Located in the Cordillera de Tilarán just four hours away off Costa Rica’s Central Valley, Monteverde is one of the top ecotourism destinations the world over. It houses the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve–one of the most spectacular wildlife sanctuary and nature reserve in the world. It is actually home to some of the most endangered species in the planet.
Founded by George and Harriet Powell in 1972, this 328-hectare cloud forest reserve has now grown and stretched its boundaries to more than 10,500 hectares. Its elevation is from 600 meters to 1800 meters above sea level in some isolated areas. It currently houses about 2,000 plant & tree species, 400 bird species, 100 species of mammals and around 1,200 amphibians and reptiles as well as hundreds of unique fern and orchid species.
But first of all..
What is a Cloud Forest?
A cloud forest is placed in a higher altitude but receives less rain as compared to rainforests. It is more humid caused by thick clouds covering the forest. This environment makes the forest more moist and misty thus allowing a tremendous amount of vegetation.
Why Create A Cloud Forest Reserve?
The community of Monteverde’s small village wanted to preserve the natural beauty of the vast and breath-taking cloud forest and all the living things habiting it. They as well thought of using tourism to further furnish and conserve the wildlife and sanctuary that this cloud forest possesses.
What’s In the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve?
The overwhelming and extensive biodiversity, vegetation and animal population make the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve an acclaimed world-wide nature refuge.
Tourists are already greeted by a sea of green trees and plants, varying in species, shades, shapes and sizes as soon as they enter the reserve. If you’re lucky enough, you will witness an unfolding of flaura and fauna right before your eyes. The muddy trails that lead guests deeper into the forest are long forgotten once they’ve explored this marvelous natural sanctuary.
Birds are one of the main attractions in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve as a lot of them would migrate there and a variety of species are for everyone to see alive and freely hovering. Some of the famed birds found in the cloud forest are the bare-necked umbrella birds, the endangered Bellbird, quetzals and over 30 species of hummingbirds.
Howler & capuchin monkeys, five feline species, venomous and non-venomous snakes and toads to name very few, consider the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve home. Nadkarni or otherwise known as the singing mice, mountain lions, white-tailed deers, marsupials and many other mammal and reptile species live in the cloud forest as well.
It takes one to enter into this outstanding reserve to truly appreciate all that inhabit it.
What’s there to do in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve?
Both private and public tours are available for all nature lovers or first-time nature explorers alike. Considering the size of the reserve, hanging bridges and trails are good for hiking and sight-seeing. There is even a special private birding tour if you’re interested in learning more about the species of these famous flying species.
Besides the biodiversity of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, this reserve is also a household name for cheese. The Monteverde Cheese Factory is just around the corner where you have 14 types of cheese to choose from.
It’s safe to say it takes more than a day to let everything there is to see and know about this Costa Rican cloud forest sink in. A startling haven for all that is living and natural, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve promises a journey that will make you one with nature–at a whole new level.
Buses depart from San Jose in the old Puntaneras bus stop at 6:30AM and 2:30PM. It will take you about 4.5 hours to get there.
Buses from La Fortuna leave at 8:00AM going to Tilaran. From there, you can take another bus going to Monteverde.
Take the Pan-American Highway which will take you all the way through Alajuela . Simply follow the signs that will lead you to Monteverde.
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