Tucked away in the mountains and known locally as Mariposario, Monteverde Butterfly Gardens is one of the town's most visited attractions, having been educating visitors about Costa Rica's local insect and arachnid species for more than 20 years.
Guides take visitors through the various displays at the biodiversity center, which features over 20 species of live insects and arachnids, as well as an active leaf-cutter ant colony. When it comes to butterflies, this site reigns supreme with more than 30 species in four different climate-controlled habitats that represent ones found in Costa Rica. The three-acre garden also houses other wildlife, including white-faced capuchin monkeys, agoutis, coatis, toucans, motmots and more.
Monteverde Butterfly Gardens is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located near downtown Santa Elena, accessible via either a 20-minute walk or a short cab ride from town. Onsite guides speak English and/or Spanish. It should be known that Monteverde Butterfly Gardens accepts cash only – either USD or Colones.