Costa Rica Butterfly Garden
Monteverde Butterfly Garden Tour
The Monteverde Butterfly Garden - the best butterfly tour! As tourism grows by leaps and bounds in Costa Rica, there are many people looking to profit off of a limited number of ideas. Butterfly gardens spring up like mushrooms overnight in every city and town, even in some hotels and restaurants. Currently there are three in the Monteverde area, but the original proves to be a must-stop during a trip to the Monteverde area. Jim Wolfe and his wife Marta Iris opened the Monteverde Butterfly Garden in 1989. At that time there were very few tourist attractions in Monteverde (certainly no canopy tours), and for the next ten years the Monteverde Butterfly Garden was nearly the most visited attraction in Monteverde, second only to the Monteverde Reserve.
Why has the Butterfly Garden attracted so many visitors? Do people come from all around just to see pretty butterflies? Well, yes. However visitors who came just for the butterflies get tricked into learning a mini course in Tropical Entomology and Costa Rican Natural History.
Depending on your preference you can spend anywhere from an hour to a whole day at the garden, observing, photographing and learning about butterflies and other insects. Every guest receives a guided tour that is included in the cost of admission. Well-trained volunteers, often biology students, give the hour and a half tours. The tour includes a guided trip through four greenhouses which house the many species of butterflies as well as a short lesson in the nature center which showcases a wide range of insects and arachnids in live exhibits. The tour is often funny, always entertaining and very informative.
Butterflies are most active while it is sunny and warm so these greenhouses ensure that you can see butterflies year round no matter what the weather. Another advantage of the Monteverde Butterfly Garden is the diversity of species. Jim and Marta have been hand raising these butterflies for fifteen years and know their preferences and habits. These fragile creatures take extreme care to handle and grow. Every species feeds on a different plant and some of the caterpillars will eat each other if there is not enough food. Unlike most butterfly gardens, which buy their butterflies as chrysalides, all the butterflies you see here were bred and raised on the premises. Jim Wolfe estimates it costs nearly five dollars a butterfly to raise them by hand!
After the tour you are welcome to watch a twenty-minute video, part of Jim Wolfe's thirty-six chapter DVD titled The Insects of Costa Rica. The video gives a look at all the families of butterflies in Costa Rica and is narrated by the owner himself.
There is also a medicinal plant garden, which is a self-guided tour of more than seventy plants used as medicines in different parts of the world. The information sheet lists many different uses for all the type of plants, some which are quite surprising.
Another optional exhibit is The Leaf Cutter Ant nest which provides an up close opportunity to see these ants in action. Many visitors to Costa Rica see leafcutter ant trails, which can be up to a hundred meters long through the woods. A large leaf cutter ant colony can use more leaves than a cow in a single day! In this exhibit you get a chance to see inside the nest of the Leaf Cutters, where they are cultivating a fungus out of the decomposing leaves.
Monteverde Butterfly Garden Tour Information
Opening Hours: 8:30am - 4:00pm
We are open 365 days per year (even Christmas!) from 8:30am-4:00pm.
All prices are in USD, but we also accept Colones. At this time we only accept cash. Rates 2014-2015
|Child under 3||free|
|Costa Rican National||$8|
|Costa Rican National Children from 4-6||$5|