Costa Rica's mountainous Monteverde region is a traveler favorite, topping lists for its distinct cloud forest ecosystem, abundant wildlife, and options for hiking and zip-lining. Head northwest for a long weekend from San José or visit after a few days at Arenal—whatever you choose, this guide has everything you need to plan your time.
Best of Monteverde
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Monteverde's rare cloud forest ecosystem sits high above sea level in the mountains of Costa Rica. Your base for excursions will be Santa Elena, a relatively quiet mountain village that welcomes travelers to the area's multiple nature reserves. Here you'll find a good array of restaurants, from mom-and-pop shops serving reliable local fare to Italian spots known for wood-fired pizza and fresh pasta.