Situated just a few minutes north of Santa Elena, Monteverde Wildlife Refuge is a great place for wildlife spotting and bird watching. This privately owned reserve has over 30 hectares of protected land 4,724 feet above sea level. The Wildlife Refuge’s privileged location between the Pacific Dry Forest and Monteverde’s Cloud Forest attracts a wide variety of migratory species and is home to stunning flora and fauna.
The Monteverde Wildlife Refuge is committed to the preservation of local native flora and fauna. Visitors can see quetzals, toucans, bellbirds, umbrella birds and hundreds of other species of birds. The refuge is also home to a variety of mammals like, sloths, olingos, raccoons and armadillos. The flora and insect life inside the refuge is also quite exuberant and varied.
The Refuge is open daily from 7 AM to 4 PM, guests can hike on their own or take a guided tour that lasts about three hours. There are also two guided night walks that start at 6 and 8 PM and last about 2 hours each. We highly recommend that you go on a night walks, as it is deemed one of the best night hikes in Costa Rica.
As the sun sets, small groups start to explore the forest with a flashlight in hand to guide them around the windy trails. An experienced guide helps them find nocturnal mammals, insects and birds. The groups are then separated, and a guide takes them deeper into the forest. For your safety and comfort, the guides are in constant contact via walkie-talkies.
The night walks are fun and educational way to learn about nocturnal species and their habits. While hiking through the forest, you are likely to see sloths, olingos, monkeys, and even adorable kinkajous! Leave your phobias aside as it is common to see snakes, tarantulas and insects during the hike. Depending on the season, you may even have the opportunity to see sleeping quetzals, bellbirds, toucans and other migratory species.
For those who wish to spend a few nights exploring the area, the Monteverde Rustic Lodge is located within the reserve. This small and charming mountain lodge offers a delicious homemade breakfast and friendly family atmosphere. Guests who stay at the hotel have free entrance to the refuge during the day.
So what are you waiting for? Pack up your bags and head down to Costa Rica! Make sure to add the Monteverde Wildlife Refuge to your itinerary, and get ready to be awed by its extremely varied flora and fauna.