Once you’ve been around Costa Rica, Monteverde comes as a pleasant change of scenery. It’s a cooler temperature, with greenery as far as the eye can see (hence the name). It’s also a much smaller town with a sweet, community feel.
Thus, the name of the game in this 2 day Monteverde budget guide is patronizing family-owned businesses. I’ll mention a few, and highly recommend them all. If you find yourself in this lush paradise, give them a whirl.
How to Spend 2 Days in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Introduction to Monteverde
Official Language(s): Spanish
Currency: Costa Rican colón
Emergency phone number: 911
When to Go to Monteverde
December – April
This is the sweet spot in Costa Rica weather. It’s the dry season (or as Costa Ricans call it, the less rainy season) so it’s easier to explore areas like the Cloud Forest. That said, it is a more crowded time of year, so prices will be higher. If you can, try to visit when there aren’t any holidays that tend to bring in the tourists.
Where to Stay in Monteverde
Mariposa Bed and Breakfast
It’s hard to find a more delightful setting than Mariposa Bed and Breakfast. By the end of my stay, I felt like family. The rooms are spacious, you’re a short walk from the Cloud Forest, and you’re situated in a little forest of your own. When I arrived, there was a monkey, and a few hummingbirds there to greet me. It’s a family owned and operated business with the kind of warmth and hospitality money can’t buy.
Monteverde Family House
If you prefer to be downtown, look no further than the Monteverde Family House. It’s also family owned and operated, and is close by attractions like the Serpentarium and Orchid Garden.
How to Get Around in Monteverde
Call a taxi
Taxis are in abundance (and your hostel will always call you one). Look for a red vehicle with a yellow logo. Before you get in, state your destination, and ask for the price. Then, you’re on your way!
That said, downtown is pretty walkable. You may only need transportation if you’re going from someplace like the Cloud Forest to the Bat Jungle and/or downtown.
Where to Eat in Monteverde
Restaurante Tico Y Rico
It’s hard to gauge what is and isn’t a tourist trap in the downtown area. But let me assure you, Tico Y Rico is the real stuff. Costa Rica turned me into a huge fan of casado tipicos, and they delivered.
This is right by the Bat Jungle (more on that in a bit) so it makes for a good post-bat watch stop. Come for the bats, stay for the delicious comfort food.
Casem is a bit hard to find, but well worth the search. It’s a women’s co-op where you can get great Costa Rican meals and shop local artist products. The very definition of buying local.
There’s a restaurant located in the Cloud Forest and eating inside it is downright surreal. We were bird spotting while noshing on hearty foods. Definitely a highlight.
Day 1 of 2 Days in Monteverde
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve
You’ve got quite a few options in this pretty place. There’s bird watching tours, natural history tours, or even a night walk. But if you just enjoy walking around, admiring the scenery, it’s only $25 and the preserve is all yours. There are a few different paths to take, and the front desk staff will point out the best based on what you like.
Be warned, altitude plus hilly terrain = exhaustion. Reserve at least half a day for the full experience. I hope you get a clear, sunny day. You can see the ocean from the viewpoints if you do.
If you’re lucky enough to venture in during a feeding, then folks, you’re in for a treat. It’s so wild to see bat after bat scrambling for fruit and nomming on it. The guest area has some educational facts about these cuties. They’re really trying to dispel some bad feelings many people have about bats. Highly recommend.
What. A. Garden. In fact, it’s actually a series of gardens that houses different species. Your guide will also show you a few bonus animals back in the educational center. As a bonus, I’m slightly less freaked out by all of the scary creatures that live in Costa Rica. Slightly, but hey, progress is progress.
(Example: I saw a scorpion in my room on my last night in Manuel Antonio, and didn’t flee town. I even got 3 whole hours of sleep!)
Day 2 of 2 Days in Monteverde
El Trapiche Coffee Tour
There are a couple of different coffee tour offerings in the Monteverde area, and that’s no accident. This place is excellent for coffee growing. So, of course, you’ll want to take a tour. Make it El Trapiche. It’s family owned and operated, and just so much fun.
You’ll walk through the coffee farms and see how a bean becomes a brew. Then, you’ll get to witness the whole process behind chocolate making. It’s fascinating, and includes a cocoa bean tasting and a chocolate tasting that’s ruined me for other chocolate.
Following that, it’s a sugarcane adventure as you see and taste every moment of the sugar making process. We even made our own candy caramel. It’s out of this world.
Finally, you’ll end your time in the family kitchen, sipping on coffee, lemonade, and homemade snacks. And leave with a few souvenirs. It’s hard not to.
Like coffee, Monteverde is also a great place for orchid growing. In my not so humble opinion, these are the prettiest of flowers. So, why wouldn’t you want to tour the garden and see them all up close and personal?
(Side note: on our journey from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio via shared transport, our driver stopped at a cafe/orchid farm. Orchids were abound. It was bliss.)
Assuming you weren’t too freaked out by the creepy crawlies from the Butterfly Garden, you may want to pay the Serpentarium a visit. A ticket here gets you double admission, should you decide you’d like to visit during the day and at night.
Know Before You Go
If you’re highly prone to altitude sickness, you may experience that in Monteverde. Good to keep in mind, bring whatever works as a remedy for you just in case.
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