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Monteverde or La Fortuna: Which Is best?

When deciding what to include on your Costa Rica itinerary, chances are Monteverde or La Fortuna are on your list of places to go. These two destinations are among the most popular in the country, and their mountainous terrain and abundance of outdoor adventure activities cause many visitors to compare them. I visited both, and […]



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When deciding what to incorporate in your Costa Rica itinerary, likelihood is Monteverde or La Fortuna are in your record of locations to go. These two locations are among the many hottest within the nation, and their mountainous terrain and abundance of outside journey actions trigger many guests to check them. I visited each, and can provide some perception on which one to choose if it’s nonetheless a toss-up for you:

Monteverde Highlights

monteverde or la fortuna

It’s extra inexpensive

This could be a controversial opinion, however Monteverde is cheaper than La Fortuna when you think about the price of lodging, transportation, and meals. I discovered a really inexpensive lodging in Monteverde that was only a fast bus journey from the city middle and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. It can save you cash by taking the bus forwards and backwards, with no need to splurge on a rental automotive to get from place to position. I additionally observed that the costs at eating places have been barely decrease in Monteverde than La Fortuna, though not by a lot.

On the subject of the worth of actions, each Monteverde or La Fortuna might be costly. All of it is determined by what you’re searching for, however total I believed Monteverde had extra budget-friendly choices, like visiting the Orchid Gardens or the Sloth Sanctuary versus the pricier white-water rafting and rappelling which are extra widespread in La Fortuna.

It has the very best birdwatching

monteverde or la fortuna for birdwatching

I’m not a lot of a birdwatcher myself, however recognizing so many uncommon and delightful species in Monteverde made me wish to take it up as a interest. From colourful quetzales to spooky-looking owls, I noticed all types of birds in Monteverde. This isn’t to say I didn’t see any in La Fortuna, however I did discover fairly a distinction between the 2, with extra of a wide range of birds in Monteverde.

Many fascinating species of birds are greatest considered at night time, so I like to recommend becoming a member of a Cloud Forest Night Walking Tour. Even in case you weren’t tremendous into the birds, the night time tour is nice for seeing different critters like frogs, spiders, snakes, and extra.

The climate is cooler

monteverde or la fortuna

After being on the seashore in Manuel Antonio, I used to be excited to commerce my bikini for some leggings and a rain jacket. Monteverde was the coldest place I visited in Costa Rica, with chilly evenings dipping into the low 60s. I beloved the moody, foggy climate and the excuse to huddle within the blankets at night time, however in case you are hoping for a hotter getaway, this won't be your cup of tea.

It’s extra laid-back

Since Monteverde is barely much less touristy than La Fortuna, it has extra of a laid-back vibe. There often aren’t enormous crowds; there have been no traces after I went (in July, in the course of the wet season). And the locals have been tremendous pleasant and all the way down to earth. Monteverde feels extra like an precise city the place folks reside versus a vacationer entice, which is how La Fortuna felt to me.

Monteverde is right for nature lovers who love peace and quiet. There have been so many moments whereas I used to be climbing within the cloud forest the place I used to be the one individual round, a sensation that I crave when locations get too busy.

It’s in a cloud forest

monteverde or la fortuna

Talking of the cloud forest, my favourite a part of Monteverde was seeing the astounding number of plant species. Right here you possibly can count on to see vibrant inexperienced moss hanging from the timber, trickles of mist within the air, and thick jungle canopies for so far as the attention can see. I beloved the serenity of the forest, in addition to the magical high quality it takes on due to the fog.

The climbing is supreme

The Cloud Forest Reserve is only one of a number of locations in and round Monteverde which are prime for climbing. Right here you’ll discover over eight miles of trails — sufficient to spend a whole day exploring. Different locations that have been incredible to hike have been the Youngsters’s Everlasting Forest, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, and Curi Cancha Reserve.

A quintessential a part of climbing in Monteverde is crossing the huge hanging bridges. In comparison with La Fortuna, I believed the Monteverde hanging bridges have been higher, as a result of a lot of them stretched above the forest cover and provided beautiful mountain views.

Drawbacks of Monteverde

monteverde or la fortuna

It’s a lot rainier

This isn’t a lot of a shock, contemplating that Monteverde is at a better elevation and surrounded by rainforest, however there was positively extra rain right here than in La Fortuna. There have been uncommon moments when it wasn’t moist, however even when it wasn’t pouring rain, there virtually all the time appeared to be mist or sprinkles. Although this is usually a large turnoff for some vacationers, I didn’t thoughts it, as I used to be ready with waterproof gear. I discover the rain to be charming, whereas others won't.

There’s not any nightlife

Saying that Monteverde is useless at night time is an understatement. There’s just one bar on the town, and eating places sometimes shut round 10pm, so don’t count on to bop the night time away right here. Should you’re touring solo and wish to meet different vacationers, take into account staying in a hostel somewhat than non-public lodging, because it could be powerful to department out in any other case.

It's possible you'll want a 4×4 automobile

This varies relying on what you need to do in Monteverde, however simply getting there can be difficult in case your automotive doesn’t have 4×4 drive. The roads main into city are fairly bumpy, and I even noticed a giant part washed away after I was en route. Clearly, in case you are taking public transportation, you gained’t have to fret about driving — simply count on a rocky journey.

Another excuse why a 4×4 automobile could also be obligatory when visiting Monteverde is that it will get fairly muddy in the course of the wet season. Should you’re renting a automotive with out four-wheel drive, there’s a danger you’ll get caught within the mud, or what’s worse, injury the automotive.

La Fortuna Highlights

It’s a lot simpler to get to

Since La Fortuna is nearer to San José and fewer distant on the whole, it’s a lot simpler and faster to get to from most different components of Costa Rica (compared with Monteverde). The roads main into La Fortuna are smoother as nicely, so that you don’t have to fret about journeying hours on a bumpy street stuffed with potholes. You possibly can even visit La Fortuna on a day trip from San José in case you’d like!

Scorching springs…dare I say extra?

monteverde or la fortuna
The well-known Tabacón sizzling springs (that is the half you possibly can entry totally free)

One other enormous perk of visiting La Fortuna is the abundance of sizzling springs. Heated by geothermal exercise from the Arenal Volcano, these springs are each man-made and pure. The person-made ones are much less spectacular, however nonetheless good to soak in and sort of jogged my memory of an grownup water park with sizzling tubs as a substitute of wading swimming pools. The pure sizzling springs come from the Arenal River, and there are a few spots the place you possibly can take a dip totally free (find out how here).

There are extra adrenaline-pumping actions

La Fortuna is known for its daring actions. Some embody extreme zip-lining, white-water rafting, canyoneering, and off-roading on ATVs. Positive, Monteverde has a few of these actions as nicely (zip-lining and ATV excursions), however the total vibe in La Fortuna lends itself to having a extra thrilling expertise geared toward getting your adrenaline pumping.

The waterfalls are spectacular

monteverde or la fortuna

There’s no denying that the waterfalls in and round La Fortuna are completely well worth the hype. My two favorites have been La Fortuna and Río Celeste. Each of them have been insanely stunning and about the identical measurement, however you possibly can’t swim below Río Celeste like you possibly can at La Fortuna.

Monteverde has some waterfalls, however they’re not almost as spectacular as these close to La Fortuna, and the one one that would probably stack up is a 2.5-hour drive away. Should you’re tremendous pumped about swimming and chasing waterfalls, La Fortuna could be the very best choose for you.

There are higher probabilities to see mammals and reptiles

If you wish to see sloths within the wild, you’re way more more likely to in La Fortuna, versus Monteverde. There are even tours devoted to recognizing them of their pure habitat. La Fortuna can be higher for catching howler monkeys and different mammals, a lot of which come out round twilight (see them on this tour).

There are extra eating places and nightlife

La Fortuna is an even bigger city than Monteverde, so there are extra eating places to select from and a much more thrilling nighttime scene. In contrast to Monteverde, which appeared to close down at 10pm, La Fortuna stayed awake, with small bars and late-night bites as choices. As a solo traveler, it was simpler for me to satisfy different vacationers in La Fortuna, because the environment was extra social total.

Drawbacks of La Fortuna

monteverde or la fortuna

It’s far more touristy

This was an enormous draw back for me, as I favor extra low-key spots. Despite the fact that I visited in the course of the wet season in July, La Fortuna was packed. All over the place I went, it was tough to discover a second to easily be in nature with out so many individuals round. Some vacationers don’t thoughts this, however I hoped it might be extra laid-back. Should you go to in the course of the excessive season (December via April), make sure that to e book your actions and lodging nicely upfront.

Typically, it’s costlier

Total, I observed that costs have been greater in La Fortuna for nearly every thing. Probably the most notable distinction was for lodging, with even essentially the most primary lodge rooms beginning round $60 per night time. For reference, my stunning cabin-style room in Monteverde was solely round $30 an evening. Costs at eating places have been barely greater right here, too. Since most of the actions in La Fortuna are extra excessive, they are typically costlier as nicely. An evening tour, for instance, that provided virtually the identical expertise was $55 in La Fortuna in comparison with Monteverde’s $28.

It’s not precisely the “actual” Costa Rica

La Fortuna felt extra like a resort than a Costa Rican city. I observed that everybody, from the bus drivers to the wait employees, spoke good English and have been nicely educated to cater to vacationers. I skilled great hospitality in the course of the entirety of my journey to Costa Rica, however right here it felt much less genuine and extra compelled. Should you’re hoping to study Costa Rican tradition, La Fortuna isn’t set as much as offer you that sort of expertise.

So, Monteverde or La Fortuna?

The reply to this query is determined by just a few key issues: your finances, what actions you wish to do, and the way a lot solitude you’d like. If you wish to save a pair bucks, do some extra chill actions, and have a slice of nature to your self, go to Monteverde. Should you don’t thoughts splurging a bit for some added luxurious otherwise you wish to dive into some heart-pounding actions, La Fortuna is your greatest wager.

Each of those locations are utterly value visiting, so in case you have time to suit each of them into your itinerary, do it!


Now that you've got every thing that you must select Monteverde or La Fortuna, which one made the reduce for you?

Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Be My Travel Muse blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!