The Splendor of Monteverde Cloud Forest

What makes Monteverde Cloud Forest different from any other rainforest in Costa Rica?  According to Merriam-Webster, a cloud is a visible mass of particles of condensed vapor suspended in the atmosphere. At elevations of 1,600 meters above sea level, the moisture catches around the branches of the tallest trees at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. This harbors an ecosystem below that contains 2.5 percent of the world’s biodiversity. There are over 400 species of birds found here, including almost 30 species of hummingbirds and the exquisite quetzal. More than 100 species of mammals live in the park, including howler and capuchin monkeys, all five species of cats, deer, tapir and sloths. There’s a total of 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles, including both venomous and non-venomous snakes, frogs and toads. There’s no question that Monteverde Cloud Forest is a nature lover’s paradise!

Hanging bridge at Monteverde overlooking the cloud forest

AN INTERESTING PAST

In the early 1950’s there was a group of Quakers who left their homes in Alabama, U.S.A. to avoid being drafted in the Korean War. They arrived in Monteverde when the area was just beginning to settle and established a simple life there centered on dairy and cheese products. Some of the families helped form the Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves twenty years later. Then, in 1972, the Monteverde rainforest was threatened when local farmers wanted to expand their property and homestead on certain sites of the forest. As a result, the Tropical Science Center accepted responsibility for ownership and management of protected areas, creating the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve from an initial land purchase of 810 acres (328 hectares).

The blue morpho is one of fifty species of butterflies found in the fourMonteverde Butterfly Gardens.

The quetzal may be the most exquisite of the more than 400 species of birds at Monteverde

The Center continued to secure the necessary financial and human resources to expand, consolidate and protect the preserve’s current size of almost 26,000 acres (10,500 hectares). To this day, the Tropical Science Center manages the trails and also limits the amount of visitors. The grandiose biodiversity found in Monteverde makes it one of the most exceptional refuges in the universe.

BREATHTAKING VIEWS

Monteverde Cloud Forest is a nature lover`s and adventurer`s dream

A ziplining tour is an excellent choice for breath- taking views

Exploring the reserve of Monteverde Cloud Forest will be determined by the choices you have available. There is a network of well-maintained trails in the reserve that stretch across 13 kilometers of the forest, ideal for day trips. You may decide to take a skywalk, a zip-line or canopy tour to experience the forest’s scenic views. A canopy tour, for the more adventurous, involves a series of bridges and cables that offer a “bird’s eye view” of the forest.

This tour is offered at a nearby forest, not in the reserve itself. Whatever option you decide on, you will have a personal understanding afterwards of why the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is considered to be one of the most breathtaking nature reserves in existence.

GETTING THERE

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. To get to Santa Elena from Liberia, head south along the Pan-American Highway until the turnoff for Highway 145, about 70 miles (112 km) for the trip total.

The white faced capuchin monkey is one of over a hundred species of mammals found at Monteverde Cloud Forest

From San Jose, head northwest along the Pan-American Highway until the intersection with Hwy 145; Santa Elena is 96 miles (155 km) from the capital city. The town of Santa Elena borders the reserve and has many restaurant and lodging options. Check out this website for more information.

Monteverde Biological Reseve