Because most visitors want to get an early start, they usually grab a quick breakfast at their hotel. It’s also common for people to have their lodge pack them a bag lunch to take to the reserve, though there’s a decent little soda at the reserve entrance.

You can get good pizzas and pastas at Tramonti ★ ((tel) 2645-6120;, along the road to the reserve, and great paella and other Spanish specialties at Sabor Español ★ ((tel) 2645-5387), a few miles outside of Santa Elena on the road to Tilarán. Also, the restaurant at the Hotel Poco a Poco ((tel) 2645-6000) gets high marks for its wide range of international dishes.

A popular choice for lunch is Stella’s Bakery ((tel) 2645-5560), across from the CASEM gift shop. Bright and inviting, its selection changes regularly but might include vegetarian quiche, eggplant parmigiana, and salads. Stella’s also features a number of decadent baked goods.


Take a Break


If all the activities in Monteverde have worn you out, stop in at Las Orquídeas Café ((tel) 2645-6850) or the Choco Café Don Juan ★ ((tel) 2645-7444), two excellent local coffee shops just off the main drag in Santa Elena. The latter is connected to the Don Juan Coffee Farm and has a small gift shop attached.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.