Monteverde Butterfly Garden
- Location : Cerro Plano
- Hours : 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. daily
- Telephone : 2645-5512
- Entrance Fee : $9 adults, $7 students, $3 children under 13
Show up in the late afternoon at the Monteverde Butterfly Garden and a guide may give you a bucket of newborn butterflies to release into one of the four greenhouses. Each one covers a different forest ecosystem housing approximately 30 different species of butterflies.read more close
The first greenhouse takes you through the lowland dry forest among blue morpho and owl butterflies. The next is layered with flora from the canopy – including more flowering plants for zerbra and tuxedo butterflies. The third greenhouse is darker than the others, mimicking the understory of the forest where butterflies with clear wings, known as glass butterflies, perch delicately on leaves. The final greenhouse takes guests through a miniature of the Monteverde rainforest climate. It is the largest exhibit and houses the most butterflies.
Besides the butterflies, the garden has its own nature center and a leafcutter ant colony. The nature center features a variety of strange and interesting live insects like the elephant beetle, lightning bugs, walking sticks and even cockroaches. The leafcutter ant colony is a giant ant farm where guests can look inside the inner works of the colony, showcasing the fields where ants bring their leaves to grow a fungus for their food.
Tours are either guided or self-guided, but you can join in on a tour and follow it in a circle without missing anything – free of charge. The guides are fun and knowledgeable. They teach without lecturing, tell stories and answer questions with diligence.
The founder, Jim Wolf, built the Monteverde Butterfly Garden more than 20 years ago as an extra attraction for those coming back from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Last year, the garden changed hands and its new owners; David and Bryna Belisle are preserving the tradition while increasing their reach to local schools.
Bryna and David created an outreach program to teach local communities about butterflies and encourage children from every school within a half hour's drive to visit their garden and instill in them a lifelong interest in science.
Located in Cerro Plano, turn right at Hotel Heliconia, and follow the signs for the Butterfly Garden. 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Mon-Sun. $9 adults, $7 students, $3 children under 13;)