When planning a Costa Rica itinerary, it may seem like the Monteverde Cloud Forest is a must-do. That was our impression so we planned to visit Monteverde in between Montezuma and La Fortuna. Read more about how to get to Monteverde from Montezuma here and read about our entire Costa Rica trip here.
Visiting the Monteverde Cloud Forest
One of the main draws to visiting Costa Rica is the wildlife. As the most biodiverse country in Central America this is clearly the thing to do. We were pumped to see monkeys and sloths so needless to say we were immediately disappointed when our guide informed us that this is not to be expected as it is too cold in the cloud forest to see these mammals. He said with great excitement that we may be able to see several birds. Birds!? The $50 guide and $20 entrance fee didn’t seem so worth it anymore.
Our guide was knowledgeable and we learned some fun facts about the cloud forest but we honestly left a little disappointed. The free cloud forest tour we did in Salento, Colombia was WAY more interesting. We did see several birds including the rare Quetzal. Don’t get me wrong this bird is beautiful and I was excited to finally see one after spending almost two months in Guatemala (it is their national bird).
People went nuts for these birds! Telescopes and cameras were being whipped out in a fury! We didn’t really get the hype. I think the highlight of our tour was seeing a sloth near the parking lot and a coati by the gift shop! We ended up seeing more wildlife without a tour in La Fortuna. Insider Tip: If you don’t want to splurge on the swinging bridges tour, there is one you can walk across in the cloud forest!
Benefits of Staying in Monteverde
One thing we did love in Monteverde was our hotel, Monteverde Inn, which was fantastic. It has great views, a delicious restaurant, and comfortable yet affordable rooms. The best part is that the hotel backs up to the Valle Escondido Nature Preserve which has several nature trails and an amazing hammock garden. This is a great place for a nap! People staying elsewhere come to visit the nature preserve so it was nice to have it so easily accessible. A highlight of the Valle Escondido Nature Preserve is the night tour. Several creatures are nocturnal so this is the best time to see them! We saw spiders, scorpions, glowing beetles, and the rare kinkajou! At a price of $25 this tour was adventurous and a lot of fun!
Overall Monteverde was really nice but if you are deciding between there and another town maybe skip it unless you are an avid ornithologist.
Want more information to plan your trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest? Check out the Costa Rica Lonely Planet here.
For the birds,