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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

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!.

Pura Vida!

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

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!

Stella's Monteverde

Stella's Monteverde

Stella's Monteverde

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.

Children's Eternal Rainforest

Children's Eternal Rainforest

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!

Monteverde Orchid Gardens

Monteverde Orchid Gardens

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!

Orchid Cafe Monteverde, Costa Rica

Orchid Cafe Monteverde, Costa Rica

Orchid Cafe Monteverde, Costa Rica

Orchid Cafe: Monteverde Costa Rica

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!

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

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.

As a result, I decided to do a calmer activity and experience with Hanging Bridges, while still experiencing something brand new! There are several options to choose from. I am blown away by Selvatura Park, and the eight bridges I experienced up to 500+ feet long!

If you need to combine them in one day, after you leave Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, this is a great experience to have. If you don't you may want to separate them like I did. One morning, I did Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. I saved Hanging Bridges for my last experience before leaving Monteverde, Costa Rica around sunset on a Friday!

Hanging Bridges Monteverde, Costa Rica

Hanging Bridges

Hanging Bridges

Hanging Bridges in Monteverde, Costa Rica

8 Farm Visit, Orchid Gardens and Bird Watching via Casa Balbi

On top of incredible hospitality, kindness, and cleanliness along with nature and wildlife, Casa Balbi offers a Farm Tour with Grethen and her daughter, Alison! It is included with an optional tip to your discretion. I ended up giving Alison what I felt in my heart aligned to all their love!

The experience starts with Grethen explaining about their focus on organics and sustainability! I got to visit with the cows and baby pigs first!

It is about 10 minutes driving from Casa Balbi and I had Manuelito with the Taxi service take and pick me up!

After the introductions and viewing the pigs and cows, we headed up into the incredible Orchid Garden!

Alison explaining about Toilet Paper Plant!

Edible Plant so good & leaves soft like toilet paper

Orchids in the Wild in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Grethen is known in Monteverde, Costa Rica as the Mother of Orchids, and many people come to her asking for advise on growing orchids in the wild and at home!! After the Orchid experience on the farm, I went with Alison exploring the forest and wildlife like this Ficus Tree!

Apparently, there are Ficus Trees all around Costa Rica that have hollowed out that people climb!

Some trees are easier than others to climb! I climbed on this one about 20 feet up. The next part looked challenging with a big gaping hole in between to the higher levels. I opted to stop my climb higher without a harness being inexperienced climbing Ficus Trees.

Super cool, right?

Afterwards, Alison, her Papito and I walked the grounds bird watching with her binoculars. After roaming the forest for about an hour, we headed to the top to watch an incredible sunset.

After finishing my farm visit, orchid gardens, and bird watching, it was time for my Night Tour with Johnny! I arranged this through Grethen and her family. I love supporting local entrepreneurship, and it is super convenient as it is on the same property and mid-level forest at night.

9 Night Tour

I saved my Night Tour experience for Monteverde, Costa Rica. It did not disappoint. Johnny, my guide, is super friendly and knowledgeable and spoke great Spanish and English. For any wildlife spotting experience, I go with an open-mind as this is the animal's home and seeing any is not guaranteed.

First of all, I highly recommend you do a Night Tour to simply experience the forest and/or reserve at night. It is a totally different experience with sights and sounds! On top of that, guides like Johnny are great at spotting things I definitely would not have! There is completely different wildlife at night versus during the day as well.

We spotted two frogs, two spiders, two rats, and a Kinajou right at the end! So amazing, right?

Night Tour: Monteverde, Costa Rica

10 Choco Cafe Restaurant and Coffee Shop

By, no way shape or form is this last on the list! It simply depends on how long you are in Monteverde, Costa Rica and when you decide to go.

Choco Cafe is incredible for stopping for Hot Chocolate, Coffee, Breakfast and/or Lunch!

A few days after I arrived in Monteverde, Costa Rica, I ended up going for lunch to Choco Cafe to review my week. The coffee, hot chocolate, and Chicken Curry are incredible! I loved the outdoor seating as well.

It is right between Monteverde and Santa Elena, and closer to Santa Elena.

Top 10: Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica has limitless options for nature, adventure, and foodies! You will love being immersed in nature in every way!

What activity here interests you the most to do for Top 10 Things to Do in Monteverde, Costa Rica?

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