Spending 4 Days in the Laidback Town of Monteverde, Costa Rica

Updated: Oct 20



In case you missed my first post, I recently spent two weeks in Costa Rica and the first town my boyfriend and I stayed in was La Fortuna. We went white water rafting, canyoning, sloth sighting, and so much more. If you want to read these posts in chronological order or if you want to read more about my La Fortuna adventures, go check it out!


But after four days in La Fortuna, it was time to pack up our bags again and head into the mountains, Monteverde to be precise.


From La Fortuna to Monteverde


It was about a three-hour drive from La Fortuna to Monteverde, but the scenery made it feel much shorter. As we drove up the mountain and our surroundings became more green and lush, we could already tell we were going to like this town better than the last. The roads were steep and winding and we passed countless pastures with grazing animals on the way up.


When we reached our bed&breakfast, we encountered a situation similar to our last hotel. The staff brought us to our room, which happened to be a tiny room at the bottom of two flights of stairs with no windows. It felt like a cave.


We knew it was a long shot, but we asked if there were any rooms with balconies (or at least windows) available and said we would pay for the upgrade. The staff was so friendly and found us the most amazing room—with a private balcony—and upgraded us at no cost. We were dumbfounded and insisted on paying but they said that the room was vacant anyway and they wanted to make sure we had the best time possible.


This was the second time in Costa Rica that we were placed in the nicest room with the most spectacular view just because we asked nicely. A little bit of humanity can go a long way.


The view from our B&B

I didn't book any excursions for our first day in Monteverde because I like to get to know an area when I first arrive. So, my boyfriend and I spent our first day there just exploring the town—it was only a 10-minute walk to the cute downtown area.


The downtown area in Monteverde felt much more comfortable than the city-like downtown in La Fortuna. And when I say comfortable, I mean that it was much more pedestrian-friendly. Lots of couples were walking around and exploring the gift shops, cafes, and restaurants and the whole area had a chill, laidback feel to it. There's also a cute orchid garden at the bottom of the hill that gives tours.


The town had everything we could need, yet it was small and charming. I think Monteverde had to be my favorite town we visited in Costa Rica.


However, because Monteverde is up in the mountains, we found the weather to be intense and unpredictable. When we arrived, it was sunny. Then when we went to take a walk, the wind picked up and was super intense, while we were walking around the town it began to rain, and when we went for dinner it cleared up and we were rewarded with the most beautiful sunset. We definitely learned to pack for all forms of weather in Monteverde.


Sunset in Monteverde

Horseback Riding


The next morning we woke up early for what was going to be one of my favorite days of the trip (I know I said white water rafting was one of my favorite activities, but I can have multiple favorites, right?)


We signed up for a full day of horseback riding with a local rancher. It was a public tour but we happened to be the only ones who signed up that day, so it was just us and our host Marvin.


Marvin was as charismatic as they get. He whistled and a herd of horses came galloping towards us in their huge enclosure. We helped him bring each horse in for breakfast, he washed the horses we were going to ride that day, and we saddled them up and headed off.


I'm no horseback riding expert. Actually, I only went riding once in my adult life and that was on our trip to Hawaii last year, but I signed up for the full 6+ hour "All Day Cowboy Ride" experience anyway. I knew it was going to be rough (on my butt) but I also don't know if we'd ever get a chance to go horseback riding with a local through the mountains of Costa Rica again, so we just went for it.


I don't speak lightly when I say that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The weather was perfect—sunny and clear—even though it had been dicey since we arrived in Costa Rica. The views were spectacular. They were the kinds of views that you just can't capture in photos no matter how hard you try. Our horses, Mariachi and Buffy, were super well-trained and easy to control, and Marvin was singing old cowboy songs and cracking jokes the whole time.


Horseback riding in Monteverde

We rode for hours through the mountains, down steep hills, and through rocky rivers before we stopped for lunch by a river in a wooded valley.


We ate sandwiches and fruit and watched a monkey family swing through the trees above us. Then Marvin told us that there was a small waterfall along the river if we wanted to go exploring, so of course, we did.

The path wasn't as straightforward as we thought it was going to be. My boyfriend and I had to hop from rock to rock and I definitely almost fell in the water a few times. But when we reached the waterfall it was worth it.


It wasn't a large waterfall, just a small clearing. But the water was turquoise and there was a small swimming hole. And other than Marvin, who was still upstream with the horses, there was nobody around for miles. I think Marvin expected us to have some romantic alone time there, but instead, we played around like children, finding lizards and cool bugs.


After my boyfriend took a dip in the water to cool down, we made our way back to Marvin, prepped the horses again, and set off.


I don't remember exactly what time we arrived back at the stables, but I know the sun was getting lower in the sky and my butt bones felt thoroughly bruised (Marvin said that I wouldn't forget my horse Mirarchi for days after this ride, and he wasn't wrong).


I highly highly recommend this ride to anybody who has a free day in Monteverde. It's one thing to drive through the mountains on winding roads, but it's another feeling entirely to traverse the rocky hills on horseback, smelling the fresh air, and spotting wildlife.


If anybody is curious, this is the link to Marvin's tour.


Zipping Through the Jungle


The following day in Monteverde we headed back into the jungle and did a zip line course. I'm going to be completely honest here, I feel like once you go zip lining once there isn't much of a reason to go again unless there's some unique draw or scenery.

My boyfriend on the Superman zip line

We went ziplining in Chiang Mai, Thailand a couple of years ago and that experience was much better than this one. In Thailand, we flew over sprawling views of rice paddies and mountains. In Costa Rica, most of the zip lines were pretty short and went through the forest, so there wasn't much to see. Also, they booked huge groups at once, so we had to wait in lines for each zip line and were rushed off the line and herded towards the next one each time.


The one unique draw of this zip line course was the superman zipline. I never ziplined face-first before and that was quite an experience. Gliding over the jungle on my stomach made me feel like a bird and it was oddly calming and relaxing.


Overall though, I'll probably skip zip lining on my next adventure unless there's a specific reason not to.


Jungle Night Walk


The same day we went zip lining, we took a night walk through the jungle. Please don't get the wrong idea, I'm not trying to sound like a negative-Nancy here, but the night walk was sort of a bust as well.

Sleeping rainbow toucan at night

There were so many groups doing tours in the same area that I would've been shocked if we saw any rare wildlife. The tour guides had walkie-talkies to alert one another if they saw any interesting animals—so between the tourists talking and the walkie-talkies, I'm sure most of the nocturnal animals stayed far away.


We did spot a couple of coati (a raccoon-like animal) up in the trees and a sleeping rainbow toucan (which was beautiful) but other than that, it was a lot of running around and slipping in the mud with flashlights.


I'm not saying all night walks in Monteverde are like this, but this was our experience.


Despite some of our excursions in Monteverde not turning out quite as we'd hoped, we still had a blast. It takes a lot to get my boyfriend and me down and we try to make the best of every experience. I'd take a mediocre zip line tour through the Costa Rican jungle over working at my desk any day.


Bungee Jumping


Do you remember in my last post when I said I have a fear of free-falling? Yeah. That's still very much a thing. So it wasn't me who went hurtling face-first off a tram into a valley with rubber bands strapped to my ankles, it was my boyfriend.

Bungee jumping in Monteverde

He had always told me that he wanted to try bungee jumping at some point in his life, it was sort of a bucket list item for him. So when we saw that an adventure park near us had a 200-foot jump from a height of nearly 500-feet, we couldn't pass up that opportunity.


I had to wait in an observation area, but I still think I was more nervous than my boyfriend was. As one does, I kept imagining him jumping and the band snapping.


But, being the adrenaline-junkie that he is, my boyfriend stayed calm and cool the whole time and even comforted the other nervous jumpers who went with him.


Obviously, I wouldn't be calmly typing this post if anything had gone wrong. He was the first to jump and had the time of his life. Now he can check bungee jumping off his bucket list (and I'm sure there will be more bungee jumping adventures in his future).


One aspect that I really enjoyed about this adventure is that it made me appreciate our relationship even more. My boyfriend never tried to convince me to come with him and completely respected my decision to sit this excursion out (he never called me boring or a chicken for not jumping). Additionally, I never asked him not to go or tried to discourage him from doing a solo excursion on our couple's trip.


I think it's really cool that my boyfriend and I can completely support each other's wishes and respect each other's interests without holding one another back. I think that's really important in a relationship and if your significant other wants to try something that you're not interested in (or vice-versa) you should encourage each other to do what they want. Life's too short to live somebody else's dream!


Monteverde Hanging Bridges


Unfortunately, we forgot to plan the famous hanging bridges into our schedule. We had a boat tour booked for later that afternoon in a different part of Costa Rica, but I just couldn't leave Monteverde without seeing the hanging bridges.

Selvatura Hanging Bridges

On the morning we were supposed to leave Monteverde, we made a last-minute stop at Selvatura Park. We arrived as soon as the park opened and were the first—and only—ones there. We had the whole park to ourselves and it was perfect! I highly recommend getting there early.


We viewed the cloud forest from high above the canopy, walking across some suspension bridges that were nearly 600-feet long.


We didn't book a tour and took the bridges at our own pace, which allowed us to enjoy the scenery and take some amazing photos (without other tourists in the background). If you can work the hanging bridges into your schedule, I definitely recommend doing so.


Saying Goodbye


The town of Monteverde was much more my vibe than La Fortuna was. I guess you could describe it as sort of a hipster vibe. The town was laid back, the locals were extremely kind and friendly, and there were a lot of things to do in the area.


If you plan to go to Monteverde, keep a few things in mind: as the name describes, the town is located up in the mountains. This means that the town is likely to be much colder than other parts of Costa Rica, so bring your jacket! Also, as I mentioned earlier, the weather here is unpredictable. At some points the wind was so strong I thought I was going to blow away, it usually rained at least once a day, and when the sun does shine, the UV rays are very strong. So pack some good quality waterproofs, sunscreen, and some long sleeves!


In my next post, come along with me to one of Costa Rica's lesser-known beach towns for five days!


 

If you got to the end of this post, thank you so much for taking the time to visit my page!<3

If any of this information helped you, or if you have advice of your own, feel free to give this post a like, comment, or share!


See you soon!

~Hannah


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