Monteverde or La Fortuna: Which Is best?

When deciding what to incorporate in your Costa Rica itinerary, chances are high Monteverde or La Fortuna are in your listing 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 match them. I visited each, and may give 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 is perhaps 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 heart 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 automobile to get from place to put. I additionally observed that the costs at eating places had been barely decrease in Monteverde than La Fortuna, though not by a lot.

In the case of the worth of actions, each Monteverde or La Fortuna will be costly. All of it is determined by what you’re on the lookout for, however general I assumed Monteverde had extra budget-friendly choices, like visiting the Orchid Gardens or the Sloth Sanctuary versus the pricier white-water rafting and rappelling which can be extra fashionable in La Fortuna.

It has the perfect 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 need to take it up as a interest. From colourful quetzales to spooky-looking owls, I noticed every kind 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 should 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 liked the moody, foggy climate and the excuse to huddle within the blankets at night time, however if you’re hoping for a hotter getaway, this may not 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 normally aren’t big crowds; there have been no traces once I went (in July, throughout the wet season). And the locals had been tremendous pleasant and all the way down to earth. Monteverde feels extra like an precise city the place individuals stay versus a vacationer lure, 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 mountaineering within the cloud forest the place I used to be the one particular person 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’ll be able to anticipate 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 liked the serenity of the forest, in addition to the magical high quality it takes on due to the fog.

The mountaineering is supreme

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

A quintessential a part of mountaineering in Monteverde is crossing the huge hanging bridges. In comparison with La Fortuna, I assumed the Monteverde hanging bridges had 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 the next elevation and surrounded by rainforest, however there was undoubtedly 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 at all times appeared to be mist or sprinkles. Although this could be a massive 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 may not.

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 anticipate to bop the night time away right here. If you happen to’re touring solo and need to meet different vacationers, take into account staying in a hostel moderately than personal lodging, because it is perhaps 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 shall be difficult in case your automobile doesn’t have 4×4 drive. The roads main into city are fairly bumpy, and I even noticed an enormous part washed away once I was en route. Clearly, if you’re taking public transportation, you gained’t have to fret about driving — simply anticipate a rocky journey.

One more reason why a 4×4 automobile could also be obligatory when visiting Monteverde is that it will get fairly muddy throughout the wet season. If you happen to’re renting a automobile with out four-wheel drive, there’s a threat you’ll get caught within the mud, or what’s worse, injury the automobile.

La Fortuna Highlights

It’s a lot simpler to get to

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

Scorching springs…dare I say extra?

monteverde or la fortuna
The well-known Tabacón scorching springs (that is the half you’ll be able to entry at no cost)

One other big perk of visiting La Fortuna is the abundance of scorching 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 form of jogged my memory of an grownup water park with scorching tubs as a substitute of wading swimming pools. The pure scorching springs come from the Arenal River, and there are a few spots the place you’ll be able to take a dip at no cost (learn how right here).

There are extra adrenaline-pumping actions

La Fortuna is known for its daring actions. Some embrace extreme zip-lining, white-water rafting, canyoneering, and off-roading on ATVs. Certain, Monteverde has a few of these actions as properly (zip-lining and ATV excursions), however the general vibe in La Fortuna lends itself to having a extra thrilling expertise aimed 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 had been La Fortuna and Río Celeste. Each of them had been insanely lovely and about the identical dimension, however you’ll be able to’t swim beneath Río Celeste like you’ll be able to at La Fortuna.

Monteverde has some waterfalls, however they’re not practically as spectacular as these close to La Fortuna, and the one one that might doubtlessly stack up is a 2.5-hour drive away. If you happen to’re tremendous pumped about swimming and chasing waterfalls, La Fortuna is perhaps the perfect choose for you.

There are higher possibilities 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. Not like 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 fulfill different vacationers in La Fortuna, because the ambiance was extra social general.

Drawbacks of La Fortuna

monteverde or la fortuna

It’s way more touristy

This was an enormous draw back for me, as I favor extra low-key spots. Although I visited throughout the wet season in July, La Fortuna was packed. In every single 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 could be extra laid-back. If you happen to go to throughout the excessive season (December by way of April), ensure to guide your actions and lodging properly upfront.

Usually, it’s costlier

General, I observed that costs had been larger in La Fortuna for nearly every little thing. Essentially the most notable distinction was for lodging, with even probably the most primary lodge rooms beginning round $60 per night time. For reference, my lovely cabin-style room in Monteverde was solely round $30 an evening. Costs at eating places had been barely larger right here, too. Since lots of the actions in La Fortuna are extra excessive, they are usually costlier as properly. 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 workers, spoke excellent English and had been properly skilled to cater to vacationers. I skilled great hospitality throughout the entirety of my journey to Costa Rica, however right here it felt much less genuine and extra pressured. If you happen to’re hoping to study Costa Rican tradition, La Fortuna isn’t set as much as offer you that form of expertise.

So, Monteverde or La Fortuna?

The reply to this query is determined by a couple of key issues: your price range, what actions you need 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. If you happen to don’t thoughts splurging slightly for some added luxurious otherwise you need to dive into some heart-pounding actions, La Fortuna is your greatest wager.

Each of those locations are fully price visiting, so you probably have time to suit each of them into your itinerary, do it!


Now that you’ve every little thing you have to select Monteverde or La Fortuna, which one made the reduce for you?

Click on to learn extra posts about

Costa Rica