About Puntarenas Province
Monteverde in Costa Rica is a magical place. Mist-covered cloud forests, mountains and an abundance of tropical species are found here. It has vast jungle reserves that protect habitats and an environment where visitors can learn about fragile eco-systems. After you've trekked through the lush vegetation, there are lively bars and cafés in the town where you can try the local dishes. As well as natural beauty, Monteverde is also famed for its artists, with several galleries and studios dotted around the region.
You can stay in a central Monteverde hostel with murals on the walls, an outdoor terrace and a communal chill-out area with hammocks. There's also a hostel styled like a cosy family home (think wooden beds and bright linens) with private en-suite rooms and an outdoor terrace with stunning mountain views. Or pick a stylish hostel with brick interiors, plants and a pool table. Lots of Monteverde hostels give you a free breakfast – expect eggs, fresh bread, fruit and plenty of rich Costa Rican coffee.
Monteverde has a couple of areas to explore, the most popular being its lush nature reserves. The largest, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, is divided into different ecological zones. You'll find rainforest dotted with orchids, bright birds and butterflies – and even jaguars. Santa Elena is the main built-up area. Known as downtown Monteverde, it's a friendly place with bars and great places to eat. Monteverde means 'green mountain' and is part of an area set in the rugged Tilarán Mountain Range.
Monteverde is a nature-lover's paradise, with wildlife and tropical forest being the main attractions here. There's a Butterfly Garden, a Bat Jungle and a Herpetarium adventure where you can discover snakes, lizards and frogs (they're behind glass for safety). For those looking to go deeper into nature, Reserva Santa Elena is a huge cloud forest with 12km of misty trails. After exploring its wonders, there's a restaurant and café – proceeds go to the reserves and environmental education programs.
The closest airports to Monteverde are San José International Airport (Juan Santamaría) and Liberia International Airport. From San José, the bus to Monteverde takes around four and a half hours. From Liberia you can book a shuttle that will get you to Monteverde in three to four hours. If you're coming by bus from La Fortuna, the journey is around eight hours (and you'll need to change at Tilarán). For getting around the area, most hostels can arrange transport and tours.