Beautiful river & mountains near Monteverde
Beautiful river & mountains near Monteverde

There are some pockets of Costa Rica that don't have a pinch of modern living and that's the best reason to visit! The small town of Monteverde sits off a long dirt road branching from the Pan American Highway in the Central Highlands region of the country. You probably want to visit Monteverde because of the stunning cloud forest, but there are several other attractions that you can pack into a 24-hour visit at this mountaintop haven. Won't you join me in all of my favorite adventures of this region?

Bat Museum

Bats are a misunderstood creature, but you can learn all about these nocturnal animals at the Bat Museum! Throughout a simulated jungle atmosphere, 90 live bats that encompass eight different species fly, eat and could even give birth during your guided tour. Once you're done in the unique bat world, you can head upstairs to grab a bite to eat at the Cafe Cabure Restaurant Chocolate Shop. Owners Bob Carlson and Susana Salas have created a one-stop attraction where you could spend virtually your entire day. The restaurant serves traditional Argentinian cuisine, which you can top off with some sweet chocolate at the shop. A chocolate tour is even available for those with the sweetest of a sweet-tooth, and you get to learn about the entire process from cacao pod to delicious truffle.

Cows on a pasture near Monteverde
Cows on a pasture near Monteverde

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Now, the crown jewel of Monteverde may just be one of the most beautiful places you'll ever visit. Located along the continental divide at 4,662 feet above sea level, the Monteverde Cloud Forest spans more than 35,000 acres and encompasses eight life zones. At almost all times, there is a thick layer of clouds or fog that blankets the canopy and turns into rain droplets to water the plants below. With more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles occupying the land, there's no doubt you won't see some amazing wildlife here. This is one of the last remaining spots in my homeland that supports life for all six species of the cat family that reside in Costa Rica: Jaguars, ocelots, pumas, oncillas, margays and jaguarundis. It is also one of the only places in the world where the endangered three-wattled bellbird and resplendent quetzal call home.

Tucked away in the heart of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Selvatura Park offers you the chance to go zip-lining, bird-watching, hiking, or walk across suspension bridges that offer unparalleled views of the forest. There is a 13-kilometer network of trails that spans the forest, several of which lead up to viewing points like the La Ventana overlook where you can peer across the continental divide! Doesn't get much better than this!

Waterfall at Monteverde Reserve
Waterfall at Monteverde Reserve

Santa Elena

This small neighboring town is a great place to grab a bite to eat, as there are several yummy restaurants and cute shops where you can pick up handcrafted and artisan goods to remember your stay. Although this town doesn't have much in terms of modern conveniences, it was founded in 1950 by Quaker families who were seeking a new life away from the United States and any wars. Costa Rica was an obvious choice because of the lack of a military presence. Here, you will find a bank, lodging options and a Monteverde Cheese Factory.

Now that I've shared with you some of the places I hold near and dear to my froggy heart in Monteverde, I hope that you can have just as wonderful as an experience visiting here! In just 24 hours, you can enjoy all the magnificent scenery and wildlife of the area, but I will warn you, you will probably want to stay much longer than just a day.


Toddler wondering whats on the other side, at SelvaTura Park
Toddler wondering whats on the other side, at SelvaTura Park