Monteverde Getting Around
Monteverde is a web of mostly dirt roads besides the main streets that run through downtown Santa Elena. The town itself is small enough to walk around on foot and the distance between downtown Santa Elena and Cerro Plano is only a twenty minute walk. The reserves are outside walking distance from downtown Santa Elena but buses and shuttles are available throughout the day.
Monteverde’s cool mountain air and spectacular sights make it ideal for walking around, and the area’s bumpy roads also encourage travelers to hop out of the car and hoof it. Luckily, many visitors do get around on foot, and most vehicles graciously make way for pedestrians. Be ready to huff and puff though – Monteverde’s steep hills can present a challenging climb in the thin mountain air.
Pick up a free map at the visitor’s center, located in downtown Santa Elena, offering local route information. Cars may be rented in most major towns, including San Jose and Puntarenas, or in Santa Elena itself. Keep in mind that 4WD is necessary in the wet season (May through Oct.).
Taxis are widely available in Santa Elena and Monteverde; any hotel or tourist attraction will happily call one for you. Unlike the rest of Costa Rica, taxis in the Monteverde area do not use a meter – set prices (according to destination) are listed in the vehicle, but make sure to negotiate the price before you get in.
Sample Taxi Fares:
- Santa Elena downtown to Monteverde Cloud Forest: $10
- Santa Elena downtown to Santa Elena Cloud Forest: $13
- Santa Elena downtown to Cerro Plano: $3
A slower but more economical method is traveling via public bus:
Santa Elena downtown-Monteverde Cloud Forest: 6:00 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.; $1. Buses pick up anywhere within the triangle of downtown Santa Elena and along the road through Cerro Plano en route to the Monteverde Cloud Reserve.
Santa Elena Cloud Forest: 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.; $2. These shuttles must be reserved in advance and will pick guests up from their hotels. The number for the shuttle service is 2645-6332.