The lush landscapes and brightly-colored birds Monteverde is known for are undoubtedly worth seeing during the day. However, with 80 percent of the area's wildlife active after dark, a night walk affords the opportunity to experience all that the region truly has to offer.

Nearly 50 percent of Costa Rica's biodiversity can be found in Monteverde. But if you only explore in the light of day, you miss the chance to encounter the majority of the wildlife here. Follow a naturalist guide into the forests after the sun sets, and you'll likely see some fascinating creatures, including sloths, tarantulas, armadillos, snakes, birds, the beloved red-eyed tree frog, and many others.

The region offers a variety of night tours to choose from—some even include sweet treats—so you might have difficulty selecting one. Here are some suggestions for the best night walks in Monteverde to help you find one that's right for you. 

Night Hike in the Children's Eternal Rainforest

kinkajou in the forest at night
A kinkajou in the forest at night

The Children's Eternal Rainforest, the largest private reserve in Costa Rica, covering 55,800 acres (22,581 ha), is home to flora and fauna you may not find in other forests in the region. So a night hike in the Children's Eternal Rainforest is ideal for those who have already explored alternate reserves during the day and are looking for something different. It's also one of the world's most biodiverse areas—perfect for wildlife lovers searching for nocturnal creatures such as armadillos, sloths, snakes, tarantulas, and kinkajous. 

This hike takes place on well-maintained trails in the Bajo del Tigre section of the reserve, about 20 minutes from Monteverde. The tour starts just before sunset, so you'll have a chance to enjoy the changing colors of the forest from the viewing platform. On the hike, you'll learn the area's unique history while observing the evening sights and sounds. Markers along the trail indicate previous wildlife sightings, and your guide will stop at these and point out anything they find there. 

The name of this forest is a nod to the reserve's roots; the Children's Eternal Rainforest was established thanks to the efforts of eco-minded students in Sweden that set out to protect the rainforest in the 1980s. 

Quick facts:

  • Start time: 5:30 pm
  • Duration: 2-2.5 hours
  • Cost: $50-135 per person (ranging from group to private) 
  • Parking is available, and hotel pickup is typically included for tours (inquire with your kimkim specialist when booking)
  • Tour size: Minimum of 2, maximum of 15
  • Included: Bilingual (Spanish and English) guide, entrance to the park, and flashlights
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Reservations are required and can be booked by your kimkim specialist

Let kimkim help organize your Children's Eternal Rainforest night hike experience.

Coffee Experience & Nighttime Nature Walk in Monteverde

red coffee beans
Learn about coffee, from bean to cup

Families and those looking for a more leisurely night walk combined with a culinary experience will love the reasonably flat terrain, chocolate and coffee samples, and friendly vibes at this small, family-run farm. It's a less commercialized property than some of the larger reserves and coffee plantations, so the guides here can tailor the tour to your group's interests, and service animals are allowed on-site. If you're the type of traveler to pack a lot of activities into each day, the coffee and chocolate will provide a nice boost to keep you fueled for your adventures.

You'll start the coffee experience and nighttime nature walk with a guided tour through the Coffee'N Jungle property, learning about the coffee-making process from bean to cup. You'll also have a chance to sample chocolate and coffee before taking a stroll in the forest. About 50 percent of the property is protected, allowing visitors to hike along the creek, searching for the inhabitants that begin their day after dark, like some species of frogs, snakes, tarantulas, owls, two-toed sloths, and kinkajous. 

Quick facts:

  • Start time: 5:30 pm
  • Duration: 2.5 hours, including the coffee tour, chocolate tasting, and night walk in the forest
  • Cost (including transportation) $52 per adult, $27 per child (age 7-12)
  • Tour size: Minimum of 2, maximum of 20
  • Included: Transportation, bilingual (Spanish and English) guide, tour of property, coffee tasting, chocolate tasting, night walk in the forest, flashlights, ponchos if needed
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Reservations are required and can be booked by your kimkim specialist

Let kimkim help organize your coffee and nighttime nature walk in Monteverde experience.

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Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Night Hike in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

red-eyed tree frog
Red-eyed tree frogs are one of the many nocturnal creatures in Monteverde

If you're eager to experience the quintessential cloud forest and its nocturnal creatures after dark, this is the place. Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is the most visited forest in the area, so it can feel busier than the others. 

The night hike is not strenuous, and the trails are well-maintained, though some have stairs. That said, it's best suited to those comfortable on uneven terrain. 

This cloud forest night hike starts with a video to provide insight into the reserve before heading out with your naturalist guide to the Hummingbird Gallery. From here, you'll begin your mile (1.6-km) walk in the cloud forest to search for nocturnal insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals (including armadillos, tarantulas, and a variety of snakes and frogs). 

Quick facts:

  • Start time: 5:30 pm
  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Cost (including transportation): $59 per person for adults, $52 for children
  • Tour size: Minimum of 2
  • Included: Transportation, entrance into the reserve, bilingual (Spanish and English) guide, flashlights, and transportation from Monteverde area hotels
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Reservations are required and can be booked by your kimkim specialist

Let kimkim help organize your night hike in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Coffee, Chocolate & Night Walk

Dried cacao beans on a table
Dried cacao beans used to make chocolate

The coffee, chocolate, and night walk at Don Juan farm is another option for travelers interested in a chocolate and coffee tasting followed by a shorter night hike. Compared with Coffee'N Jungle, Don Juan farm is a larger operation, so it is run like a well-oiled machine. It can accommodate larger groups, and families with children will love the engaging hands-on activities, but it lacks some of that small farm feel.

First, you'll learn all about how coffee is grown and made. Then you'll learn the process of making chocolate, from seed to bar. You'll have the chance to grind the cocoa beans and make your own chocolate. And, of course, you'll sample some of Don Juan's coffee and dark, white, and milk chocolate before setting out on a night walk. The guides will help you search for several species of frogs and toads—including the iconic red-eyed tree frog, large chicken eater frog, and the tiny hourglass frog—as well as a variety of insects, birds, and mammals (including sloths) that roam around the farm after dark. 

If you want to skip the coffee and chocolate but still want to hike on the Don Juan property, you can opt for the night walk experience when booking and spend the full two hours on a guided night walk. 

Quick facts:

  • Start time: 5:30 pm for Coffee, Chocolate & Night Walk. 6:00 pm for Night Walk Experience
  • Duration: 2 hours 
  • Cost (including transportation): $51 per person for adults, $29 for children ages 7-12
  • Tour size: Minimum of 2
  • Included: Transporation, bilingual (Spanish and English) guide, chocolate tasting, flashlights, and transportation from Monteverde area hotels
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Reservations are required and can be booked by your kimkim specialist

Let kimkim help organize your coffee, chocolate, and night walk experience. 

Additional Considerations

What should you wear?

The weather in the evening can be cool, and there may be mosquitoes, so a long-sleeved top and pants are strongly recommended. Given that the forest floor is often wet in this region and plenty of nocturnal creatures move along the ground, you'll also need closed-toe shoes for comfort and protection. 

When is the best time to go?

You can visit Monteverde year-round. The weather tends to be drier from December to April, and the rainy or "green" season is from June to November. But even during the drier months, there is always a chance it will rain. Most night hikes operate rain or shine, so it's best to come prepared with rain gear, quick-dry clothing, and proper footwear. 

What should you bring?

Bring a day pack with a rain jacket, mosquito repellent, a flashlight (many tours provide them, but it's always good to bring one if you can), a camera, and a reusable water bottle. 

What else should you consider?

Here are a few other things to think about when booking a night hike in Monteverde:

Timing. Most night hikes don't include a meal, but they take place during what may be your dinner time. Consider scheduling a late lunch or early dinner to prevent your stomach from distracting you. 

Wildlife. Guides will do their best to find wildlife, but as you will be walking in nature and not in a controlled environment, they cannot guarantee what you'll see. Consider this a part of the adventure, and enjoy the sites and sounds of the forest at night while you search. If you are not fond of seeing snakes, spiders, and other things that can be crawling or slithering through the forest, this type of tour is probably not for you. But if you are open to it, it is one of the best ways to observe the creatures that come out after dark. 

Children. Night hikes may not be a good fit for babies and young children for a few reasons. Here are considerations to help you determine whether it's suitable for your family:  

  • The late start time may be challenging for some travelers, especially if they've already had a full day. If you can schedule a buffer of downtime between activities, that can make the late night easier. 
  • Participants need to navigate the trail quietly for the best viewing possibilities. This is not always possible for babies and young children, particularly if they are not comfortable in the dark, or hungry, or tired. 
  • Given that nocturnal creatures here include venomous ones, for your safety, you will need to carefully watch where you're walking, you will not be permitted to go off trail, and you should not touch, sit, or lean on anything in the forest. Abiding by these rules while also navigating with a flashlight can be tricky for younger participants, so it's essential to consider this before booking. You can also consult your kimkim specialist to help you find experiences best suited to your family. 

Special interests. Larger reserves and smaller private properties offer night walks in Monteverde. You may find the experience is a bit more intimate and the tour group smaller on private properties (such as the Coffee Experience & Nighttime Nature Walk). Some can cater more to your group's interests. Inquire about this when booking.