Monteverde Butterfly Gardens
Tucked away in the mountains, the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens is one of the most popular attractions in the area. The 3-acre (1.2-hectare) sanctuary houses four unique climate-controlled habitats where more than 30 species of butterflies thrive alongside 20 species of arachnids and insects and a colony of leaf-cutter ants.
Known locally as the Mariposario, the family-friendly Monteverde Butterfly Gardens is home not only to butterflies and insects but also to white-faced capuchin monkeys, agoutis, coatis, toucans, and motmots. The garden offers tours in English and Spanish, and visitors can learn about the various insects and see the butterflies in various stages of life.
Many visitors explore the site as part of a multi-day tour of Costa Rica’s northwestern region, which is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Most tours depart from San Jose and include a variety of activities, from a trip to Arenal Volcano National Park and a cruise down the Río Frio to a soak in thermal hot springs and a horseback ride.
Things To Know Before Going
There is a small admission fee to enter the butterfly gardens; bring cash.
Wheelchair users might have difficulty navigating due to mountainous terrain.
Restrooms are available at the park.
How To Get There
The Monteverde Butterfly Gardens is located on Costa Rica’s northwest coast, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Monteverde. The closest town is Santa Elena, which is about a 20-minute walk from the garden. Parking is available on site. There is no public transportation directly to the site.
When To Get There
The butterfly garden is open daily, from morning until evening. Beat the crowds by coming early in the morning, or visit later in the day, when the butterflies are at their most active. Peak tourist season runs from December to April, and rainy season runs from May to November with a chance of hurricanes in September and October.
Many of Monteverde’s top attractions are within walking distance from Butterfly Gardens, including the Bat Jungle. This 57-foot (17-meter) enclosure contains 8 species of bats (about 90 bats in total), housed in a jungle-like environment. The site is wired with special ultrasonic microphones that allow you to hear the flying mammals’ biosonar pulses, which the bats use to locate and identify objects around them.
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