Senda Monteverde

Arenal & Monteverde, Costa Rica
Book from GBP Book from £252 per night

Senda Monteverde

Arenal & Monteverde, Costa Rica

A friendly eco-lodge in Monteverde's famous cloud forest, with amazing food, a wealth of wildlife and adventures galore

A friendly eco-lodge in Monteverde's famous cloud forest, with amazing food, a wealth of wildlife and adventures galore

Monteverde is one of the jewels in the Costa Rica crown for its unique cloud forests and world-class biodiversity. Folk flock here not just for the flora (500 species of orchid alone) and fauna (including many endemic and endangered animals) but for thrills and spills too. This is the birthplace of zip-lining, and there are hanging bridges and a Sky Tram traversing the forest for canopy eye views. Don't miss exploring the incredible Monteverde Cloud Forest and Curi Cancha Reserves for their sheer variety of biological zones and thousands of species.

With magnificent long vistas across the central highlands to the Gulf of Nicoya, peaceful mountain lodge Senda Monteverde is the prime place from which to discover these delights and more. 28 rooms and suites are in stand-alone bungalows positioned across flowering landscaped gardens, giving each privacy and space. Spot wildlife from your private deck, traverse the hiking trails up to a private reserve with immense strangler fig trees. You can book night safaris, horse riding, plantation tours and yoga classes. The popular restaurant prides itself on artisanal fare and ultra-low food miles, with good vegetarian options. For couples, there's organic wine and in-house cocktails at sunset; for families, mini-explorer menus and marshmallows by the fire pit at the end of a busy day. Simply the bees knees for nature lovers of all ages.

Highs

  • This is intelligent, sustainable luxury: both staff and the organic food are locally grown (as well as over 5,000 native plants), souvenirs come from a women's cooperative, it's plastic free and solar heated
  • We really enjoyed meals in the restaurant with its farm-to-table cuisine, which marries Western crowd-pleasers with local dishes
  • Outstanding activities are on offer, with excellent concierge services to help you realise your bucket list dreams
  • Lovely staff. They've thought of everything you'll need, from umbrellas and torches in your room to Wellington boots to borrow
  • Complimentary minibars are a nice touch

Lows

  • No swimming pool
  • You'll have to reserve ahead for a dinner table, or walk 15 mins into Santa Elena for alternatives
  • Rooms are more functional than plushly luxurious (no TVs, A/c or designer furniture); the focus, rightly, is on the tranquil setting
  • Rooms 1, 2 and 3 are near the road
  • Renovations and improvements to the restaurant, rooms and reception are expected to finish mid-November; you may experience some minor disruption during this time

Best time to go

Monteverde's moisture-rich microclimate means changeable weather, often on an hourly basis, but temperatures are pleasant year-round (within the 20-25°C range during the day, lower at night). The dry season is January to mid-May, when heavy rains are rare and the sun can be surprisingly strong. The green (i.e. wetter!) season (late May - December) sees everything: mist, rainbows, winds, downpours and sunshine. Prices are highest from November to April.

Our top tips

Guests at Senda get complimentary hiking access to Aguti Wildlife Reserve just next door, which is far less busy than the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and has immense trees to marvel at as well as sit outs to gaze to the Pacific. Senda cover the entrance fees and help conserve this parcel of rare cloud forest.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Mountain Lodge
  • 28 rooms
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Laundry service
  • Yoga Studio
Room:

Rooms

All 28 cabin-style rooms and suites are in stand-alone bungalows, which come with private gardens, covered terraces and kingsize beds, and are scattered about the lush grounds.

There are two units per bungalow for most room categories, including the entry-level Superior Rooms, the Junior Suites and the Premium Suites. Our Junior Suite backed onto thick foliage adjacent to the path to the hiking trails, we saw coatis and agoutis from our private deck. The living rooms in the Suites come with day beds for additional guests; larger Premium Suites have west-facing terraces for wonderful ocean and sunset views. Ideal for larger families, the Senda Suite occupies the whole of the bungalow and has two bedrooms (one double, one twin) plus a spacious terrace and living area.

Walls and floors throughout are decked in local wood, ceiling fans kept us cool. Thoughtful extras include torches, binoculars and umbrellas. Ensuite bathrooms have rainfall showers only, and the organic toiletries supplied are by local brand Aromas para el Alma and have their own unique scent.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar
  • Safe box
  • WiFi

Eating

With ambitions to be a zero-waste restaurant, El Sapo Restaurant and Bar emphasises farm-to-table dining using locally sourced ingredients, including from their own kitchen nursery. The results – a pleasing mix of Costa Rican fare with western staples – are delicious.

Breakfast consists of coffee or hot chocolate or tea, juice of the day and a tropical fruit plate with muffin, plus one dish from the menu: between us we tried the lot including the classic Tico breakfast, buttermilk pancakes, cured trout bagel and avocado toast.

Lunch options include light dishes such as home-grown salads, ceviche, carpaccio, empanadas, pulled pork paninos with sweet potato fries or burgers.

For dinner, dishes range from pepper steak to veggie burgers, ravioli to catch of the day, with a separate vegetarian and vegan menu of salads, rice dishes, tacos and tortillas. All dressings and condiments are made from scratch – a nice touch. Desserts (which we often didn't have room for) include salted caramel cheesecake and lemon pie.

The bar has a great range of organic South American wines, locally created cocktails and craft beer. It's a lovely end-of-day ritual for everybody to hang out by the firepit on the slopes, toasting marshmallows and watching the sunset.

Given how delicious the food is at Senda, few venture out for meals, but there are plenty of restaurants nearby if you choose to do so. It's a 15-minute walk into Santa Elena - uphill on the way back (taxis are available)/

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian options
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Monteverde has a myriad of fun things to do, and Senda has an extensive Tour Book. So where to begin? We reckon with a walking tour of the unique 26,000-acre biodiversity-rich Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (home to an astonishing array of flora and fauna – 500 species of bird alone) or the Curi Cancha Reserve (which we went to) which has more ecosystems and is less busy
  • Or see the cloud forest canopy from above and enjoy spectacular views to the Pacific Ocean on the Sky Tram gondola or the Sky Walk suspension bridges, or, for maximum adrenaline, on the 1.8-mile-long Selvatura ziplines
  • Take a night safari for an exciting array of nocturnal animals: we saw sloths, frogs, a scorpion, porcupine and a viper as well as several sleeping birds
  • Discover how coffee and chocolate go from bean to cup on a plantation tour (in Nov-Feb you can help with the harvest)
  • Horse riding and e-bikes offer more ways to explore the forest
  • Senda offers yoga classes, tortilla making sessions and cooking classes; there's also plenty of wildlife to see in the grounds themselves
  • There are also butterfly houses, insect museums, bat jungles, reptile and amphibian displays and orchid gardens to visit in Santa Elena
  • Take a day trip to Arenal volcano

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Farm tours

Kids

Senda Monteverde has much to offer families as we discovered! There are family suites, a kids' menu (my son still remembers his waterfall-of-cheese burger fondly), and a wealth of nature on the doorstep, plus zip-lining, horse riding and bracelet-making classes. We think most kids would get a kick out of staying here.

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Senda Suites are the biggest and can sleep up to six plus a baby. Junior Suites can host a family of four as kids sleep on pull out sofas. Premium Suites can have a family of three plus a baby. All come with private terraces.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Outdoor twister and coffee bean bag toss in the fun place (play area)
  • Cooking classes
  • Board games for rainy days
  • Hot cocoa and marshmallows round the fire pit
  • Movie nights
  • Kid-sized boots and walking sticks
  • Sustainability tour
  • Paper-making or bracelet-making class
  • 7 wonders of wander

Families Should Know:

Mini beasts are of course prevalent in a jungle setting, so pack insect spray. There's no pool.

Distances:

  • Airport: 2hr30m
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 2 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

Senda Monteverde is on the outskirts of tourist town Santa Elena, gateway to the Monteverde region, found in the Talamanca Mountains of the North-Western highlands. The hotel is 10 minutes from the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and 2 minutes from the private Aguti Wildlife Reserve.

By Air
San José Juan Santamaría International (126km / 2h30m) and Liberia Daniel Oduber International (121km / 2hr30m) are Costa Rica's main international airports. Senda Monteverde can arrange a transfer with a bilingual driver.

By Car:
You might want to hire a car but you’ll need a high clearance 4x4/SUV and some stamina, as local roads are very rough. See our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Juan Santamaría International Airport 126.0 km SJO
  • Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport 121.0 km LIR

Other:

  • Beach 60.0 km
  • Shops 0.6 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

{{ review.rating }}/10, ,

Rates for Senda Monteverde

Arriving on: