Monteverde, Costa Rica is home to incredibly lush jungles and rainforests. The town of Monteverde, which translates to “green mountain,” is an excellent example of Costa Rica’s impressive biodiversity. Found in northern Costa Rica, Monteverde is tucked away in the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range, only a few hours from the capital of San Jose. If you’re looking for a fun and unique Costa Rican experience, add Monteverde to your itinerary.
This beautiful town is known for its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife, including a massive Cloud Forest, making the area a popular hub for ecotourism. From hiking to bird-watching, and from waterfalls to canopy tops, Monteverde is a perfect destination for those who love nature and adventure. This 2-day Monteverde itinerary will show you how to spend two days in this one-of-a-kind oasis.
Is Monteverde Worth the Trip?
In short, Monteverde is worth the trip and a must-visit location for your Costa Rica itinerary. There’s something for you in this mountainside town, from ziplining and nature walks to coffee plantations and horseback riding. A 2.5-hour drive northwest of the country’s capital of San Jose, Monteverde is an excellent destination, even for a short trip. If you can only spare two or three days to explore Monteverde, you’ll be glad you took the time.
How Many Days Do You Need in Monteverde?
With so many adventurous activities to see and do in Monteverde, it can feel overwhelming to figure out how long you want to stay in the area. I recommend at least two days in Monteverde to experience the best of this nature surrounded town. Planning a three-day trip will allow you to see even more of Monteverde’s incredible sights, but two days will work.
When to Visit Monteverde, Costa Rica
With how many jungles and rainforests you can find throughout Costa Rica, it should be no surprise that the country is prone to rainy weather. The rainy season in Costa Rica typically runs from May to November and can lead to trails and roads in the area being closed due to flooding. The best time to visit Monteverde is during the dry season, which generally occurs from November to May. My visit to Monteverde was in late June, and it rained off and on, but I had rain gear and didn’t let it ruin the trip.
How to Get to Monteverde from San Jose, Costa Rica
To get from San Jose to Monteverde, you can take a minivan, a public bus, a private transfer, a taxi, or drive a rental car. Getting to Monteverde will take 2.5 – 5.5 hours, depending on your method of transportation.
Taking a public bus is the cheapest transportation mode but takes the longest transport time. Taking a minivan, private shuttle, taxi, or driving a rental car will cost more but save you time. Choose the form of transportation you prefer and fits your budget, and plan your way to and from Monteverde ahead so you can plan your Monteverde itinerary accordingly.
During my visit to Monteverde, we drove a rental car. Renting a car gave us freedom in our schedule and allowed us the ability to detour to see other things along the way. With many winding dirt roads along the way, you will want to drive a 4×4 to reach Monteverde. To learn car rental tips for Costa Rica, read my guide to Renting a Car in Costa Rica.
How to Get to Monteverde from Liberia, Costa Rica
To get from Liberia to Monteverde, you can take a public bus, a private transfer, a minivan, a taxi, or rent a car to drive. Getting to Monteverde from Liberia will take 2.5 – 3.5 hours, depending on your method of transportation.
2-Days in Monteverde Itinerary
This itinerary for how to spend two days in Monteverde will highlight the best activities and sights in the area.
Monteverde Itinerary – Day 1
Arrive the night before to use this day as your first full day in Monteverde. Get ready for some adventure today.
Zipline Through the Cloud Forest
To start your time in Monteverde, I highly recommend embarking on a ziplining adventure. Ziplining is one of the most popular activities in Monteverde, and for good reason. Going ziplining is a fantastic way to see the area from above, which is hard to experience otherwise. While ziplining, you’ll get sweeping views of the cloud forest and soar through the jungle canopy.
Multiple companies offer ziplining experiences, so take the time to research a couple and see which zipline company fits your budget and the type of experience you desire. During my visit, zipping through the trees and across the valley was a highlight of my Monteverde trip. To learn more about ziplining in the cloud forest and my experience, read my guide to Ziplining in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
After a full day of exploring the cloud forest from above, I suggest ending your first day in Monteverde with a guided night hike.
Guided Night Hike
Night hiking in Monteverde, Costa Rica, offers you the unique experience of exploring the rainforest after dark. There are typically fewer crowds during a night hike, and you have a great chance of spotting some local wildlife. Animals such as monkeys, snakes, and all kinds of tropical birds and insects call the Monteverde area home, and a guided night hike is a great way to encounter these animals in their natural habitat. During my night hike, I saw many tropical birds, snakes, and a tarantula, all at a comfortable distance.
Monteverde Itinerary – Day 2
Today is day two and the last day of this 2-day Monteverde itinerary.
Indulge in Local Costa Rican Coffee and Hot Chocolate
A Monteverde itinerary would not be complete without taking some time to sample the local hot chocolate and coffee offerings. Costa Rica is famous for its coffee and chocolate production, and Monteverde is an excellent place to sample some local varieties.
There are numerous coffee and cocoa plantations throughout Costa Rica, and some in the Monteverde area offer tours. Take a coffee/cocoa tour to learn about their history in Costa Rica while tasting some of their delicious drinks. Many restaurants in Monteverde also serve local hot chocolate and coffee, which is a convenient option if you don’t want to embark on a full-blown tour. During my time in Costa Rica, I did not have time for a tour, but I went to Choco Cafe twice and enjoyed some delicious hot chocolate.
Climb The Tree
For the last activity on this 2-day Monteverde itinerary, I recommend visiting The Tree. The Tree is a Ficus tree, also known as a Strangler Fig, a general term for tropical ficus trees that attach to a host tree and usually “strangle” it to its death. After the host tree dies, the Strangler Fig is often left standing with a hollowed-out appearance. The Tree in Monteverde is an excellent example of this phenomenon, and you can climb up it. You can climb to the top of the forest canopy if you dare.
The Tree is easy to find, just off the main Monteverde Cloud Forest road. After a quick walk through the forest, you’ll soon discover the towering hollow tree, which is very distinctive from all the other trees surrounding it. During my visit to the tree, I climbed up a bit, but the others with whom I visited the tree, climbed up to the forest canopy. It was so cool!
Finished this 2-Day Monteverde itinerary early? Here are more ideas of what to do:
Other Things to Do in Monteverde
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve – a massive biological reserve inside the cloud forest
- El Tigre Waterfall – a collection of scenic waterfalls in the forest
For even more ideas on how to enjoy your time in Monteverde, make sure to read my guide to the top 15 Things to Do in Monteverde.
Looking for more Monteverde itinerary options? Here are three more ways to spend 2 days in Monteverde:
Monteverde Itinerary – Option 2:
Day 1 – Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Climb “The Tree”, Guided Night Hike
Day 2 – Ziplining, Orchid Garden
Monteverde Itinerary – Option 3:
Day 1 – Zipline and Bungee Jump, Guided Night Hike
Day 2 – El Tigre Waterfall with Horseback Riding
Monteverde Itinerary – Option 4:
Day 1 – Butterfly Garden, Bat Jungle, Curi-Cancha Reserve
Day 2 – Canyoning
Where to Eat in Monteverde
Monteverde is full of delicious and unique restaurants and cafes; these three options are some of the best places to eat during your trip.
Tree House Restaurante
For a unique dining experience in downtown Santa Elena, Monteverde, visit Tree House Restaurante. Built around a massive tree, this fun restaurant is known for its cocktails and atmosphere, including live music. The menu at Tree House Restaurante contains a good assortment of food types, including pizza, pasta, seafood and chicken dishes.
If you’re not up for a full meal, Tree House Restaurante is also a great spot to grab a drink. During my visit, I had a milkshake and dinner, and the vibe of the Tree restaurant was unforgettable. It was my first dining in a tree house.
Restaurante Sabor Tico
Restaurante Sabor Tico is a popular restaurant serving traditional Costa Rican dishes at a great price. This restaurant is also known for its fresh fruit juices, which are refreshing after a long day of exploring Monteverde.
Choco Cafe Restaurant and Coffee House
If you’re looking for a casual dining experience, Choco Cafe Restaurant and Coffee House is a great option. With their menu focusing on coffee and cocoa, Choco Cafe offers fresh, locally-sourced dishes like beef tenderloin and plantains, a classic component in many Costa Rican meals. Choco Cafe is perfect for grabbing a quick bite to eat and offers vegetarian options.
Monteverde is a beautiful area offering some incredibly unique sights and experiences, making it a perfect addition to your trip to Costa Rica. This lush, green region is home to some of the most stunning scenery in Central America and offers so many things to do. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, Monteverde has something for you. This itinerary highlights the top things to do if you only have two days in Monteverde. Enjoy your time in nature.
I hope this information helps you plan your Monteverde itinerary.