- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
- Ice Cream from Monteverde Cheese Factory
- Dinner at Tree House
The drive from the Costa Rican coast up into the cloud forest of Monteverde brings you, via stunning scenery, to a totally different world of verdant green, shrouded in cloud. There is plenty to do in the surrounding area, including a huge array of opportunities to hang above/zipwire through the cloud forest. Here is an itinerary for a pleasant, white knuckle free day in Monteverde.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
|Place||Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve|
|Price||$25 ($5 for car park/shuttle)|
|Driving Schedule||Monteverde to Cloud Forest Reserve|
|Driving Time||10 minutes|
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is only a four km drive from the town of Monteverde, but a few hundred metres higher in elevation, which brings you right up into the clouds. Car parking is provided a kilometre before the reserve entrance next to the Selina Hotel. Parking costs $5 per vehicle, which includes a regular shuttle bus to and from the reserve entrance.
The entrance fee is $25 for individual entry – or guided tours are available. If, like us, you choose to go it alone, there is a member of staff on duty to provide information and a trail map for you to photograph for future reference. Although there are a number of trails, when we visited in January 2022, several were hard to access as the hanging bridge had collapsed and isn’t likely to be repaired for some time.
The Sendero Nuboso, which is approximately 2 km long, takes you right through the heart of the cloud forest with lush green vegetation on either side. It leads onto the Sendero la Ventana.
Towards the top of the Sendero Nubosa is a viewpoint. When we visited, the view was mainly of a cloud. But it is a cloud forest, so I suppose that’s to be expected.
Sendero La Ventana
At the end of Sendero Nuboso, the Sendero La Ventana is short but steep. From here, we are promised a viewpoint across the Continental Divide (water on one side of the line flows into the Pacific Ocean and on the other side, into the Atlantic/Caribbean). If it’s cloudy when you arrive, wait a while. The cloud may shift. We were eventually rewarded with a partial view of the Continental Divide.
Returning to the entrance via the Sendero Camino will make around a two hour round hike if you stop to take as many pictures as I do!
Once back at the entrance plaza, head in the opposite direction along the Qurebrada Cuecha. This short (approx 600 metres) trail will bring you to a waterfall. You can then return via the Sendero Tosi (approx 800 metres). You could work your way round some of the other trails avoiding the closed section by the bridge, but we found that we’d had a sufficient cloud forest experience by then, and headed back into town.
Ice cream from Monteverde Cheese Factory
One the road to Monteverde, after around 1 km, you will see Monteverde Cheese Factory on the right. This used to be a locally owned factory which provided tours to observe the cheese making process. Now it is owned by a multinational company. If you read outdated travel advice, it will say that tours of the factory are available. This isn’t correct; the only part of the factory you can still access is the shop. Here, you can buy cheese (obviously) but its main draw is the ice cream.
I bought some locally produced cheese (Monte Rico) for lunch while the old man had an ice cream, which he ate in the cute little courtyard outside the shop, complete with milk churn water feature.
Complete the drive back to Monteverde and enjoy some time in the town itself; it’s a pretty little town, if a bit steep. One upside of being amongst the clouds is the predominance of rainbows.
Dinner at Tree House
For dinner with a difference, try Tree House; a restaurant built around a 100 year old fig tree. It’s a novel dining experience (reflected in the price). Although the food is very good!