When’s the last time you heard the clucking of a toucan or were woken up by the deep grunts of a howler monkey. Maybe you’ve never been to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve? Hmmm. It might be time for you to make the move.
Sitting on top of the backbone of Costa Rica’s continental divide, Monteverde is perched high above the small coastal towns that dot the country’s famous shoreline. The community of Santa Elena borders the Monteverde Conservation Area. Within this region, you can explore forests and coffee plantations, monkeys and even stranger critters that you may never have met. The town is quaint and quiet, filled with family restaurants and colorful shops boasting local artwork. The traveling backpacker will find this part of Costa Rica remarkable with many places to hang their hammock. If you’re traveling with someone who needs room service, they can serve your needs there, as well.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Information
A cloud forest is a high-elevation forest characterized by a persistent, canopy-level cloud cover. These clouds give the forest a continual supply of moisture, which supports the rich array of plants that live here. Due to this high altitude, 4,662 ft above sea level, Monteverde receives a steady supply of clouds and their life-giving moisture. This helps to support a complex and far-reaching ecosystem that harbors over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species, and over 2,500 varieties of plants, 420 of which are orchids.
Visitors can explore this internationally recognized environment from trails and trams, along canopy tours or inside museums. Plan on spending at least a few days to adventure through this verdant and mountainous world. Hotels, cabins, and campsites are sprinkled all over the mountain and buses and vans run to the park entrance daily.
Shuttle can pick visitors up at their hotel or campsite and take them to and from the reserve. The shuttle costs $2 each way and requires reservations. Guests can make reservations by calling 2645-6332. Shuttles leave at 6:30 AM, 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM. They return at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM. The trails are open from 7 AM to 4 PM daily and three-hour guided tours are available. There is a restaurant and souvenir shop at the entrance and park opportunities for both volunteering and researching.
Let’s be sure you understand. Costa Rica is not like Nicaragua or Honduras or anywhere else in Central America. If those places are Hazard County, Costa Rica is Disney World. If you’re looking for a rugged Central American vacation experience, then maybe you should visit Panama or El Salvador because Costa Rica will be too fancy for you. They long ago figured out what they have down there and that people will pay to visit an undisturbed tropical rainforest. For sake of Job, every hotel and bed and breakfast has it’s own nature trail.
Once you’ve had your fill of the unparalleled scenic beauty of Monteverde, chase the rainbow down the mountain and go west until you find Playa Tamarindo. There you’ll find great surfing, lazy coconut palms, and all the guaro you can drink. What’s guaro you say? Maybe that’s something you need to find out for yourself.