How Monteverde Costa Rica changed our minds?
People who know us could tell you we’re not into organised tours, we hate it. Even if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that. But we did two organised tours in Monteverde and didn’t regret it. This is in no way sponsored post, we paid full price for both activities but wanted to tell you about changing our minds towards this kind of activities.
Monteverde is situated on top of the continental divide at 1400 m asl. The main attraction is the cloud forest and its inhabitants. The forest gets its water from the clouds/fog surrounding it. You can find several reserves here. The biggest centre is Santa Elena with greatest selection of accommodation and restaurants.
First tour we want to talk about is
NIGHT WALK KINKAJOU in Monteverde Costa Rica
There are multiple night walk tours around Santa Elena. We were recommended this one by our B&B host and it turned out really well.
It’s roughly 2 hour walk in a forest with a guide who will show you all kind of animals living there. At the time of writing the article, the cost was 25$ pp including transport from and to your accommodation.
We chose 7 pm tour, they offer three different times – tour starting at 5:30, 7 and 8 pm. After you arrive to Kinkajou, you will be separated into groups, our group had 8 members + guide. And then you just walk around the forest with the torches trying to spot different animals. It depends very much on your guide as they know where to look and how to look. We can imagine that this is even more fun for “normal” people who haven’t lived in the jungle for 6 months, judging from the “ooh-aah” of our fellow group members when they heard noises from the forest ;). Of course as this is a wildlife spotting activity, nobody can guarantee you what and if you will see it. When reading reviews before taking this tour, there was a woman who called the agency asking if they guarantee 100% to see a sloth. Because the “family came to see the sloth”. Omg come down to earth, lady. Btw, we saw a sloth but very high up and just as a brown patch. The different guides communicate between themselves by walkie-talkies when one of them sees an animal to increase your chance to see as many animals as possible. Some people complain that it ruins their experience as they literally run from one spot to another but we didn’t have this feeling at all.You can see what kind of animals we have seen on the pictures but apologies for not perfect National Geographic close-ups. Our telephoto lens got stolen on Nicoya peninsula and we weren’t fond to walk to that eyelash pit viper and take a portrait with 35mm lens :D. To give you a full list, we’ve seen two types of toucans, sloth, opossum, little tree frog, eyelash pit viper, tarantula, scorpion, different kinds of spiders and bugs and almost an armadillo too but it hid into a hole 🙂
It’s definitely something new and different and as we have said if you don’t have many night experiences from the forest/jungle, you will like it even more. Don’t forget good shoes as it might get slippery on the forest trails after some rain.
The second paid organised activity we tried was
HANGING BRIDGES WALK in Monteverde Costa Rica
There are several options where to do it in Monteverde Costa Rica but we chose Selvatura park as they’ve got all the bridges within the cloud forest (others cross roads etc). It’s incredible opportunity to be this close to the forest and its inhabitants. We went early, the pick up was at 7:45 from the hotel and we didn’t regret it at all, as later in the day the clouds are usually much higher and you won’t get the same atmosphere. The cost of this acitivity was 35$ pp including the transport. Plus it isn’t your typical tour within a group with a guide. Of course you can pay for a guide but we wanted to enjoy the forest by ourselves.
You will find 8 hanging bridges there, the trail is 3 kms long and it’s a casual walk rather than a hike. The only thing we would have liked to see, as it was all paved anyways, was for the trail to be wheelchair accessible. The good thing about this activity is that you can do it at your own pace and nobody is rushing you. You’re only limited by the schedule of return transportion as it’s not too many shuttles going back.
We were advised to go early and we can tell you why now. When we were leaving Santa Elena, the sun was shining and it was starting to get hot. But we climbed up the road roughly 100 metres of altitude and we were covered in clouds. It was raining from time to time too. We both believe this is the right atmosphere to do the walk. Mystical, magical, truly captivating. When we were leaving the park at 11 am, you could tell the clouds were much higher already and the visitors won’t get the same experience. One of the reasons again to be an early bird.
Click on the image to see full gallery
You can do more activities in Selvatura park with separate tickets, like zip lining or visiting hummingbird garden but for us this was enough. We have to admit 35$ pp cuts into our budget significantly, as it’s more than our daily allowance but we don’t regret paying for it. You get to walk down between the trees as well as up in the canopy, so it’s worth it.
Even not being “tour kind” of people, we enjoyed both activities in Monteverde Costa Rica very much. Let us know if you like these kinds of posts – reviews of the places we’ve been and things we’ve tried. We may include more of it in the future (but probably still not too many organised tours ;)).