Life In the Big Green Jolly

Embrace local. Explore often.

The Bat Jungle

bats hanging at the Bat Jungle

Bats. Bats. And more bats.

That is the magic of the Bat Jungle in Santa Elena, Costa Rica.

Getting There

The Bat Jungle exhibit is located in the Montverde area of Costa Rica about 1/2 mile before you arrive at the Curi-Cancha Reserve on route 620.

If you are staying in Santa Elena, you can either walk from town or ask your hotel staff what public bus to take. If you are visiting the Curi-Cancha Reserve, it’s very easy to walk to from there.

What’s it like to visit the Bat Jungle?

It was a beautiful day and I prefer to see wildlife in the wild, but I took a chance and went inside the Bat Jungle. It was worth it.

dogs sleeping
Enter the Bat Jungle…just past the sleeping guard dogs

Inside, the exhibit reverses day and night so that the bats are active during our day. After a minute or so, your eyes adjust to the dimness. And then boom – everywhere you look bats! Not to worry, you and the bats are separated by a glass window.

 You can take either a self-guided ($7) or guided ($15) tour.

I chose the self-guided tour as the next guided tour wasn’t scheduled to start for another hour.

A self-guided tour was sufficient. The staff gives an introduction to bats and then explains the exhibit. In addition to telling me how to use the flashlight (point the light at the bat’s body, not at their face so they are less likely to fly away), the staff also pointed out the baby bat nursing on its mother.

Two bats hanging
One of many bats at the Bat Jungle exhibit

The 60-foot exhibit contains only the Monteverde species of bats. There are no Caribbean variety bats here as they require a different temperature range from the Monteverde bats.  

The exhibit started over ten years ago when people asked the owner to “get these bats out of my house”. The bats live out their lives in the exhibit. There is a “senior room” for the older bats who are less active and need special care.

Timing-wise – you can stay as long as you’d like during the exhibit’s open hours.  I found an hour to be enough time.

hanging bat eating orange fruit
Bat eating fruit

Tidbits I learned about bats:

  • Bats are about ½ the size of their mother when born.
  • Bats nurse every hour.
  • Bats are social and provide support to other types of bats. It’s not unusual for a mother bat to have a nanny to help. The nanny might be male and might not even be the same type of bat.
  • Bats are not territorial nor are they blind.

Combine your visit to the Bat Jungle with a guided morning tour at Curi Cancha Preserve followed by a night tour at the Monteverde Frog Pond.

For more adventure ideas in Costa Rica, check out our 2-week Costa Rica itinerary. Make an entire day Monteverde area is a must-stop on your Costa Rica trip.

Map of location of Santa Elena Costa Rica