Top 10 in Monteverde, Costa Rica, I considered how I would experience Monteverde, Costa Rica knowing what I know now, and to make it easy and efficient!
1 Stella's Monteverde
I learned about Stella's about a week after my stay from Larry, Casa Balbi owner. It is THE place to go for bird watching and breakfast! In less than one hour, I saw 2+ Mot Mot's, 2+ Toucansillo's and a Coati!
The place is incredibly beautiful, and super peaceful. They regularly put out fruits for the birds so it is a natural oasis. Not to mention, the breakfast is incredibly delicious and the staff super friendly and nice! They are open for lunch as well!
It is right in the center of Monteverde Downtown so perfect place to start your trip!
2 Children's Eternal Rainforest
I shared in my One Day Guide in Monteverde, Costa Rica how the Children's Eternal Rainforest is about 10 minutes walking distance from Stella's and CASEM (Coop Artisans Santa Elena and Monteverde).
The rainforest is beautiful and warmer with lower elevation. I love the story of how the Swedish students started raising money years ago for the rainforests, and now 44+ countries support the efforts. Proof no one is too young to make a difference.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is about 30 minutes walking or about 10 minutes driving to the shuttle stop for the Reserve. I visited the entrance with the Hummingbird Gardens with Larry. I highly recommend you at least visit the entrance with the Hummingbirds and souvenir shop!
The Hummingbirds come to the feeders all day long super close and it is amazing to see!
I ended up deciding to visit Santa Elena Cloud Reserve, Hanging Bridges, and Children's Eternal Rainforest for a variety of experiences due to time and expenses as well.
3 CASEM (Cooperativa de Artesanas de Santa Elena y Monteverde)
Cooperative of Artisans of Santa Elena and Monteverde is right across the street from Stella's.
After you visit, the rainforest and/or the reserve, you will want to stop here for souvenirs and supporting local entrepreneurs!
By now, you are hungry again for sure!
Definitely get some typical Costa Rican Casado (vegetarian options available) in the restaurant in the back - Grandma's Spoon - Cuchara de Abuela.
This place came highly recommended by my hosts with Casa Balbi for great reason!
In the shopping center, there is a Whole Foods and Cafe Monteverde with samples you may want to experience too depending on your day and time!
4 Monteverde Orchid Gardens
In case you didn't know, you may find more orchids in Monteverde, Costa Rica than anywhere else in the world! am a huge orchid lover for years! When I learned that there was a Monteverde Orchid Gardens, I knew I wanted to visit.
It is in the heart of Santa Elena right next to Orchid Cafe, and before Banco Nacional. It is about 10-15 minutes away from CASEM. You may visit easily for an hour to two hours easily. The entrance includes a guided tour! I learned a ton during my visit to Monteverde Orchid Gardens!
5 Orchid Cafe
Orchid Cafe deserves it's own shot like Stella's. They are right next to Monteverde Orchid Gardens making it a perfect spot to stop after. On top of that, their WiFi works great most of the time too making it a great spot to go work for the day as well! I visited here twice during my stay!
On my first visit, I had the Breakfast Crepe and Coffee in a traditional Costa Rican Chorreador! On another visit, I came to work and enjoy the ambiance in Santa Elena! I ended up having two meals including pancakes and fruits, and Costa Rican Casado in a bowl! Song Yummy Yummy playing in my head!
I love the outdoor seating and met some incredible people as well traveling and living in Monteverde, Costa Rica! I cannot recommend them enough! The food and service is amazing!
6 Santa Elena Cloud Reserve
If you are into nature and feeling like you are living a real-life fairytale you will love Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve! Before coming to Monteverde, Costa Rica, I saw the pictures from blogs on My Tan Feet for the reserves and rainforest. I loved the insights they shared and it helped a lot!
I knew I wanted to Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve for sure with it being the least common one.
The experience is mystical and magical. I loved every single step of my visit!
I share more on my Costa Rica Adventure: Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve from what to wear, locations and trials, and cost among much more!
7 Hanging Bridges in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Now that you have seen the forest face to face, a great activity is to visit the Hanging Bridges in Monteverde, Costa Rica! I considered doing zip lining and bungee jumping in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
However, the elevation here is high and it is often cold. I am very cold natured, and was very cold the day I visited Santa Elena Cloud Reserve at ground level. In addition,
I have done ocean view zip lining during our last Costa Rica Retreat, tons of high-adrenaline adventure when I stayed in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, and have adventures coming up in and near Manuel Antonio.