Monteverde Butterfly Garden or Jardin de Mariposas in Spanish, is one of the most sought after tourist attractions in the Monteverde area. Founded by the Biologist Jim Wolfe and his wife, Marta, in 1989, the Monteverde Butterfly Garden was created to educate visitors on not just butterflies but on Costa Rican insects in general through a hands-on experience. Visitors can see the butterflies and insects up close, while learning about their habitats and breeding methods.
Monteverde Butterfly Garden is situated in Cerro Plano, which is located between the town of Santa Elena and the Monteverde Reserve. It four different gardens which represent different Costa Rican habitats, ranging from high-altitude cloud forest to hot lowlands. In each of the gardens, you will learn more about each habitat and its respective butterfly and insect species. The garden is home to over fifty butterfly species, including the stunning Blue Morph, Glass-Wings (a butterfly with transparent wings, Zebra-Wings butterfly and the Hamadrya (the only butterfly in the world that produces sound). There are even White-faced Capuchin Monkeys, Agoutis, Coatis, Toucans, Motmots and other species around the three-acre property.
Other attractions include the biodiversity center which displays arachnids and insects from the Monteverde area. Within the center, you can find a case to view the butterflies as they emerge from their chrysalides, as well as a live bug cam. There is also a medicinal plant garden with more than seventy plants and informations sheets that explain their uses. One of the most exciting exhibits is the live leafcutter ant colony. Visitors can watch the ants scurry through a network of trails while carrying leaves to their nest, which will later be used for food.
The Garden is open 365 days a year from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Remember that Butterflies are much more active when it’s sunny outside, so best hours to visit are between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Visitors can explore the gardens on their own or go on a 1.5 hour volunteer-led tour which is a great option for those who want to learn more about Costa Rica’s bug life and have an up-close experience in the various exhibits around the garden. They can end then end the day at the well-appointed gift shop.