Lifestyle and Community

Things to do in Monteverde and Santa Elena Costa Rica.

Santa Elena is the big brother of Monteverde. This town retains traditional aspects of Costa Rican culture while offering tourist activities and information centers. Within Santa Elena, you’ll find hotels, supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, public buses, and other services to keep you comfortable.  

Cerro Plano is located in between Santa Elena and Monteverde. Several hotels, homes, restaurants, and museums can be found in Cerro Plano. This area offers a nice compromise between the tourism center of Santa Elena and remote village of Monteverde.  

Monteverde was established by Quakers and conscientious objectors, many from Alabama, in the 1950s. Costa Rica’s lack of military and Monteverde’s rich soil made for an ideal location to live and farm. The Monteverde Cheese Factory opened its doors in 1951 and continues to produce pasteurized cheeses and ice cream. The fusion of the Quaker settlement in Monteverde and traditional Costa Rican town of Santa Elena allows for the perfect mixture of both cultures.

Points of Interest and Attraction

The Monteverde and Santa Elena cloud forests offer different views, landscapes and animal species. The Monteverde cloud forest is the larger of the two, made up of 14,200 hectares. At over 4,600 feet above sea level, a constant stream of clouds mist and support the forest’s array of orchids, trees, mammals, and birds. The quetzal, a bright and long tailed feathered bird, draws in thousands of bird lovers annually.

The Santa Elena cloud forest is much smaller than the Monteverde cloud forest, spanning around 310 hectares. Despite its small size, this cloud forest holds its own at an elevation of 4,900 feet above sea level. This high elevation makes the forest much wetter and cooler than Monteverde. It is also home to the spider monkey, a talkative and intelligent primate that entertains visitors by swinging by on its tail throughout the forest.

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