The distance between Arenal and the Monteverde Cloud Forest is significant. La Fortuna (the town nearest to the Arenal Volcano) has an altitude of 1,148 feet (350 m), while Monteverde straddles the Continental Divide at 4,921 feet (1,500 m). Don’t be deceived by appearances, it’s a short distance as the crow flies, but a huge lake with winding mountain roads. More than 3,000 feet (914 m) of elevation gain creates a stunning environment, but there will be bumps along the way. If you prefer to drive yourself take a look at this Costa Rica driving guide
You can’t deny the quiet charm of La Fortuna, residing in the midst of the imposing Arenal Volcano, nor the beauty of the Monteverde Cloud Forest. It’s no wonder these destinations make the ‘must see’ list time and time again for adventure vacations in Costa Rica. However, because this area is so mountainous, there isn’t a direct route between the two places. By road, it’s 66 miles (106 km) between Arenal and Monteverde. The drive winds around Lake Arenal and through the town of Tilarán, and takes upwards of 4 hours with a 4x4 vehicle. By bus, it’s 8 hours. In our taxi/boat/taxi, it takes only 2.5 hours to get between Monteverde and Arenal (see regional Arenal Map).
The taxi/boat/taxi tour is designed as an alternative, fun and efficient way to get between Arenal and Monteverde. It is not meant to be a round trip, although it is possible to arrange a one-day round trip option; but keep in mind that it takes 2.5 to 3 hours to travel just one way.
The taxi/boat/taxi shortcut operates daily, rain or shine
- Pick up from La Fortuna or your Arenal area hotel at 8:30 AM or 2:30 PM in a comfortable mini-bus with air conditioning.
- Arrive at the Arenal Lake Dam dock after a 15 to 30-minute ride (depending on the location of your hotel). Here, you will board our covered 22-passenger boat and cruise across Lake Arenal in 30 minutes. During your ride, you’ll enjoy great views of the Arenal Volcano and the Monteverde mountain range.
- Once you reach the Río Chiquito dock, you’ll board a mini-bus (with air conditioning) for a 1.5 hour ride to Monteverde.
- Upon arrival in Monteverde, drop off directly at your hotel.
We also offer this daily tour from Monteverde to Arenal, with departure times at 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM. This transfer can easily accommodate large groups at the time of your choosing. All our boats and mini-buses are comfortable, safe, and fully insured.
Roughing The Roads
Costa Rica’s diverse terrain makes for an exciting vacation, but you do need to keep this rugged landscape in mind if you decide to rent a car and drive yourself around the country. If you do not use the taxi/boat/taxi shortcut and want to go by land, there are a few things you should be aware of. The road from La Fortuna to Tilarán is in decent condition, but the road from Tilarán to Monteverde is quite bad. A car with four-wheel drive is strongly recommended, especially during the rainy season. Without a 4x4 car, it’s impossible to get to Monteverde during the months of September, October and November. It takes about 4 hours to get between La Fortuna and Arenal with a 4x4 car, 5 hours with a regular car, and 8 hours by public bus. A taxi ride for the entire trip will cost around $120 US for four people.
Seamless Costa Rica transportation takes planning, and its best to coordinate and budget for it prior to your arrival. That way you can focus on enjoying your trip.
Another great option? Good old-fashioned horsepower on our Horseback Adventure to Monteverde Cloud Forest.
- 08:30 AM
- 02:30 PM