Posted on April 29, 2014
Monteverde is a small town in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, located in the Cordillera de Tilarán. Roughly a four hour drive from the Central Valley, Monteverde is considered a major ecotourism destination in Costa Rica. The area is host to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and numerous other reserves, which draw considerable numbers of tourists and naturalists. I went to Monteverde to cool down after a month spent on different beaches of peninsula Nicoya and I really liked this place for different reasons: I couchsurfed here, but I also found a great hostel, I did my first zip line tour, I did the longest and most exciting horseback riding tour of my life and I discovered two amazing trees. And those avocado tacos, yummi! So what can you do in Monteverde? Check this out ☺
Where to stay.
I couchsurfed for 3 nights and it was a pretty funny experience. Usually when I couchsurf I want to have a local experience, I want to have a goodtime with a my host, learn about the culture, cook something, do some local activities… the place where I stayed in Monteverde was very nice, but my host really liked to have a company of many people, so besides me he had 5 more couchsurfers and he wanted to party every night. It was like a party hostel. No complains, I had fun and I’m grateful that I could stay for free, but I was also happy to move to Tranquilo hostel for the last night (10USD/night in a dorm). I used to go to this hostel for wifi everyday while I couchsurfed and they never charged me for anything. The owners are very friendly and helpful and when I was there they just opened a new and very nice dorm, plus their breakfast is awesome – including fresh fruits!
Where to eat (also for vegetarians).
Costa Rica is considered to be among the more expensive countries for budget travelers. And it really is, but it’s worth visiting. Eating outside can be usually expensive, and cooking is also not a very cheap option either. But I had to eat, so I used to go to “soda” – a typical restaurant that has a dish called “casado”. Casado includes rice, beans, salad and a main part, e.g. meat or fish or eggs or avocado. This dish is usually around 4-6 USD, depending where you eat it. In Monteverde I liked Soda Campesino for their casado and also for their vegetable soup (it was cold there!). But the best meal that I tried in Monteverde was from Taco Taco. Their avocado tacos were in deed amazing.
What to do.
There are plenty of things to do in Monteverde and yes it’s a very touristy and very well organized place. Perfect for travelers or tourists that don’t want to spend their time researching and planning their trip. This is what I did:
Horseback riding. I did a short horseback riding tour (2 hours) in Santa Teresa, so I thought that I was ready for a longer ride. I found a perfect tour that was called “In the clouds” from Horsetrek Monteverde and it was supposed to last for 4 hours (60USD). 4 hours is not a short time, especially when it involves lot of trotting and galloping, but I felt like I was ready for it. This tour had so many great reviews and I wasn’t disappointed. This was a first real horseback riding tour of my life. It didn’t feel like a slow walk on a beach, this was a real riding experience and the best and most exciting part was when the horse galloped and I felt like flying. Thanks to our guide Marvin (he is also a horse trainer) I learned a lot about horses and horseback riding, he took us to places with some amazing views and he also created a very nice atmosphere within the group. What I also liked was that Marvin breeds his own horses and the groups of tourists are small (4-6 people), so the whole experience was more personal. I was very soar the next day and it took me some days to recover, but it was worth it ☺ I recommend this tour to everyone who has some previous horseback riding experience, otherwise choose a shorter tour with Horsetrek Monteverde, because it could be too painful for you ☺
Canopy/Zip line. Wow! If I could I would swing and zip line every morning before going to work or just before starting another day. The zip line and Tarzan swing pumped energy into my body right away and I was ready for the whole day. Monteverde is a great location for zip lining, because the scenery is so beautiful and the local companies provide a really good service. I did my zip line tour with Original tours, but I heard from lot of travelers that Extremo is also worth it. My tour was great though, I did it at 7am and I was the only one, so I had two really friendly guides only for myself ☺
Trees. I am a big fan of trees and when I was child I used to climb them whenever I could. Before coming to Monteverde I heard some rumors that there were 2 amazing trees, so there was no doubt that I had to find them. What makes these trees special is another tree – ficus – that grows around the original tree and “eats” it from inside. The result is a huge tree that has a weird shape and many times it’s hollow. I climbed one of the trees through a trunk and I walked on the other tree, because it looked like a bridge. If you want to know where these trees are located ask the local hobbits or go to Tranquilo hostel and ask there.
Hiking. For some reason I didn’t hike in Monteverde cloud forest, but I heard that it’s worth it, so check it out if you like hiking. Many travellers go to do a night tour, but I’ve seen so many animals during my 6 week stay in Costa Rica, that it was not necessary for me. Anyway, the best animal night performance I’ve ever seen was a sloth climbing on an electric wire in Monteverde. It looked scary, but she and her baby made it to the other side ☺
Monteverde was a very nice place to discover in Costa Rica, the weather is cooler there, there are plenty of activities to do so it’s definitely worth visiting for at least 4 days. Have fun!!
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Do you remember the name or contact of the place you couch surfed in Monteverde?
hey Samantha! I don’t remember and I have a really bad connection now, so my CS account doesn’t want to load 🙁 he was one of the most active guys in Monteverde, I’m sure that you’ll find him or someone esle. safe travels!