Two Days in Monteverde

Day One: Cloud Forest

Day Two: Hanging Bridges

Day One Itinerary

  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Ice Cream from Monteverde Cheese Factory
  • Dinner at Tree House

Day Two Itinerary

  • Selvatura Treetop Walkways
  • Souvenir shopping in Monteverde
  • Dinner from El Hornito de Pilo
  • Sunset picnic

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 two days in Monteverde.

Drive to Monteverde
Drive to Monteverde

Day One

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

PlaceMonteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Opening Times7-4
Price$25 ($5 for car park/shuttle)
Driving ScheduleMonteverde to Cloud Forest Reserve
Distance4 km
Driving Time10 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.

Sellina Hotel Monteverde
Selina Hotel

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.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Map
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Map

Sendero Nuboso

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.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Sendero Nuboso
Sendero Nuboso
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Sendero Nuboso
Sendero Nuboso

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.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Sendero Nuboso viewpoint
Sendero Nubosa viewpoint

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.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Sendero La Ventana Viewpoint
Sendero La Ventana Viewpoint

Sendero Camino

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!

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Sendero Camino
Sendero Camino

Quebrada Cuecha

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.

Road to Monteverde

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.

Monteverde Cheese Factory
Monteverde Cheese Factory

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.

Monteverde Cheese Factory
Monteverde Cheese Factory courtyard

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.

Monteverde rainbow
Monteverde rainbow

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!

Tree House Restaurant
Tree House Restaurant
Tree House Restaurant interior
Tree House Restaurant interior
Arroz Tree House
Arroz Tree House

Day 2

Selvatura Treetop Walkways

PlaceSelvatura Park
Opening Times8.30-4.00
Driving ScheduleMonteverde to Selvatura P{ark
Distance6 km
Driving Time20 minutes

From the plethora of cloud forest activities on offer, for our second day we selected the Treetop Walkways at Selvatura Park. This can be booked online or via your hotel. The cost of tickets is $40.56, which includes hotel pick up. If you opt for hotel pick up, there are 4 x 1.5 hour tour times: (8.30, 11.00, 1.00 or 2.30) and the bus will pick you up around 30 minutes before your selected tour time.

Driving to Monteverde
Driving in Monteverde

If, like us, you choose to make your own way to the park, it isn’t necessary to stick to these tour times and you have the freedom to take as much (or as little) time in the park as you wish. It’s only a short (6 km) drive from Monteverde, but after the first couple of kilometres, you leave the paved road and the rest of the journey is along rather bumpy tracks. Google Maps told us it would be 20 minute drive. Google Maps was being a little optimistic…

Selvatura Park

Upon arrival at Selvatura, there is ample free parking. Once you have completed the necessary formalities, you can set off along the Treetop Walkways. The trail is 3 km long and consists of 8 hanging bridges, the longest being almost 200 metres long. If, like me, you’re not good with heights, you’re in for a bit of an ordeal – especially when the first bridge had a snake on it!

Snake on Bridge No 1

Bridge 1 – a mere 65 metres long and 17 metres high is like a warm up for the main attraction. I was halfway across when I met this little chap just hanging around enjoying the view. Bridge 2 is 82 metres long and 19 metres high. It’s like they’re gently cranking up the fear factor. Bridge No 3 is 115 metres long and 34 metres high.

On to number 4; this is the the biggest bridge at 157 metres long! You can’t even see the other end. It must only take a couple of minutes to cross, but it’s like being stuck in a bad dream with the end never seeming to get any closer. The old man says something ridiculous like ‘wow look at the view’. That’s exactly what I’m trying not to do as the view is a very long way down.

View of Bridge 4

After that, the bridges start to decrease in length again with bridge No 5 being a mere 120 metres long. Once you have completed the full 8 bridge trail, and returned to main entrance, there are other attractions on offer; a zipwire, sloth trail, butterfly garden, reptile exhibition. Each is priced separately, or you can get combination tickets.

View from Bridge 5

Souvenir Shopping in Monteverde

Once you are done with cloud forest activities, head back into Monteverde. As a predominantly tourist town, there are plenty of shops selling a huge range of souvenirs. Take some time for a wander around, see what takes your fancy. Or maybe just find a bar or coffee shop to chill in – there are plenty of those too.

Souvenirs shopping Monteverde
Souvenir shopping in Monteverde

Lunch from El Hornito de Pilo

While you’re in town, buy some provisions for a sunset picnic. We went to El Hornito de Pilo bakery which sells delicious pizzas, empanadas, cakes, bread… We went here several times during our trip so I can vouch for all of it! I was too busy stuffing my face to take photos, so here are a few from the bakery’s website…

Sunset Picnic

Once you have obtained your picnic supplies (there is a Megasuper supermarket opposite the bakery to buy drinks etc) follow route 620 towards the Cloud Forest Reserve for 1.5 km to reach the sunset viewpoint. You can’t miss it; apart from the fact it’s signposted, just follow the crowds! On this spot just outside town you can see across the mountains all the way to the ocean – a great way to round off your last evening in Monteverde.

Monteverde sunset

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