Monteverde, Costa Rica lives up to its name, green mountains surround you. This Monteverde itinerary will have you exploring enchanted cloud forests, admiring diverse vegetation, and spotting the most gorgeous wildlife.
Monteverde is truly a special place and a must visit on your Costa Rica adventure.
Having personally experienced the beauty of Monteverde during the spring months, I am happy to be sharing and assisting you in creating this 2 day Monteverde itinerary for your upcoming holiday!
Some links in this Monteverde Itinerary post are affiliate, if you click them I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
How many days in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Recommended length of stay in Monteverde: 2-3 days
Our stay in Monteverde: 2 days
Reason for longer stay: To fully get to immerse yourself in rural Costa Rican culture, spend time on a farm and learn from locals
Best Time to Visit Monteverde
As with most regions in Costa Rica, the best time to visit Monteverde is dependent on your travel preferences.
The dry season in Monteverde is from December to April, rain is minimal and the sun shines almost all day long. However, keep in mind that with the gorgeous weather comes the crowds.
The rainy season, known as the “green season” in Monteverde, is from May to November. This is when Monteverde shines the brightest (not literally).
The greenery is so lush in the rainy season that some say this is truly the best time to visit the cloud forests.
Although it may not be as green during the dry season, visiting myself in March (at the end of dry season), the greenery was gorgeous and I was mesmerized!
It is a much cooler climate in this region compared to the rest of Costa Rica so don’t forget to pack some warmer clothes if you are visiting.
The temperatures range from low/mid 10°C – high 30°C (50-86°F).
How to get to Monteverde
Monteverde Driving Routes
- SJO Airport -> Monteverde: 2.5-3 hours via Route 27 & 606
- LIR Airport -> Monteverde: 2.5 hours via Route 1, 142 & 145
- La Fortuna -> Monteverde: 2.5 hours via Route 142 & 145 (similar to above)
- Tamarindo -> Monteverde: 3.5 hours via Route 21, 18 & 145
We took the La Fortuna -> Monteverde route. It was beautiful. The views are amazing, and, while driving, the regions change, resulting in a change of the scenery.
From lakes and rainforests to green pastures and mountains, you will have views aplenty.
The routes are paved, however, as you enter Monteverde the roads are not as smooth. Depending on your final destination, a 4×4 may be necessary. We stayed at a farm Airbnb deeper into the mountains and a 4×4 was required.
At another point in our trip, we took routes 21 and 18, (when leaving Tamarindo, Guanacaste Province), these are also well maintained and paved.
Need a car? Head to Rental Cars for deals.
Public Bus: Transmonteverde
Transmonteverde is a bus that goes from San Jose to Monteverde. The bus runs daily, two times per day, at 6:30 AM and 2:30 PM.
The cost is around $6.00 USD
Where to stay in Monteverde
When I was recently in Monteverde, we stayed in a finca (farm). It was one of the coolest experiences and I highly recommend it for a fun way to experience the culture of this region.
Depending on where the farm is located, you will most likely need a 4×4 car rental to accommodate the poorly paved roads!
Check out Monteverde vacation rentals to find your best fit!
If that’s not for you, below are some hotels in Monteverde and Santa Elena.
Luxury Hotels in Monteverde
1. Koora Hotel: Stay in the cloud forests of Monteverde at Koora Hotel. Koora Hotel is listed as the #1 Hotel in Monteverde by TripAdvisor.
This luxury hotel offers suites and bungalows, the perfect backdrop for your adventure. View monkeys and birds on your way to your bungalow and spend time enjoying the Costa Rican cuisine at their on site restaurant, Kiré.
2. Monteverde Lodge & Gardens: Located a short walk from downtown Monteverde but far enough away to feel like you’re in paradise. Visit Monteverde Lodge & Gardens for a tranquil escape.
This hotel is rated #1 in all of Santa Elena hotels.
Wake up to forest views while lying upon your plush bed, go for a quick dip after the cloud forest hikes and have a bite to eat at their on-site restaurant, El Jardin Restaurant.
3. Hotel Belmar: Located in the cloud forest is this gorgeous Hotel Belmar.
Fabulous on site amenities are offered here including; yoga classes, spa, juice bar, tea room, on site restaurant, and farm visits!
This is definitely one of the cooler places to stay in the region. Check them out here.
Mid-Range Monteverde Hotels
1. Camino Verde Bed & Breakfast: Stay here for a Costa Rican lodging experience that will have you feeling at home.
Tours, transportation and breakfast included Camino Verde is one of the best stays for value in Monteverde.
2. Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco Costa Rica: What started off small is now a large complex with stunning amenities.
Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco has free parking, a pool onsite, extensive spa menu, restaurant and bar on site and most importantly, free breakfast!Booking.com
Monteverde Budget Hotels
1. Hakuna Matata Guest House: A Monteverde guest house with access to a shared kitchen and bathroom. A few kilometres from Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Airport shuttle can be arranged ahead of time for an additional cost.
2. Selina Monteverde: For a hostel stay check out Selina Monteverde. Shared rooms and amenities help to keep things under budget. Enjoy group classes from yoga to movie or karaoke nights.
Monteverde Itinerary: 2 Days in Monteverde
Let’s pack your bags and head out on your Monteverde adventure! Whether you are starting off in Monteverde or tagging it onto a longer Costa Rica trip, you are in for a treat!
Day 1: Santa Elena & Coffee/Chocolate Tour
Morning: Drive to Santa Elena, Monteverde Region (Puntarenas province)
See the driving routes above.
Lunch time/ Early afternoon: Santa Elena
Once you get to Santa Elena, park your car and walk around this sweet town.
Obviously, I am starting the Monteverde itinerary with Costa Rican food…
There are so many cute stores & souvenir shops. We spent a good chunk of time just wandering around.
This is one of my favourite ways to get to know a town.
Go ahead and get lost!! People are friendly, you will find your way back to your car.
Afternoon: Chocolate, Coffee & Sugar Cane Tour
Spend your afternoon indulging in some of Costa Rica’s best natural elements.
A) Join a local 3-in-1 tour that visits a chocolate farm, coffee and sugar plantation. This tour offers pick up & drop off to your stay in Monteverde or Santa Elena.
B) A larger tour company that runs in Arenal & Monteverde is Don Juan Tours. They offer chocolate, coffee & sugar cane tours.
The chocolate, coffee & sugar cane tour is 2 hours in length with a few time options.
Additionally, they offer a night walk option with coffee & chocolate which starts at 5:30 PM.
You can also do a 4-in-1 tour; this includes coffee, chocolate, sugar cane & a night walk.
Evening: Head to your Airbnb/Hotel
If you have the chance, (and a 4×4 vehicle), I recommend staying at a finca (farm), to get a full Costa Rican experience.
Our Airbnb had sheep, cows & horses. We got to spend time feeding the sheep with bananas from their trees, hanging out with the horses and watching the cows get bathed. It was amazing!!
Our Airbnb/farm was well maintained with many fruits & vegetables that they graciously shared with us (even coffee plants)!
It was truly an unforgettable Costa Rican experience. I strongly encourage you all to stay at a finca!
Below are a few photos from our stay.
TIP: Make sure you head to your Airbnb/Hotel before dark.
If you are staying deeper into the mountains it is important to drive with the daylight so as not to get lost/stuck in a ditch.
Many of Monteverde’s roads are not well paved and definitely are not lit in the dark, so avoid driving in the dark at all costs. Once the sun sets in Costa Rica it becomes dark FAST.
Day 2: Ziplining & Monteverde Cloud Forest
Morning: Breakfast & Ziplining at Sky Adventures Park
Head to breakfast at Choco Café Restaurant & Coffee Shop, I am sure you are not sick of chocolate and coffee yet (haha).
After a fabulous breakfast, head for your first adventure of the day… Ziplining!
This Monteverde 2 day itinerary would be incomplete without ziplining.
You can visit any park and pay for tickets there, OR you can purchase a tour package that includes pick up and drop off here.
Do NOT leave this activity out when planning your trip to Costa Rica and/or the Monteverde region.
It is AMAZING!! I recommend Sky Adventures Park. They were professional, safe & most of all fun to hang with for the day!
Look, how beautiful!!
Lunch: Have a delicious pizza lunch at Bon Appetit!
Afternoon: Monteverde Cloud Forest & Biological Preserve or Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
One thing you MUST do on your two days in Monteverde is visit a cloud forest. This region of Costa Rica is KNOWN for them.
You can visit one of the below mentioned parks or opt for the hanging bridges walk at the Sky Adventures Park (this can be purchased as part of a package with your zipline tour).
Head to their website here, to book a tour!
If you do choose to go to Monteverde Cloud Forest, please be advised that you must pay for parking at the parking lot below and they shuttle you up to the cloud forest.
If you have not seen hanging bridges yet and are dying to at this park, ensure that it is open to visitors. When we were about to head over, we were told that the hanging bridge was closed for maintenance.
Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve offers free parking.
They recommend that you book in advance for special tours. If you would just like to purchase the entrance pass you can show up day of.
Head to their website here for booking.
Interested in taking a night walking tour of the cloud forest to see nocturnal creatures?
Look no further, this tour includes pick up & drop off from your hotel, a tour guide and entry tickets into Monteverde Cloud Forest at night.
The tour lasts about 2.5 hours and includes flashlights.
If you visit Arenal, Costa Rica first, make sure to visit Mistico Hanging Bridges Park for an amazing suspension bridge experience.
Evening: Dinner & bed
Restaurants in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Head to dinner or order takeout from a restaurant in town. If you haven’t tried the above mentioned restaurants, I recommend giving them a try.
They are: Tico y Rico, Bon Appetit and Choco Café Restaurante & Coffee Shop.
Some other restaurants on my list:
- Restaurante Sabor Tico
- Tree House Restaurante
- The Green Restaurant
Busy? Pin the 2 Days in Monteverde for later!
Need help with personal travel planning?
I create custom itineraries and activity guides starting at $25.00 CAD per day!
Monteverde Itinerary Final Thoughts
Monteverde is the perfect destination for outdoor adventure and wildlife. It brings something different and contrasts Costa Rica’s beach towns, volcanoes and luxurious hot springs.
With its awe-inspiring cloud forests, abundant greenery, and remarkable biodiversity, this region will have you leaving a piece of your heart behind.
This detailed Monteverde itinerary offers a taste of the wonderful experiences awaiting you in Monteverde. Make sure to add onto this Costa Rican adventure with a trip to Manuel Antonio!
Whether visiting for a little or a long time, your Costa Rica trip will have you returning again and again.