While the logical question is to ask when the best time is to visit our mystical mountaintop Monteverde, we beg to differ. As faithful Monteverde followers and fans, we believe that Monteverde is visit-worthy every day of the year. Thanks to its unique characteristics, including location, climate, forests, and bio-diversity, Monteverde is ever-changing daily. What won’t change is space in your bags for hiking boots, binoculars, and a rain jacket. So let´s see how Monteverde looks during the year to choose your best time to travel.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country. While small in size, it is big on contrasts and diversity. Bordered by two coasts, you can wake up to a delicious, freshly-brewed coffee on the Caribbean Sea overlooking the rainforest-laden beach and be on the Pacific Ocean coast in time to catch the sunset sipping on a tropical cocktail. What separates these oceans is Costa Rica´s backbone in the form of several volcanic mountain ranges that run down the country's center.
These mountain ranges are part of the exceptional Continental Divide. High up in one of these impressive mountain ranges is the small town of Monteverde, surrounded by cloud forest and mist. So, you turn off the Pan American Highway or Route 1 and start to climb the mountain until you reach this small little place in the clouds.
Monteverde is enchanting. Its vibe, love for nature, a collective spirit in actively protecting the cloud forest, and community of artists and peace-lovers put it in place on its own. Ficus Sunset Suites is the perfect base camp for exploring Monteverde, its mystical cloud forest, and the adventure hotspots like Selvatura Adventure Park!
Costa Rica sits about 10° north of the Tropics, meaning temperatures remain pretty warm and consistent throughout the year. However, this little country has many micro-climates you will experience during your travels. These little pockets of climate variations depend on elevation, rainfall, topography, and the geography of where you´re visiting. Monteverde is a perfect example of a micro-climate, and it is pretty unique.
So how does the Climate work in Monteverde?
Costa Rica experiences two seasons that last approximately six months each. In much of the country, the Dry or the Golden Season extends from early December to mid-May, whereas the Wet or Green Season runs from mid-May through to late November. This varies on the Caribbean coast, which receives higher rainfall all year round and enjoys its Golden Season in September and October.
Many factors influence how the climate plays out, including altitude and location; this is where Monteverde comes into the picture. Monteverde straddles the Continental Divide, which means its unique climate provides the perfect conditions for all those clouds that embrace the mountaintop forests.
Monteverde sits at about 4,662 feet (1444 m) above sea level. This would explain its incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and the stunning sunsets it puts on for its visitors practically every day! Moisture-laden winds roll up the mountainside, forming clouds at the top, and then comes the rain. These clouds are the magic behind the cloud forest and the mysteries it holds.
So, while January through to April could be the driest and warmest months of the year to visit Monteverde, chances of light rain are most likely, but rain is what makes Monteverde what it is, so we say, let it fall. Furthermore, once the summer rain dries up, the rainbows appear over the cloudy forests, which is something beautiful to witness.
The wettest months of the year in Costa Rica and Monteverde are September and October. Unfortunately, wildlife spotting could be a bit more difficult as they find cover to protect themselves from the rain, and the trails can become muddier. Nevertheless, Monteverde and the cloud forest are always stunning, rain, hail, or shine!
The flight of the birds in Monteverde.
Monteverde could well be one of Costa Rica´s favorite bird-watching destinations. This mountaintop sanctuary is a temporary or permanent home for hundreds of residents and migratory birds. These birds include the beautiful and elusive resplendent quetzals, azure hooded jays, orange-bellied trogons, three-wattled bellbirds, and of course, the darting hummingbirds.
The best time to see the resplendent quetzal is during March and April. This is when they court and nest, so love is in the air during this time of the year. For the Resplendent Quetzal admirers, look at the wild avocado tree where the quetzals like to hang out, and the bellbirds have a honk.
Over 450 bird species have been identified and registered by the bird and animal lovers who have visited Monteverde. While you can observe birds throughout the year, there are a few months when more can be seen and viewed. That is courting and nesting season, of course!
Thanks to these important reasons, the months of March and April are the extra-official bird-lovers season in Monteverde. This is when most migratory birds arrive to immerse themselves in the dense, protected forests to do what birds do. Needless to say, Monteverde can convert the non-bird lovers with the variety, antics, and colors of our furry friends into avid birders and watchers.
Friendly bird-lovers tip: Get into the forests early in the day for better bird watching and go with a local guide with the expertise and knowledge to spot more birds along the trails. The naturalist guides are in contact with each other and let each other know where the birds are resting.
Far from the madding crowds
In Costa Rica, peak season runs mainly throughout the Golden Season, so come prepared to see more tourists walking the walks, zipping the lines, and exploring the streets of Monteverde and Santa Elena. While there is more buzz on the mountaintop, Monteverde, fortunately, has many reserves to choose from and lots of close-to-nature adventures and adrenaline-rush experiences.
Ficus Sunset Suites and its experienced crew of locals know the ins and outs of Monteverde, and its natural attractions, so ask for advice on how to enjoy the forests best and the hikes if dealing with fellow nature-lovers becomes challenging. Then, of course, enjoying the incredible sunsets you can enjoy from the Restaurant will always be on the itinerary. Their colors are brighter and prettier when sipping on a refreshing drink after a day in nature.
Monteverde is beautiful throughout the year. So whether you are a bird-lover or an adventure seeker, there is something to see from January through to December, with rain or without. Ficus Sunset Suites invites you to visit Monteverde and the cloud forest whenever it is the best time of the year for you!