White-faced Capuchin monkey. Photo © Roy Luck, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Wildlife Gardens Around Monteverde

A growing number of wildlife attractions are found in and around Monteverde’s cloud forest as well as north of Santa Elena village. You’ll find bugs, birds, butterflies, bats, and an amazing range of other cloud forest critters. Check out these gardens, exhibits, and reserves.

Peccary at La Selva Biological Station. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Plan a Visit to La Selva Biological Station

One of Costa Rica’s premier birding sites, La Selva Biological Station offers guided nature walks with phenomenal wildlife viewing. There are a handful of tours offered, including an early-bird walk and for those who choose to overnight in comfortable dormitories, a nocturnal tour.

Visitors gaze at a tumbling waterfall from an observation platform.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s splendid nature and wildlife park La Paz Waterfall Gardens at Montaña Azul features trails through a soaring hangar-size aviary with a separate climate-controlled butterfly cage. There’s also a hummingbird garden, a serpentarium (snakes), a walk-through ranarium (frogs), a monkey exhibit, plus a trout lake and orchid houses.

Street facade of the Castillo Serralles. Photo © Mtmelendez (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Explore Historic Castillo Serrallés in Puerto Rico

Set high on a hill overlooking Ponce is a startling reminder of the height of the city’s flourishing sugar industry, when its port was the busiest on the island. Castillo Serrallés, built in 1934, is an impressive feat of architecture housing an astonishing array of antiques. Visit for its history and its beautiful surrounding gardens, including a butterfly garden.

The mariposario (enclosed butterfly garden) at the Jardín Botánico del Quindío. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Colombia’s Jardín Botánico del Quindío

Outside the town of Armenia, the well-run Jardín Botánico del Quindío is home to hundreds of tree and plant species, many of which are threatened. Knowledgeable volunteer guides lead visitors on a mandatory 2.5-hour tour along jungle paths pointing out plants, trees, and birds visitors would otherwise miss.

A blue morpho butterfly sits in a person's hand.

Spotting Butterflies in Costa Rica

With nearly 1,000 identified species of butterflies (approximately 10 percent of the world total), Costa Rica is a lepidopterist’s paradise. You can barely stand still for one minute without checking off a dozen dazzling species. Here’s more about the amazing and unique species you’ll spot, along with the best times to go searching.

Glasswing butterfly, Monteverde Butterfly Garden. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Family Fun in Costa Rica

Combining educational options with fun keeps children (and parents) enthralled. From snakes and sloths and crocodiles to river safaris and air tram rides through the forest and above volcanoes, these ideas focus on outdoor adventure & learning while experiencing nature.

Light filters through the tall redwoods of Muir Woods.

Visiting Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument comprises acres of staggeringly beautiful redwood forest nestled in Marin County. Here’s information on getting there as well as recommended nearby food and accommodations.