While Costa Rica's beautiful beaches get much attention, and rightly so, some of the green in between is even more breathtaking to behold, especially in the misty mountain rainforest of Monteverde.
When the Quaker community chose Monteverde to settle in, they knew they had found someplace special, and spiritual, to call home. They set out to keep it as preserved as possible while living alongside their Costa Rican neighbors and an astounding assortment of species; amphibians, insects and birds especially like Monteverde's pre-montane rainforest climate, but sloths, monkeys and even kinkajou like it plenty, too.
Monteverde — Photo courtesy of The Mind's Eye Photography
The main attraction in Monteverde is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, an expansive, lush preserve that hosts an abundance of wildlife that inhabit the misty pre-montane rainforest. The entrance fee of nearly $20 US keeps some tourists away, but the price of admission is well worth it, and the amount of people that can visit per day is limited, so this is one of the few places in Monteverde where one may encounter a line - wait in it.
Monteverde Serpentarium — Photo courtesy of The Mind's Eye Photography
Monteverde's awesome scenery has inspired an entire community of artists, who have been drawn to Monteverde for nearly as long as the Quakers, and who have been actively producing some of the country's finest works, including a series of flowing wood sculptures. Several art galleries are open to the public, and excellent souvenir shopping may be done in Monteverde. Try CASEM, a cooperative of primarily female artists who offer art inspired by the natural beauty of Monteverde.
Most of the hotels in Monteverde are recognized for their superior on-site restaurants, but the stand-alone, and standout, Chimera, is one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the country, and it offers a spectacular view of the rainforest. The Monteverde Cheese Factory produces stellar dairy products that are popular all over the country, and it's open for tours of its cow-friendly operations daily.
As the sun sets, a whole new set of species emerges from the Monteverde rainforest, and a handful of tours are available to help you check them out. The Ranarium features an after dusk tour for an only-in-Costa Rica glimpse of nocturnal frogs and amphibians, and the Hidden Valley Night Tour offers an unparalleled peek at nocturnal mammals. Later on, head to Moon Shiva for dessert and live performances by local talent; look for flyers around town by day.