Climbing The Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus Tree in Costa Rica

Climbing The Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus Tree in Costa Rica

Just outside the downtown area of Monteverde sits a hidden gem. But perhaps one of the most unique experiences is one you don’t need a tour company or guide for. The Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus tree is a secret tourist attraction you can visit without needing a guide. Free admission, not a typical tourist spot.

View the video below of the climb!

Monteverde, Costa Rica

The town of Monteverde is very similar to San Gerardo de Rivas, both geographically and environmentally. This little town sits perched in the mountains of northwestern Costa Rica. However don’t be fooled by the location, the town is very modern and developed.

Monteverde is a great destination for nature lovers and hikers. With multiple cloud forests to chose from, there are many different locations and trails to hike. In Monteverde you are immersed in nature but still have all the modern amenities in the town.

There is one large grocery store in town where you can find anything a lot for cooking. Additionally, there is also a bank as well as a couple ATM’s scattered throughout town. You can also go out to eat at one of the many bars and restaurants.

But one of the coolest attractions in Monteverde, Costa Rica is the Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus tree. Just off of the main road heading up to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, is a large ficus tree marked with the star on the map to the right.

Climbing the Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus tree

The Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus Tree in Costa RicaThe Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus tree is a little known secret among tourists. However, many Ticos know the spot and it serves as a local hang out.

What is a Strangler fig tree?

A ficus is also known as a strangler tree because it’s roots grow up and down the host tree it latches onto. These roots eventually grow high enough to reach the sunlight in the cloud forest. Typically after this happens the host tree eventually dies, leaving a hollowed out center wrapped in large roots.

The Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus tree is a sequence of roots interlocking, creating a ladder to the lookout point. Unfortunately on this climb, it is difficult to use climbing gear because you are literally inside of the tree. Luckily, the climb is generally safe as you are completely wrapped inside the roots of the Strangler fig.

If you look closely at the top of the picture on the right, you can see a person standing at the lookout point in order to gain perspective on how tall the tree truly is.

Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus tree lookout point

As you are climbing the tree, sporadic beams of light pierce through the gaps in the roots of the tree. At the very top, you see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” as light pours down through a small hole at the top. When you finally reach the top of the climbable area, you are directly next to the exit out to the terrifyingly breathtaking view.

Climbing The Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus Tree View

However, there is truly no better way to experience the climb than to show it to you. Below is the video I recorded of my friend and I climbing the Monteverde Strangler Fig Ficus tree.


Originally from Chicago, now traveling around the world while working remotely as a web designer / developer. A Christian trying to be a shining light in a dark world.


  • John Cicero June 18, 2018 at 12:37 pm Reply

    Very nice. I’m glad you made it to the top and back down safely.

  • Mike June 19, 2018 at 11:37 am Reply

    Looks like fun!!

  • liz August 1, 2018 at 4:07 pm Reply

    If you are on foot, can you just follow the road and then cut into the woods, or are there certain paths that start in other locations that you need to go to?

    • travel His world August 2, 2018 at 3:59 pm Reply

      Yes all you need to do is cut into the woods off of the main road. There are a few different entrances you can cut in which all lead to the tree. The wooded area isn’t too large so it is hard to get lost. Most of the entrances are pretty clearly visible from the road. Let me know if you find it!

      • liz August 2, 2018 at 4:08 pm Reply

        Awesome thanks! I’m so excited.

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