Monteverde Costa Rica in a Day

Updated: Jul 2

After leaving La Fortuna, Costa Rica, my roommate and I headed to Monteverde (or the cloud forest) to go adventuring and sightseeing. This trip to Monteverde was very short because we needed to get back home.

But, I feel as though spending a day in Santa Elena, the town closest to the cloud forest, was enough time to get to see some pretty cool sights and hang out in the forest.

In this blog, I will go over:

Related: La Fortuna Costa Rica on a Budget

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, and I may earn a small commission. I only recommend products and services that I love and use myself!

How to Get to Monteverde, Costa Rica

To get to Monteverde from La Fortuna, you will need to take either a bus, shuttle, car, or the jeep-to-boat taxi across the Arenal Lake.

We opted-in to renting a car for this trip. When driving to Monteverde from La Fortuna, you will take Highway 142 for most of the trip, and then you will drive on Highway 145 for the remainder of the drive. This trip took us 2.5 hours to get to Monteverde since we left in the morning. (This drive time can fluctuate based on the time of day you are leaving.)

La Fortuna to Monteverde

We saw several articles that said this route was "treacherous" and that we would need a 4x4 vehicle to make it. This made us nervous, but honestly, I think the other articles were very dramatic.

The roads were paved, so you shouldn't expect to have to scale any crazy dirt roads or anything of the sorts. It was VERY curvy though. But, if you drive slow, you will be absolutely fine.

Pro Tip: Be sure to fill up with gas before you go because we didn't see very many gas stations along the highway.

Where to Stay in Santa Elena (Monteverde)

At our last hostel, a girl recommended that we stay at the Coati Hostel in Santa Elena. We ended up getting a private room with two twin beds for only $24/night. This is extremely cheap when split between two people! (This was the same price as you would pay in a hostel dorm.)

Our hostel host was very friendly and helpful. He called our zip line tour company to make sure they were on their way, and he even took the time to show us some different things to do on the map.

Perks of the Coati Hostel:

  • Free Wifi

  • Full Kitchen

  • Free Parking

  • Restaurant on the First Level

  • Centrally Located

I love to use Hostelworld to book all of my hostel stays! I have found some of the best stays by using the platform (and best deals!)

What to Do in Monteverde

We arrived at our hostel in the early afternoon. So, after getting settled in our room, we went downstairs to enjoy lunch at our hostel's restaurant.

We had set up a zip line tour with our last hostel host from the La Choza Inn for us to do in Monteverde.

Zip Lining

We went zip lining with the 100% Aventura Company which cost $50 per person. It was nice because they had a bus that picked us up from the hostel, so we didn't have to worry about driving ourselves.

This company is known to have the longest zip lines in Latin America (and I can attest to their claim to fame). We even did a couple of "superman" zips where we zip lined laying face-down. It felt like I flying in a dream!

At the end of our tour, you had the option to do what they called the "Tarzan Swing". Which is basically a 50 ft. free fall until the rope catches you and swings you back and forth. I was a chicken and did not partake in the madness. My roommate and our new friend Paulina did it and loved it. So if you are an adrenaline junkie, the Tarzan Swing may be just the thrill you are looking for.


Another thing to look out for is the beautiful murals painted across the buildings in downtown Santa Elena. I saw several different murals in our time in Santa Elena, and they make for a great photo op. This one was one of my favorites! 🦋

Night Life

Because it gets dark pretty early in Costa Rica, we didn't have time to do anymore outdoor excursions. (Sadly.)

We had read about this place where you can do salsa dancing in downtown Santa Elena called Bar Amigos. Unfortunately, they did not have salsa dancing because of COVID when we went, but it was a nice place grab a beer and people watch nonetheless.

Planning a Trip to Monteverde?

Monteverde, Costa Rica is great for adventure seekers and leisure travelers alike. If you are planning on taking a trip to Monteverde, comment below on what you plan to do!


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