Monteverde – Cloud Forest, National Park

Great for honeymoons and families and those that like nature Available

Adventures: Hiking, Horse Riding, Bird Watching, Ziplines and Canopy Tour, Hanging Bridges, ATVs, Coffee and Chocolate Tours, Cloud Forests, National Parks and more…

Straddling Costa Rica’s continental divide, some 1,440 m above sea level, lies the cloud forest of Monteverde – Green Mountain in Spanish—emerald-colored under its shroud of fog. The gem of Monteverde’s rich ecosystem is the endangered Resplendent Quetzal, famous for its vibrant green feathers and its ruby belly. Although this unique bird may prove elusive, Monteverde’s thick forests hide other treasures. Plenty of outdoor Costa Rica adventures are offered both in and around Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, one of the world’s most beloved ecotourism destinations.

The Most Popular Reserve

monteverdeMonteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is the most popular attraction in the area. Within the Reserve, several kilometers of marked and well-maintained hiking trails take you through a variety of landscapes. Swamp forests, deeply-cut rivers, ponds, and waterfalls abound. The vegetation, luxuriant thanks to cloud moisture condensing on the high leaves and constantly dripping to the ground, is extremely rich: 2,500 types of plants including 450 types of orchids grow here. The trees and the ground are covered in bromeliads, vines, mosses, ferns, and orchids. The fauna is equally exceptional, with 400 species of birds including 30 types of hummingbirds, monkeys, sloths, jaguars, ocelots, agoutis, and Baird’s tapirs. Night tours available in the park are great opportunities to sight nocturnal animals such as porcupines, snakes, tree frogs, and tarantulas. If the Monteverde Reserve is too crowded, Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, just north of the village of Santa Elena, also has great hiking trails in a very similar cloud forest ecosystem. Culminating at 1,680 m above sea level, the Reserve is administered by the community of Santa Elena. Try to spot a spider monkey, a species that you won’t be able to see at the Monteverde Reserve.

Adventure in Santa Elena

adventure

Those that do not wish to keep their feet on the ground can try one of the multiple canopy or canyoneering tours offered in the area. Most of them are just outside the Santa Elena Reserve. Catch a bird’s eye view of the cloud forest thanks to platforms up trees, zip-lines, and suspended bridges. The most popular canopy tour companies include Sky Trek, Selvatura Park and Original Canopy Tour. While Sky Trek has the longest zip line (770 m!), with Original Canopy Tour, you will reach the first platform by climbing up the inside of a giant strangler fig tree. For more excitement, try the Finca Modelo Canyoneering Tour, which takes you rappelling down forest waterfalls, the highest of which is 39 m, and hiking through the cloud forest. While waterfall rappelling is not for the faint of heart, most people in good physical condition will have no problem and safety is taken very seriously.

Excitement in Monteverde

zip-lineAs a genuine internationally-acclaimed destination, the Monteverde area is filled with a variety of attractions and hotels. Whether you are interested in the slithery, the exquisite, or the cultural, take your pick from butterfly, hummingbird, frog, toad and snake gardens, terrariums filled with a wide variety of local insects, bat exhibits, orchid displays, botanical gardens, coffee and sugar cane plantation tours, art galleries, or a cheese factory founded by Quaker settlers in the fifties. Accommodation options and restaurants are also numerous and varied, from the inexpensive pensions and sodas to luxurious hotels offering room service. Monteverde, Costa Rica is truly a first-rate sustainable tourism destination that will excite any nature-lover.