Imagine walking through the clouds thousands of feet above sea level. At the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, you can embrace the misty atmosphere, which serves as one of the most coveted ecotourism destinations
in Costa Rica. The reserve encompasses a 26,000 acre biozone, brimming with a marvelous diversity of wildlife and plant life. There's no question that Monteverde Cloud Forest is truly a nature lover's paradise.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is located in the northern part of the Puntarenas province
on the Continental Divide. It is six kilometers east of the town of Santa Elena
and around 150 kilometers from San Jose
. Without a doubt, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is one of the most breathtaking nature reserves in the entire world.
A True Cloud Forest
Shrouded in a unique misty cover, this biological reserve sets itself apart from the other rainforests of Costa Rica
. What we call clouds are actually mist produced by the high humidity at the elevation of 1,600 meters above sea level. The moisture catches around the branches of the tallest trees, harboring a thriving ecosystem below. As a matter of fact, while the entire country of Costa Rica represents 0.03 percent of landmass on the planet, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve alone houses 2.5 percent of the world's biodiversity.
Stunning Flora and Fauna
Extending across eight distinct biological zones, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to more than thousands of species of plants and animals. Look toward the top of the giant trees where more than 500 species of birds live. The most popular birds in this region are the elusive queztal and the three-wattled bellbird. Discover the flora and fauna
, including jaguars, toucanets, pumas, monkeys and the red-eyed tree frogs that have come to serve as the poster-animal for Costa Rica! There are also 420 species of orchids and 200 species of ferns. When exploring the forest you will be sure to encounter a variety of these spectacular wildlife.
You might even catch a glimpse at the golden toad, a toad species only known to exist here in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
Step foot on the Continental Divide, where one foot will be on the Caribbean side and other on the Pacific side. With views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, this reserve is filled with a huge array of lofty and soaring trees laden with remarkable epiphyte plants.
Discovering the Forest
For visitors, there are a handful of ways to explore the reserve. First, you can take advantage of the network of trails in the reserve that stretch across 13 kilometers of the forest. The trails are well-maintained and perfect for day trips. Visitors also enjoy the scenic vistas from "La Ventana" overlook, boasting mountain peaks along the Continental Divide. Another great way to explore the forest is to take a skywalk or a zip-line tour or canopy tour, where visitors can experience the forest from a series of bridges and cables that offer a bird's eye view of the forest. This tour is offered at a nearby forest and not in the actual reserve. With such a lofty altitude, this region is not for the faint-hearted.