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Published: July 11th 2018
People don’t really come to Santa Elena/Monteverde to see bats, but it turns out there is an excellent live bat display just outside town. The connection is that there are plenty of bats native to the Monteverde area, there’s not a huge amount to see, but it’s the sheer enthusiasm of the folk who run it that makes this a great place to visit. I’m surprised but we can take pictures of the bats, though it is very hard to get good ones as the bats aren’t keen to stay still for too long.
The main attraction here though (excluding the adventure parks which might well be the main reason for some to come) are the cloud forest reserves. There are actually 3 separate reserves you can visit, we do 2 of them, both on self-guided walks.
The Santa Elena reserve is the highest and has the highest rainfall. When we visit it is raining quite hard which may be one of the reasons why we don’t actually see many animals. We do the long trail (a 5km circuit) and then divert onto one of the shorter trails so end up walking maybe 8km in the park. It’s well
organised here for independent travellers with scheduled shuttle buses running the 7km between the town and the reserve.
The other reserve we visit is the “Children’s eternal rain forest”. This is a huge area but there are only a few visitor accessible places, one of which is walking distance from the town. Luckily we have a clear morning when we visit and see monkeys and LOTS of Coatis. A surprise to me is that the Coatis are mainly climbing the trees - I didn’t realise they could climb at all.
To reach Monteverde from La Fortuna like everyone else we take the “Jeep-Boat-Jeep” shuttle which in reality is minivan/boat/minivan, but it’s only $20 (low season rates) which isn’t much more than the public bus which is slow due to the poor connections.
After La Fortuna I wasn’t too sure if I’d like Monteverde, but I like it a lot. Though it’s perhaps wetter here than Arenal the rain comes in waves with some dry spells between. It’s better set up for independent travellers - you can get to and walk in the parks without taking a tour - and the town has a good variety of excellent
accommodation and eateries.
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