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How to Spend One Day in Monteverde, Costa Rica

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During my trip to Costa Rica, we only had one day in Monteverde. We were originally spending two days in Monteverde, but we moved one of our tours to the Arenal area so we only needed one day in the area.

Monteverde is known for being the home to one of the worlds largest cloud forests. It is also a hub for many adventure activities and tours. Continue reading for some ideas and suggestions on how to spend your time in Monteverde.

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How to Get to Monteverde

The best way to get to Monteverde is by car. If you’re arriving in Costa Rica via Liberia or San Jose, it’s easy enough to get a car as rental companies will pick you up from the airport for free and take you to the rental facility.

We rented a car through Adobe and it was a super easy process. Also, there weren’t any surprise fees or charges when we picked up our vehicle. The price we were quoted online is the price we paid.

From San Jose, the drive is simple enough. The highways and roads are paved and well maintained. However, the last half of your drive you’ll start to face some unpaved roads. The roads also become winding, narrow, and steep at some points.

Although a 4×4 vehicle isn’t mandatory, I would highly recommend getting one for driving in Costa Rica. Also, if you’ve never driven in Costa Rica, try to get all your driving done during the day/daylight as the roads aren’t the greatest.

It’ll take you about 2.5 hours from San Jose to get to Monteverde, and close to 2 from Liberia, granted there’s no construction or traffic. The best navigation app to use in Costa Rica is Waze so make sure to download it before hitting the road.

If you’re not planning on renting a car or don’t want to, there’s also the option of taking a bus. From San Jose there is a public bus for 2800 colones (~$6 USD), that departs at 6:30 AM and 2:30 PM that takes about 4.5 hours. There’s also shared shuttle services which will cost around $57 USD and take 3.5 hours. Then of course, there’s the private transfer option which will take about 3 hours and is $179 for up to 6 people.

Where to Stay in Monteverde

We stayed at Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco. Monteverde is a big Ecotourism spot, so a lot of the accommodations have eco-friendly practices. Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco has four levels in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism of the ICT (Costa Rican Tourism Institute), and is a part of the Blue Flag program.

Upon arriving at Poco a Poco, we were greeted with a delicious welcome drink. After a quick info session and check in, we made it to our room. We booked a Quetzal Deluxe Double Room which was clean and comfortable for us. As we were only in Monteverde for one night, we didn’t get a chance to explore the property, but from the pictures online it looks really pretty.

Budget Option:
If you’re on more of a budget, check out Selina. Selinas are littered all over the world and boast themselves as accommodations for those working and living abroad. Some also have some fun perks like free yoga in the morning, live music, and happy hour.

Luxury Option:
If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, Senda Monteverde looks amazing. As a member of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels, Senda aims to change the hotelier game with environmental awareness efforts and sustainability programs.

Where to Eat + Drink

Toro Tinto – We had dinner here and had some amazing steaks.

Tree House Restaurante – If you’ve been googling places to eat in Monteverde, more than likely this place has come up. Its a restaurant with a giant tree growing through the middle of it, giving it treehouse vibes. We didn’t eat here but it would be a cool experience.

Zuccaro Coffee & bakery – A great place to grab a coffee and a pastry. We went by twice while we were in Monteverde.

Cafe Monteverde Coffee Shop – Another place to grab a coffee. Cafe Monteverde also offers coffee farm tours.

Taco Taco – This place was recommended by a lot of the blogs I was reading; however, we weren’t very impressed. Our food took forever and when we got it, it wasn’t great. We tried a variety of tacos and the avocado ones were my favorite by a long shot. I’m putting it on the list though because maybe we didn’t care from them because we live in Arizona with some of the best Mexican food out there and it’s hard to compete.

San Lucas Treetop Dining Experience – If you’re looking for a fine dining experience unlike any other, check out the San Lucas Treetop Dining Experience.You get your own little treehouse pod where you’ll enjoy a 7 course tasting menu. If I were to return to Costa Rica I would love to try this place.

What to Do in Monteverde

As previously mentioned before, Monteverde is home to a cloud forest and a hub for adventure activities. A visit to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or one of the other reserves ( Santa Elena and Bosque Eterno de los Ninos) is an obvious option. Then, there’s also zip lining, bungee jumping, rafting and more. Read: Things to do in Monteverde.

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