Insider's Guide to Guanacaste and Northwest

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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4.5 star rating: Recommended 10 Reviews

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  • Location:Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Duration:10 hours (approx.)

Monteverde Cloud Forest and Butterfly Garden from Guanacaste

Ascend into the enchanting cloud forest of Costa Rica with a full-day tour to Monteverde including its famous butterfly garden. Cross the mist-shrouded canopy on a series of suspension bridges while a naturalist guide helps you spot the abundance of wildlife and tropical birds that live among Monteverde’s diverse ecosystems. You’ll also stroll through a beautiful butterfly garden for an up-close encounter with these amazing winged creatures.

Highlights

  • Full-day trip to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Monteverde Butterfly Garden from Guancaste
  • Take a 2-hour canopy tour along eight suspension bridges in the fog-laden forest
  • Hear and see extraordinary wildlife including a variety of tropical birds
  • Visit the controlled-climate butterfly garden and medicinal plant garden
  • Learn about insects, arachnids and leaf cutter ants in the biodiversity center
  • Round-trip transport, lunch and entrance fees included

What You Can Expect

Monteverde Cloud Forest and Butterfly Garden from Guanacaste

Visit the Butterfly Garden

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica sits 4,660 feet (1,440 meters) above sea level, where a blanket of clouds and mist provides a unique, wet habitat that’s home to six distinct ecosystems and amazing biodiversity. Begin your cloud forest adventure with early morning pickup at your Guanacaste-area hotel. Settle in for an approximately 2-hour drive through the scenic Costa Rican countryside and up the famously bumpy roads leading to Monteverde.

At the reserve, set out on a series of eight hanging walkways that crisscross different levels of the spectacular cloud forest. Walk across nearly 2 miles (3 km) of bridges that range in length from 150-510 feet (50-170 meters) as your guide points out native plants and wildlife that make their home in this incredible environment. 

Thousands of tropical plants like bromeliads, ferns and orchids thrive in this moist atmosphere, as do more than 400 species of birds including bellbirds, bare-necked umbrella birds and the resplendent quetzal. Closer to the forest floor, keep an eye out for mammals like ocelots, agoutis and tapirs.

After about 2 hours on the elevated walkways, descend back to the ground for a delicious lunch at the reserve. Then, step inside the warm, humid enclosure of the famous Monteverde Butterfly Garden to observe more than 20 species of native butterflies. Prepare to feel the tickle of tiny wings and feet, as butterflies may land on you if you’re lucky! As you learn about the fascinating life cycle of these insects, you’ll have a chance to watch a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. 

Finally, visit the medicinal plant garden and a biodiversity center to learn more about the cloud forest’s amazing array of life. At the end of your visit, rest and relax on the return drive to your Guanacaste hotel. 

Customer Reviews

Eric S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

This was a great trip. Our tour guide, Jose was excellent; he was knowledgeable and seemed to really enjoy what he does. He's a great wildlife spotter! Good food at two different local restaurants. the only concern is the last hour of the drive is incredibly rocky and makes for a very rough ride.

Bonnie

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Our tour guide Brian was a sweaty, he helped to spot birds, and wildlife such as a sloth, and monkeys. We were fed the most amazing food, they really have culinary skills. The hanging bridges were amazing we walked above the canopy on 10 individual bridges. We then went to a butterfly farm and hummingbird habitat, that was okay. Lastly we went to a coffee plantation where we were told how coffee was picked, how different roasts were made as well as cocoa and sugarcane. Very informative.

Susan W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

Viator always provides a first rate experience. They pick you up at your hotel and contract with the top local tour companies so the trip is flawless. Our trip to the cloud forest was amazing with a knowledgeable guide. In addition, we saw the hummingbird and butterfly gardens. And the bonus, on the way home in the van our guide spotted two toucans at the top of the tree -- not an easy find in Costa Rica regardless of what the tourist information says. My advice -- before you go somewhere, just book your trip with Viator online and they will get it done for you the right way. It beats the time consuming process of talking to all of the tour agencies once you get to your destination.

Gulnaz H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2013

Our tour guide and driver were both VERY nice and friendly. They took great care of us. We went on a day where the sky was clear so we didn't see a lot of clouds, but instead we were able to see a lot of animals and insects instead. The drive to Monteverde was very bumpy so just expect that on the way. The butterfly garden was VERY interesting to see. They also showed us some insects that live in the Cloud Forest as well and told us interesting facts about each one of them. We also got to release new butterflies as well which was really nice.

James W USA

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2013

Best Tour Ever!!! We had absolutely the best tour guide and driver in the world! Carlos and Mauricio were amazing, and we had the time of our lives. We saw so much along the way, had an a fabulous breakfast and lunch, and the rainforest was just spectacular. It's a long day, but worth making the trip. The road to Monteverde is very bumpy, but half the fun. We loved this tour!.

Brian P

4 star rating: Recommended August 2015

The tour guide knows his botany of the area very well. He did a great job explaining the ecosystem of the cloud forest. The park is well maintained and a very pleasant place to spend a day in. The roads to the park are poor, but once you are there it is worth it. The entomologist at the butterfly park was very entertaining and talked a lot more than just butterflies. She went into depth about insects in the cloud forest and Costa Rica. In the butterfly park, they showed you how to get one on your hand for pictures. It was fun.

Analiz E

4 star rating: Recommended June 2015

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Shannon

4 star rating: Recommended January 2014

It was great! The views from the suspension bridges were fantastic. Both the tour guide and driver were knew their stuff and taught us so much. And the butterfly garden was much more interesting than I had thought it would be. On a personal note: I do wish this tour had more of a hiking component

Annette L

4 star rating: Recommended December 2013

This trip was very good. We were able to see monkeys in their natural habitat. The guide was terrific. The drive is very long but is an opportunity to see the beautiful landscape. I also enjoyed the butterfly garden. The meal provided was one of the best meals I had while in Costa Rica. It is worth your time.

CYNTHIA C

4 star rating: Recommended December 2013

Amazing sights and guide, didn't see many animals but beautiful sights, butterfly place was ok, but very informative. The long ride is a great story and adventure in itself, yes it's long (4 hours) and bumpy but you are in a third world country. Loved the small group we had.

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