In the lush forest of the Costa Rica highlands is a tree needing to be climbed from within.The Monteverde Ficus tree is not your standard tree. It’s completely hollow, making it great for climbing up into the tree canopy. It’s one of the best free things to do in Monteverde.

What is a Ficus Tree?

A Ficus tree, also known as Strangler tree is very different from a standard tree. It grows from up high in the tree canopy with its roots wrapping around its host tree as they grow downwards. Eventually the host tree dies and what left is a tree that can be climbing from the inside.

How to find the Ficus Tree?

To find the Ficus tree can be a little tricky, though it’s easy to ask around for directions. Most people in Santa Elena are friendly and know its whereabouts.From the downtown Santa Elena;

  • Walk up the hill from the tree house restaurant
  • Turn right onto Mi Casa Su Casa
  • Continue along the road until you find a path on the right side of the road
  • Follow the first path you find
  • Continue past the first Ficus tree on your right, the Ficus tree you want is a short walk further down

How easy is it to climb?

The Ficus tree Monteverde height is roughly 20m (66 ft), it’s an easy tree to climb. What you climb is actually the trees root system, hollowed out from the host tree.

The roots are tangled together, making it easy to find holds and since you are inside the tree, falling off is a bit tricky (until you make it the top).
It can get slippery, especially if has been raining. So be mindful as you climb, even though it’s an easy tree to climb, you still climb quite high.

My Adventure with Monteverde Ficus Tree Climb

I only found out about the tree when staying in Santa Elena. I was hanging out in the area because we wanted to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Also, the weather is cooler in Monteverde, which was a nice change after spending the previous month surfing in Nicaragua.

The receptionist from my hotel told me about the Ficus tree, and the Ficus Bridge. So, one afternoon, after a few coffees, I went wondering around the forest until I found it.I nearly gave up, after walking around and up a hill for a while. Not too sure where I was going, I eventually found the Ficus Tree.
The tree was really fun – who doesn’t like climbing trees! The Ficus Tree stands about 20m (66FT) into the tree canopy. Offering a unique experience of climbing a tree from within. At the start of the climb, I had to crawl inside the tree to begin the climb.It’s like climbing a ladder inside the Ficus Tree.

There is plenty of places to slot my feet and hands into giving me a secure feeling as I climbed. As I reached higher into the tree, the branched walls start getting closer and tighter. The Ficus Tree totally swallowed me.

I ended up wiggling through to the final opening. Then once I finally wormed myself out the opening at the top (looking like an over-sized earth worm). I was high in the tree canopy’s, offering great views of the valley and surroundings from a good height.

The climb is super fun, it took me back to tree climbing as a kid. I totally recommend this little mini adventure, especially if you have a few hours to kill while staying in Santa Elena, Costa Rica.

Ficus Tree Bridge Monteverde

If you feel like another adventure with a Ficus Tree, I recommend exploring for the Ficus Tree Bridge. It’s a fallen tree over a creek that been taken over by a Ficus Tree.

Finding the Ficus Tree bridge is the goal, though getting there is more of the adventure. We had to follow a muddy track next to some random house. Slide down a muddy hill until we found the creek. Then follow the creek downstream until we found our Ficus Tree Bridge. You will have to cross the creak a few times, jumping from rock to rock.

It’s a really fun and muddy adventure and an easy way to spend a few hours rampaging through the forest.

For directions ask a local, not the tourist office as its supposedly on private land.


If you’re looking for an interesting place to stay while in Santa Elena. I recommend Casa Tranquilo Hostel – good WIFI, tasty breakfast and the receptionist was very helpful.

Travel insurance

Costa Rica is a developing country, so it’s always important to do some research before travelling to the area.

Like anywhere be mindful your belongings and safety. Sometimes thing happen, so it’s best to be prepared – get travel insurance. I use World Nomads and have found that they are quick to respond when I’ve had travel emergencies and pay claims quickly and easily.