Camping is available at La Colina Lodge (tel. 506/2645-5009, www.lacolinalodge.com , $5 pp), in Cerro Plano.
The family-run Hotel Bellbird (tel. 506/2645-5026, www.hotelbellbird.com , $15 s, $25 d with breakfast) is a small wooden alpine lodge with nine minimally furnished rooms with hot water in clean tiled shared bathrooms. Some have bunks; others have a single and double bed. There’s a simple restaurant.
Advantageous for early bird-watchers, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve  (tel. 506/2645-5122, www.cct.or.cr , $53 pp with shared bath, $64 pp private bath, including all meals plus entrance to the reserve) visitors center has 13 well-kept dorm rooms, including kitchens for up to 39 people. Three rooms have private bathrooms. Scientists and students get priority.
I love the dramatic frontage of La Colina Lodge (tel. 506/2645-5009, www.lacolinalodge.com , $30 s/d shared bath, $38 private bath low season; $38 shared bath, $45 private bath high season), which has three wood-paneled rooms with private baths, plus nine rooms with shared bath with hot water. The rooms boast handcrafted furnishings and Guatemalan spreads. Rooms with shared bathrooms are small and dark. There’s a TV room and a charming alpine restaurant.
One of the nicest budget options, the Manakin Lodge (tel. 506/2645-5080, www.manakinlodge.com , $25–30 s, $39–49 d), is a cozy, albeit simple, bed-and-breakfast with 16 basic (no TV) or standard rooms with choice of queen or king beds (with orthopedic mattresses), all with private hot-water bathrooms. Breakfast is served in the stone-and-timber lounge with fireplace. Land Rover tours are offered for groups, and it has a laundry.
Lovingly run by an Italian/American couple, Hotel El Viandante (tel. 506/2645-6475, www.hotelelviandante.com , $30 s or $40 d low season, $35 s or $55 d high season) is a nice no-frills, nonsmoking hotel with 12 brand-new simply appointed rooms with stone-lined walls, tile floors, orthopedic mattresses, and private bathrooms with hot water. Rooms have cable TV and free wireless Internet, and most of the rooms have a view of Nicoya’s gulf. Some downstairs rooms lack windows; superiors, upstairs, are preferable. The owners specialize in mountain-bike tours. There’s a spacious breakfast/dining room on the 3rd floor with an amazing view of the gulf and the forest. The upstairs lounge has views and free Internet. Rates include breakfast and tax.
New in 2010, Hostel Casa Celeste (tel. 506/2645-7262, www.hostelcasaceleste.com , $30 s, $60 d including breakfast) is a stone’s throw above El Viandante. This two-story modern lodge has an atrium lounge and simply yet stylishly furnished rooms, plus a small seafood restaurant.
I like the stone-and-timber Nidia Lodge (tel. 506/2645-5236, www.nidialodge.com , $40 s or $60 d low season, $50 s or $75 d high season) for its homey yet elegant rusticity and its proximity to the Ecological Sanctuary. A two-story unit hosts four standard rooms. Upstairs “deluxe” rooms and slightly more elegant junior suites have balconies, refrigerators, and tub-showers. All rooms have cable TV, microwave, and WiFi, and two rooms are wheelchair-accessible. It has a charming restaurant, plus a small spa and an auditorium for slide shows. The amiable owner, Eduardo Venegas Castro (who named the lodge for his wife), is a naturalist guide and the owner of Flor de Lis Naturalist Tours. You couldn’t be in better hands.
The alpine-style Cabañas Los Pinos (tel. 506/2645-5252, www.lospinos.net , $65 s/d standard, $80 junior suite, $125 family cabin, including tax) has 12 cabinas amid an alpine setting with lots of cedars and oaks studding verdant lawns. Varying room sizes sleep up to six people and all have porches for lazing and spotting motmots and other birds that flit past. If you insist on cable TV, opt for a junior suite.
Earning high marks for its eco-consciousness, the family-run Hotel Belmar (tel. 506/2645-5201, www.hotelbelmar.net , $59 s or $69 d chalet, $81 s or $92 d standard low season; $69 s or $79 chalet, $91 s or $102 d standard high season) is a beautiful ivy-clad Swiss-style grand dame with chalets that are the prettiest in Monteverde . Spacious wood-paneled rooms in the newer main building much outshine the older cabins, not least for large bathrooms with marble highlights; of its 28 comfortable rooms, four are family rooms. French doors in most rooms and lounges open onto balconies with views; a west-facing glass wall catches the sunset. The lounge in the older building is a quiet spot for reading and games and for slide shows on Fridays. The large restaurant has views, and hardy hikers can follow a trail to the mountain crest. Facilities include a whirlpool tub, volleyball court, pool table, and Internet. Rates include tax.
The more contemporary-styled Hotel de Montaña Monteverde (tel. 506/2645-5046, www.monteverdemountainhotel.com , $71 s or $80 d standard, $138 s/d superior) is set on expansive grounds that include a lake and 15-hectare private reserve. Its wood-paneled rooms are modestly furnished and have cable TVs.
Way up the hill close to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve , Hotel Villa Verde (tel. 506/2645-4697, www.villaverdehotel.com , $57 s or $75 d rooms, $94 s/d villas, including breakfast) has 16 cozy rooms with hardwood floors and five rustic cabinas with roomy kitchenettes, a small lounge with fireplace, and large bedrooms with four beds (one double, three singles). Villa suites have fireplaces and tubs and voluminous tiled bathrooms include hot water. The stone-and-timber lodge and its atrium restaurant offer a homey atmosphere and a game room. They offer horseback tours. (Don’t be put off by the appalling website.)
The Trapp Family Lodge (tel. 506/2645-5858, www.trappfam.com , $85 s/d rooms, $105 s/d suites) enjoys the advantage (or disadvantage, as it’s up here on its lonesome) of being the hotel closest to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, just one kilometer away. It has 20 spacious albeit modestly furnished rooms plus more gracious and newer suites in a two-story all-wood structure enjoying a beautiful locale with neat lawns framed by forest. Glossy hardwood floors add to the mood. A large restaurant serves Italian meals and there’s a cozy TV lounge (all rooms have TVs too), but you’ll need wheels if you want to head to town for nightlife.
A perfectly adequate alternative is the Monteverde Country Lodge (tel. 506/2645-7600, ww.monteverdecountrylodge.com), close to the Ecological Sanctuary Wildlife Refuge  and the Monteverde Butterfly Garden .
The Ecolodge San Luis  (in San Luis, tel. 506/2645-8049, www.uga.edu/costarica , $49 pp dorm, $79 s or $144 d bungalow, $102 s, $192 cabin, including all meals and activities) has a cozy wood-paneled bunkhouse—a former milking shed—with 30 bunks and shared baths, and four rooms with 2–12 beds. It also has a four-room, 16-bed bungalow with private baths and verandas, plus 12 cabinas for three or four people each. Tico fare is cooked over a woodstove and served family-style.
One of the oldest hotels, but still a winner, is El Sapo Dorado (tel. 506/2645-5010, www.sapodorado.com , $88 s or $107 d low season, $103 s or $122 d high season), with 30 charming, secluded stone-and-timber cabins spaced well apart across a hillside. There are three types—older “classic suites” with fireplaces, and newer “fountain suites” and “sunset suites”—each with two queen-size beds, orthopedic mattresses, and balcony. Honeymooners should note that hotel rules prohibit the “moving of furniture or gymnastics after 9 p.m.” The acclaimed restaurant is famous for its natural-food meals. Trails lead into the hotel’s own forest reserve.
Of similar standard and style, Hotel Heliconia (tel. 506/2645-5109, www.hotelheliconia.com , $111 s/d standard, $115 s/d junior suite, $130–140 s/d suites) occupies landscaped grounds at the foot of the private 284-hectare Heliconia Cloud Forest Reserve. Made of lacquered cedar in the style of a Swiss-style chalet, the hotel is saturated in natural light. Home-style comforts include deep-cushioned sofas in the lobby, plus hand-painted curtains in the 33 wood-paneled bedrooms, which come in five types—from standards to master suites. Older units are simply furnished. Spa cabins in a two-story stone-and-hardwood structure offer a little more sophistication. All beds have orthopedic mattresses. It has an elegant restaurant, plus horse rides, and spa treatments.
Also sufficiently alpine to make you want to yodel is the reclusive Hotel Fonda Vela (tel. 506/2645-5125, www.fondavela.com , $99 s or $110 d standard, $110 s or $130 d junior suites), close to Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve . It has 20 standard rooms and 18 junior suites in nine buildings, all with rich hardwoods, picture windows, and furnishings your grandma would approve. The suites are worth the splurge for their sitting rooms and large balconies. The landscaped grounds backed by forest are a delight for bird-watching.
The modern, eco-sensitive Monteverde Lodge & Gardens (c/o Costa Rica Expeditions, tel. 506/2257-0766, www.costaricaexpeditions.com , $198 s/d garden room, $225 s/d forest view year-round) is easily the best bargain in Monteverde, especially since an upgrade graced the rooms with a classy chic that doesn’t detract from the nature-lodge feel. Rooms are spacious and elegant, featuring large windows, two double beds with thick comforters and deluxe linens, plus telephones, and well-lit solar-heated bathrooms with stylish “salad bowl” sinks and large walk-in showers tiled with gray slate. Thoughtful touches include biscuits and coffee liqueurs by the bed at night. Opt for the upper Forest View rooms with balconies. A cavernous hotel entrance leads to an open-plan dining room and a cozy bar. The superb restaurant has a soaring beamed ceiling and wraparound windows overlooking the beautifully landscaped grounds, where agoutis and other critters hang out on the trails. The bar has leather chairs, good for cuddling around an open hearth, and looks down upon a large glass-enclosed whirlpool tub. Chessboards and backgammon are at hand. The lodge is operated by Costa Rica Expeditions and is popular with bird-watching and nature groups. Rates include taxes.
Monteverde ’s largest, and some would argue most upscale, option is El Establo Hotel, Restaurant & Stable (tel. 506/2645-5110 or 877/623-3198, www.hotelelestablo.com , $194 s/d deluxe, $267 s/d suites, year-round), which offers 155 standard rooms and junior suites, all with a stylish aesthetic. The original two-story wood-and-stone structure contains 20 standard rooms with cinderblock walls and wraparound windows; those on the ground floor open onto a wood-floored gallery lounge with deep-cushioned sofas and an open fireplace. Newer rooms are in a dramatic hillside annex (far enough that a shuttle ferries guests back and forth); all are junior suites with polished stone floors and exotic tilework, or upper-level carpeted suites with rattan furniture and king-size beds in lofts (plus double beds downstairs). You get rockers on your balcony and there’s a full-service spa, two restaurants, a swimming pool fit for a Balinese resort, and trails.
Monteverde hasn’t been left out of the tree-house craze. Thus, Hidden Canopy B&B (tel. 506/2645-5447, www.hiddencanopy.com , $140–245 s/d low season, $165–295 s/d high season) has four very private “tree-house chalets” accessed by lofty walkways. No ordinary tree houses, these chic and edgy all-wood units ooze class. In fact, the entire place is gorgeous, not least for its lush landscaped gardens. The ridge-top setting with vast views toward the Gulf of Nicoya is sublime. Two cabins are bi-level with two bedrooms. The others are single-story one-bedroom units; one is a honeymoon suite with gas fire and whirlpool tub. Owner Jennifer King also rents two rooms in the lodge, which has a fabulous lounge and a stone deck that’s a setting for daily sunset teas. Furnishings include queen and king beds made of tree roots, with down comforters, and a hanging basket chair in which to nestle and soak up the forest views.