Staying in Monteverde
Monteverde is northwest of San José and not far from Arenal/La Fortuna, another popular region in Costa Rica. Getting to the area isn't difficult, and, most likely, you'll make your way to the small hub of Santa Elena. There's plenty to do in Monteverde, with most of the activities perfect representations of Costa Rica. The area is the birthplace of ziplining and one of the best places to spot wildlife. The cloud forests are ideal for hiking, especially if you want to experience the country's famed hanging bridges. You'll find many coffee and chocolate plantations to explore. Our ultimate guide to Monteverde goes into more detail and helps you navigate the area.
With its hilly terrain and dense cloud forests, most accommodations stick close to Santa Elena, so many of kimkim's recommended options are within walking distance of the downtown area. Still, the lodgings here do an excellent job making you feel like you're in the middle of the jungle. With mid-range and luxury hotels in Monteverde, you can pair your adventures with a little more comfort, plus fully immerse yourself in the region's incredible nature.
Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco
Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco has grown "little by little," hence the name. The property started with just five rooms in 2000 and now hosts 30 warm and simple lodgings near downtown Santa Elena. This is one of the few recommended properties in the town center, with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and even a grocery store within walking distance. The location is undoubtedly a highlight.
Upon arrival, Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco might not look like much, but once you explore the grounds, you may feel like you're in a secret oasis. Wooden patios, tropical gardens, a small nature path, and outdoor pools create a relaxing environment that perfectly matches the vibe of Monteverde. You can enjoy your meals at the onsite bar/restaurant, relax in the open-air (but covered) pool area, or treat yourself to spa services using regional botanicals from the Monteverde jungle. Learn more
El Establo Mountain Hotel
For a unique option that feels like you're on top of the cloud forest, go for El Establo Mountain Hotel. This hotel is a bit larger than other boutique options in Monteverde, but the expansive hillside grounds keep it feeling tranquil. Rooms come in four categories, standard units, junior suites, family suites, and honeymoon suites. All have private terraces or balconies with mountain views, but overall feel dated, especially the bathrooms. Still, you'll get spacious and very clean accommodation, plus truly incredible views right from your room.
Other ways to enjoy the property include relaxing at the outdoor covered pool area, pampering yourself at the spa, or walking on the private forest trails, where you might be able to spot local wildlife. The spa features open-air treatments using products sourced from the forest, so you get a truly unique and authentic experience.
When hungry, you can dine at the two onsite restaurants. Las Riendas restaurant serves buffet and a la carte meals and has a large dining area with vaulted ceilings. If you prefer fine dining, check out Restaurant Laggus, a two-story eatery complete with open-air balcony seating overlooking the property's pond. This restaurant also includes a bar, lounge, and extensive wine menu.
Hotel Senda Monteverde
You have Hotel Senda Monteverde for a luxury option, hidden in the cloud forest but just a 20-minute walk from downtown Santa Elena. The property's tagline is "Wonder and Wander," which you can do with exclusive access to the neighboring Aguti Wildlife Reserve, complete with hanging bridges, old-growth rainforest, and local wildlife. The trails pass through the jungle and lead you to a handful of lookout terraces with incredible views.
Just 24 rooms and suites dot the property's hilltops in cabin-like bungalows, all with complimentary minibars and private open-air terraces overlooking the cloud forest. All are bright, clean, and welcoming, with cozy decor and furnishings, and some suites have views that stretch all the way to the Gulf of Nicoya, plus living rooms. Most cabins come in pairs, so you'll share walls with your neighbor unless you opt for the Senda Suite which is in a private bungalow.
Other amenities include a yoga studio, private nature trails, the El Sapo Restaurant, and a bar and lounge area. The restaurant uses "hyper-local" ingredients and puts a Costa Rican spin on international dishes. And because the dining area is west-facing with huge windows, it's an ideal spot for sunset.
Los Pinos Cabañas & Jardines
A Monteverde staple, Los Pinos opened in 1987 when tourism in the area was just beginning. The property features nearly 20 acres of a private forest reserve, so it's not uncommon to spot wildlife right out your window or along one of the many private nature trails. Since wildlife viewing is one of the best things to do in Monteverde, it's certainly a perk to have it right at your hotel!
Choose from five types of cabins, starting with a standard studio and one-bedroom suites to three-bedroom family cabins with private terraces. Each cabin—even the standard options—are quite spacious and have a private kitchen. You'll have free access to the enormous onsite organic garden, where you can source the ingredients for all the meals you prepare yourself. The property's grounds and cabin concept are the appeals, but keep in mind that the rooms and furnishings are a little outdated. Not much may have changed since the 1980s! But not updating decor aligns well with the lodge's focus on sustainability.
Because each cabin has its own kitchen, there's no onsite restaurant. But you'll be within walking distance to several eateries, including restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries. The property does provide a couple of amenities, though—an outdoor pool and a kids' playground.
Farther away from downtown Monteverde is Hotel Belmar, but you'll trade proximity to Santa Elena for a bit of luxury and a truly idyllic setting. Three wooden lodges with multiple rooms sit atop the region's hills, looking out over the cloud forest, which guests can easily enjoy from private balconies. More than half of the property's nine acres encompass protected rainforest, plus a stream and waterfall. Enjoy walking along a private trail to experience the grounds or relax at the sundeck at the property's pond.
Other highlights of Hotel Belmar include yoga classes, massage services, and several eateries. Enjoy meals at the farm-to-table Restaurante Celajes, which sources its ingredients from the property's organic garden or the Belmar Family Farm. The restaurant can arrange private dining and picnic meals upon request and has an entire section of its menu devoted to vegan dishes. Sip drinks at the lounge bar, which features a daily happy hour with tapas, or hang out in the taproom and beer garden, juice bar, or tea room. Suffice to say, you'll eat and drink well here!
As for the rooms, you can choose from standard units or upgrade to chalet rooms and suites for a bit more space. All come with locally handmade furniture and decor, including warm wood paneling, plus private balconies with hammocks and garden or forest views. Upgraded rooms add seating areas, soaking tubs, private Jacuzzis, large windows, and/or wraparound verandas.
Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
Although within walking distance to the downtown area, Monteverde Lodge & Gardens feels far away in the quiet jungle. Just 28 rooms dot the grounds, situated next door to the property's own private cloud forest reserve. Bright and airy rooms and suites feature garden or forest views, all with private terraces or balconies, plus wooden floors, ceiling fans, and plush bedding. Like a few other properties on this list, it's not uncommon to spot wildlife right from your balcony!
Monteverde Lodge and Gardens' focus is on connecting guests to Costa Rica's incredible nature, so you can fully enjoy the paradise vibe here with its pool, lovely garden area, and sustainability efforts. The hotel is part of the Boena Wilderness Lodges Group, a set of the country's best ecolodges, and strives to preserve the land and environment the properties inhabit.
You'll eat well at the lodge, as its El Jardín Restaurant uses local ingredients to elevate traditional Costa Rican cuisine, so you get a bit of fine-dining right in the jungle. As a bonus, the restaurant has a plant-based version of its menu for vegans and vegetarians. There's indoor and outdoor seating, so you can enjoy the fresh air and sounds of wildlife or stay cozy next to the fire.