Last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 12:35 pm EST
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WE KNOW THE SELVATURA MONTEVERDE PARK; WE HAVE DONE THE TREETOP WALKWAYS HANGING BRIDGES, ZIPLINING, BUTTERFLY GARDEN, HUMMINGBIRD GARDEN, AND HERPETARIUM (REPTILE/AMPHIBIAN EXHIBIT) TOURS
Everywhere we turn nowadays it feels as if everyone who has been to Costa Rica is an expert on the country. Too many travel agents “sell” the country without ever having stood on Costa Rican soil, and even travellers who have visited firsthand are quick to evaluate many of the country’s features based on onetime experiences and snap judgments. To help provide as honest, critical, and valuable information as we can, we base our Costa Rica Travel Blog advice on repeat experiences and offer recommendations based on comparative analyses. For example, when we wrote about Costa Rica volcanoes in our related blog post The Best Costa Rica Volcanoes: What To Know About Arenal, Irazu, Poas, Rincon De La Vieja, And Turrialba, we didn’t just list the country’s five most popular options, instead we wrote about our experiences visiting each so our readers would be comforted by the depth of our familiarity before opting to trust our conclusions. Fortunately, we aim to accomplish the same with our post about Selvatura’s tours and activities since we are not only familiar with each, but we are also familiar with other similar tour experiences in the Monteverde region, such as those offered at the Sky Adventures Monteverde Park. Although it would be easier, quicker, and less expensive for us to visit only one park and swiftly label it as the best, we prefer to visit a number attractions and document our experiences at each so travellers can draw such finite conclusions for themselves. In addition to our experiences at the Selvatura Monteverde Park detailed in our article below, feel free to compare them to the experiences we document in our related blog post Sky Adventures Monteverde: Ziplining, Hanging Bridges, And Tram Rides In The Cloud Forest.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: SELVATURA HAS TWO DISTINCT SITES IN MONTEVERDE; AN OFFICE AND AN ADVENTURE PARK
Let’s get one somewhat ambiguous point out of the way first: Selvatura has two separate sites–an office and an adventure park (both of which are located on the same stretch of road)–that serve very different purposes. Although the two sites are only located a few minutes from each other, to avoid tour delays, participants/visitors who plan to drive themselves to and from their Selvatura Monteverde Park experiences should familiarize themselves with the two sites in advance. When departing from downtown Santa Elena (Monteverde) in the direction of the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, after an approximate ten-minute drive, Selvatura’s office will appear on the left-hand side of the road. This office is used for administrative purposes and does not provide entrance to the Selvatura Monteverde Park, however if you have questions, concerns, or comments and wish to talk with Selvatura staff directly, feel free to do so at the office. To access the Selvatura Monteverde Park (where the tour experiences are offered, including the treetop walkways hanging bridges, the canopy ziplining tour, the butterfly garden tour, the hummingbird garden, and the reptile/amphibian exhibit tour), continue driving past the Selvatura office. Once you pass the entrance to the Sky Adventures Monteverde Park (on the right-hand side of the road), keep right when the road forks; soon after you will see the entrance to the Selvatura Monteverde Park (also on the right-hand side of the road). Although it would be very difficult to miss the Selvatura Monteverde Park’s large entrance, note that the road ends at the entrance to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, so if you reach this site you have driven too far.
ABOUT THE SELVATURA MONTEVERDE PARK
The Selvatura Monteverde Park is best known for its Treetop Walkways hanging bridges, canopy ziplining tour, butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, and reptile/amphibian exhibits. Additional activities are also available, including visits to an onsite insect museum, a superman cable ride, and a tarzan swing, the latter of which is a secure free-fall jump into the rainforest and an automatic (optional) inclusion with the Selvatura Monteverde Park’s canopy ziplining tour. Operations for all of the above-mentioned activities flow through the Selvatura Monteverde Park.
SELVATURA MONTEVERDE PARK: TREETOP WALKWAYS HANGING BRIDGES
The Treetop Walkways hanging bridges at the Selvatura Monteverde Park are one of many hanging bridges sites in the Monteverde region. Although the Treetop Walkways hanging bridges tour is available as its own standalone tour (i.e., for travellers interested in touring the hanging bridges only), most Selvatura Monteverde Park visitors combine their Treetop Walkways hanging bridges experience with either the onsite canopy ziplining tour or one or more gardens/exhibits situated on the property.
- The Selvatura Monteverde Park’s Treetop Walkways hanging bridges experience is automatically an unguided tour (i.e., a guide is not automatically included when the Treetop Walkways hanging bridges are reserved). However, travellers who would prefer a guided hanging bridges tour may obtain one by paying Selvatura’s add-on guide fee. Regardless of whether a guided tour or an unguided experience would be preferred, advance reservations are required to ensure availability of access to the hanging bridges.
Tours through the Selvatura Monteverde Park’s treetop walkways hanging bridges offer an up-close experience of Monteverde’s cloud forest. In addition, as the closest set of hanging bridges to the Santa Elena Biological Cloud Forest Reserve, the Selvatura Monteverde Park’s treetop walkways offer unbeatable proximity to some of the country’s most prestigious rainforest. Offering a moderate three-kilometer hiking experience on primarily flat ground with the exception of some subtle trail inclines and declines encountered along the way, the treetop walkways hanging bridges feature unique and popular species of flora and fauna. We area treated to visits by monkeys nearly every time we visit the attraction, and we never tire of being stunned by some of the bridges’ spectacular views. While I love spying on scenes beneath the bridges to see what treasures lay below, Ricky always gets a kick out of the park’s numerous Psychotria elata flowers given their shockingly red lip-resembling petals that earned the species the nickname the “hot lips” plant.
The Selvatura Monteverde Park’s Treetop Walkways hanging bridge lengths:
Bridge #1: 65 meters
Bridge #2: 82 meters
Bridge #3: 115 meters
Bridge #4: 157 meters
Bridge #5: 120 meters
Bridge #6: 57 meters
Bridge #7: 90 meters
Bridge #8: 90 meters
Total hanging bridges distance: 776 meters
Don’t miss our Treetop Walkways hanging bridges tour savings:
SELVATURA MONTEVERDE PARK: CANOPY ZIPLINING TOUR
The canopy ziplining tour experience at the Selvatura Park begins with the collection of ziplining equipment nearby Selvatura’s reception desk. Following a brief instructional ziplining lesson (note that Selvatura’s canopy ziplining tour utilizes a hand-breaking system), the tour through Monteverde’s famed treetops includes thirteen cables (the best of which is saved for last), five short hikes through the forest, and a complimentary–albeit optional–tarzan swing. For an additional cost, a superman cable (i.e., a forward-facing zipline experience) can be added to Selvatura’s canopy ziplining tour at the time of reservation.
Unlike a few other canopy ziplining tours offered in the Monteverde region that zigzag through the air high above the rainforest canopy, Selvatura’s canopy ziplining tour course nearly completes a loop through the forest. Panoramic shots that overlook the rainforest/cloud forest and nearby biological reserves can be obtained from some of the cables, and shots taken from within the forest itself can be captured via others. In total, the entire experience (including the equipment collection, safety demonstration, and ziplining tour, but excluding transportation to and from the Selvatura Monteverde Park) is an approximate two-hour one.
The Selvatura Monteverde Park’s canopy ziplining tour cable lengths:
Cable #1: 76 meters
Cable #2: 82 meters
Cable #3: 115 meters
Cable #4: 227 meters
Cable #5: 650 meters
Cable #6: 80 meters
Cable #7: 72 meters
Cable #8: 203 meters
Cable #9: 305 meters
Cable #10: 309 meters
Cable #11: 100 meters
Cable #12: 350 meters
Cable #13: 1,000 meters
Total ziplining distance: 3,569 meters
- Selvatura has a minimum age limit for participation in their canopy ziplining tour; children as young as four years old may participate.
Don’t miss our Selvatura canopy ziplining tour savings:
SELVATURA MONTEVERDE PARK: BUTTERFLY GARDEN
Having toured other butterfly gardens in the La Fortuna/Arenal region, the Monteverde region, the San Jose/Alajuela region, and the Manuel Antonio region, we can say with certainty that we not only enjoy the experience that butterfly gardens provide, but that we value the specific experience offered by the butterfly garden at the Selvatura Monteverde Park. The guided tour and chrysalis wall are informative and interesting, and the multitude of more than fifty different butterfly species flying about freely within the garden’s enclosed space is beautiful to watch. Humid, quiet, and peaceful, the appreciate that the tranquility of Selvatura’s butterfly garden provides a complimentary balance to the park’s adrenaline-inducing and more physically demanding attractions.
Don’t miss our Selvatura butterfly garden tour savings:
SELVATURA MONTEVERDE PARK: HUMMINGBIRD GARDEN
Hummingbird-viewing at a hummingbird garden is a must-do activity for any bird or nature enthusiast who plans to visit Costa Rica’s Monteverde region; not only can hummingbird gardens attract a variety of hummingbird species for spotting, but most of the birds can be seen up-close and for extended periods of time as they seek nourishment from the garden’s hanging feeders. The hummingbird garden at the Selvatura Monteverde Park provides a similar experience, as visitors are invited to relax at the garden’s picnic area during the unguided tour experience and watch up to fourteen different species of hummingbird whiz by. As an added wildlife-spotting bonus, during our past visits to Selvatura’s hummingbird garden we have had great luck spotting coatis roaming about the property.
Don’t miss our Selvatura hummingbird garden tour savings:
SELVATURA MONTEVERDE PARK: HERPETARIUM (REPTILE/AMPHIBIAN EXHIBIT)
Truth be told, Ricky and I agree to disagree when it comes to determining an appropriate level of excitement as applied to reptiles and amphibians. Although Ricky could spot a fer-de-lance in the wild and without hesitation move in for a closer look (yes, he did so once during one of our overnight rafting excursions simply to witness the snake devour a frog), I would run as fast as I could in the opposite direction, screaming and crying like a baby every leap of the way. Fortunately, the herpetarium at the Selvatura Monteverde Park presents the perfect compromise of exploration and safety, so Ricky can spend as much time as he wants ooh-ing and awe-ing at a variety of slippery and slithery species (many of which are deathly poisonous), while I can rest easy knowing that thick panes of glass separate us from an early demise.
All fears aside, Selvatura’s reptile and amphibian exhibition is quite impressive and boasts a variety of iguanas, snakes, and frogs in separate acclimatized terrariums. The guided herpetarium tour is full of information about each, including their behaviours, feeding habits, and functions within different ecosystems. If you’ve always wanted to determine what is myth and what is fact with respect to these illusive yet intelligent creatures, don’t miss the displays at the Selvatura Monteverde Park.
SELVATURA MONTEVERDE PARK: ADDITIONAL FEATURES AND INFORMATION
Onsite restaurant, lobby, lockers, souvenir shop, and photo/video purchases
The Selvatura Monteverde Park offers dining at their onsite “El Jardin” restaurant for breakfast and/or lunch. Lockers (free for tour participants to use) are also available onsite, as is a small lobby/seating area in the reception. Following tour completion, keepsakes may be bought from the onsite souvenir store, and photos/videos of the day’s adventure are made available for purchase as souvenirs.
Tour transportation (shuttle services), road conditions, and onsite parking
The Selvatura Monteverde Park offers complimentary (optional) transportation to/from Santa Elena hotels with reservations for either/both their canopy ziplining tour and/or their treetop walkways tour (for an additional fee, round-trip transportation can be provided with reservations for either/all of Selvatura’s other onsite tours and activities, including the butterfly garden tour, hummingbird garden visit, reptile/amphibian exhibit tour, and/or insect museum visit, with advance reservation). For individuals who would prefer to drive themselves to/from the attraction, free and ample parking is available onsite. The drive from downtown Santa Elena to the Selvatura Monteverde Park takes approximately eighteen minutes; half of this drive is conducted on paved roads (roads #606 and #619), and the other half is conducted on a dirt road where stones and potholes are common (the road to the entrance of the park). Having a 4X4 vehicle is recommended, however individuals with non-4X4 vehicles may make the trip provided they drive slow and give themselves extra time to arrive at the destination.
MAP OF THE SELVATURA MONTEVERDE PARK
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to the Selvatura Monteverde Park before? Which onsite tours or activities do you opt to participate in?
Don’t miss our other Selvatura tour savings (in addition to those already linked to above):
If you’re more of a visual learner, take a moment to view our gallery photos below from our visits to the Selvatura Monteverde Park.