If you’re looking for a fun and adrenaline-fuelled experience in Costa Rica, make sure to visit Selvatura Park, Monteverde’s premier extreme adventure destination! Located inside the Monteverde cloud forest this fascinating park gives visitors a unique view at life below and above the trees.
Set on over 1,200 acres, Selvatura Park is largely made up of land not open to the public. However, there are a variety of activities for thrill-seekers and nature lovers. Visitors can fly through the trees on the Canopy Tour, observe the local flora and fauna from the treetop suspension bridges or visit one of the many onsite exhibits, including a hummingbird garden, a butterfly garden, a large insect collection and a reptile and amphibian exhibit. There is also an Education Center which aims to teach visitors about the diverse ecosystems in Costa Rica.
The Selvatura Canopy Tour is one of the park’s main attractions. A unique feature of this tour is that the cables and platforms are built inside of the cloud forest instead of above it, allowing for visitors experience the forest up close as they zip between the trees. The Selvatura Canopy tour has a total of 15 cables and 18 viewing platforms covering over three miles of forest, the largest in Costa Rica. After an initial safety introduction and harness fitting, riders will begin to fly through the unique tree canopy.
At the end of the tour, there is an optional “Tarzan Swing” ride, which consists of a high security rope swing that catapults you over the forest. Visitors are advised to wear long pants, closed-toed shoes and to bring rain gear just in case. In total the canopy tour lasts between 2.5 and 3 hours and is suitable for anyone over the age of four, but health considerations must be taken into account.
Tours start at 8:30 AM, but keep in mind that they all have set times and can fill up, so it’s best to call and make a reservation ahead of time.
The Treetop Suspension Bridges are perfect for those who want to explore the cloud forest at the canopy line. Visitors can explore the 1.9 mile (3 km) at their own pace or on a guided tour. The walkway consists of 8 suspension bridges suspended from 36 ft. (12m) to 180 ft. (60 m) above the ground. The bridges range 150 ft. (50 m) to 500 ft. in length and almost 5 ft. (1.5 m) wide, making it the longest and strongest suspension bridge system in Costa Rica.
While exploring the cloud forest, visitors can enjoy views of the lush greenery and observe local flora and fauna. For those who wish to learn more about the history of the Monteverde area, animal and plant species and the local eco-system, we recommend that you go on a guided Natural History Tour. During the 2.5 hour tour, you will have the opportunity to learn about birds; mammals, such as sloths and monkeys; and plant species, including fern, epiphytes and bromeliads.
The suspension bridges are open for people of all ages. Children 4 years and younger are free. As we mentioned above, visitors are advised to wear long pants, closed-toed shoes and to bring rain gear just in case.
Imagine being surrounded by over 100 colorful hummingbirds flying cheerfully around you. At Selvatura’s Hummingbird Garden, you can observe 14 different species of hummingbirds while being amazed by their acrobatic aerial moves and striking colors. Don’t forget your camera! The Hummingbird Garden is the perfect place for photographers, and for those looking for a spot to relax as it has a soothing waterfall and picnic area.
Do not miss out on the chance to visit one of the largest butterfly gardens in the American continent. Selvatura’s 300 ft. long and 90 ft. wide butterfly garden is home to 50 butterfly species. The garden has temperature sensors, allowing for the butterflies that hail from a range of altitudes and habitats to survive and flourish. Visitors can explore the garden on their own.
Selvatura’s Herpetarium is home to over 30 frog, toad, lizard, gecko and snake species native to Costa Rica that are barely spotted in the wild. The live specimens are housed in terrariums filled with vegetation and natural light that simulate their natural habitats. Visitors have the opportunity to learn more about these unique species, as well as their breeding and eating habits. There is also information about the environmental challenges facing these tiny creatures.
The newest addition to Selvatura Park, the Education Center is a must see for anyone interested in natural history. The Education Center’s aim is to teach visitors about the diverse microcrosms and tropical forest ecosystems in Costa Rica that are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.
The Education Center is also home to the impressive “Jewels of the Rainforest” exhibit, featuring the insect collection of the entomologist Dr. Richard Whitten who started collecting bugs at the age of 5. It is now one of largest private collections in the world, featuring over 1,000,000 specimens in an innovative display that combines art and natural history. Visitors can complement their visit to the insect exhibition with the screening of Dr. Whitten’s footage at the park’s auditorium. For those wishing to learn more about these fascinating specimens, Selvatura also offers guided tours that explain more about arthropods throughout the world.