In the hills around Santa Elena in Monteverde, you can find a hand-painted sign for Raiz, a root bridge that extends across a trickling creek. The simple sign directs you to a rudimentary path through the cloud forest that leads down, towards the stream.
It will be obvious when you arrive at Ficus la Raiz, also called el Puente Raiz or the Root Bridge. The roots of a large woody ficus plant criss-cross the small valley to form a natural bridge. From the top, you can test your balance and bravery if you want to try to cross the river using the bridge—many visitors only get to a comfortable selfie spot and then scurry back to land.
Sketchy pathways descend to the creek on either side of the bridge, allowing you to see the full size of the bridge and the tentacle-like supports along the creek’s edge.
Know Before You Go
Expect a five-minute drive from Santa Elena, and plan to spend 15-20 minutes exploring the area. By car, you can follow the GPS coordinates to a parking lot that looks like a commercial extension of a residential home with construction equipment and a gravel surface.
By foot, you can either enter via a footpath near the main road, or follow the driveway to the same entrance via the parking lot.
It's almost always raining in this part of Costa Rica, so you may have to hold on to branches to avoid slipping on the mud. Please be environmentally sensitive, since other hidden gems in the area have been closed due to excessive erosion.