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Monteverde

Monteverde

One of the most visited places in Costa Rica is Monteverde in Puntarenas. Monteverde is home to one of the rarest and most unique habitats on the planet, the cloud forest and an astonishing variety of flora and fauna. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is different from other forests in Costa Rica, with a constant mist that looks like clouds and gives the name to this area. The high humidity in this place, at 1,600 meters above sea level, creates the fog and provides a cloud cover.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Eight different biological zones are distinguished in this moisture-rich environment, home to thousands of animal and plant species on its 26,000 acres. The reserve is a paradise for bird lovers, with more than 500 species; don’t forget your binoculars to admire the elusive Quetzal, whose green plumage contrasts nicely with its red chest and belly, the blue-throated toucan, and the bell bird. Look out for the endangered cougars, monkeys and jaguars, as well as the red-eyed tree frog that serves as a Costa Rican icon, you know, Javi the Frog. If you are lucky, you can also find the golden toad, known to live alone in this forest; although some think it may be extinct. Along with the abundant wildlife, the cloud forest offers 420 species of orchids and 200 species of ferns. If you find the Monteverde cloud forest crowded with visitors, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is your least known neighbor and offers the same experience. Similar wildlife species are also found here, including the spider monkey and the lazy bear.

Canopy and hiking tours

The Monteverde cloud forest offers 13 km of well-maintained trails that make a great day hike. One of the most exciting ways to see the cloud forests in the area is through a canopy tour. The forests stretch over the continental divide, and a canopy tour offers breathtaking views. The longest cable is 770 meters, so you will have plenty of time to enjoy its surroundings and the wonders of the forest. If your adventurous spirit does not include this type of adventure in the air, you can still enjoy incredible views with the aerial section or suspension bridges, which extends through canyons and connects with trails, offering you the same canopy experience.

Monteverde butterfly garden

Along with the wide variety of wildlife and plants in Costa Rica, you will also find abundant insects. Monteverde offers one of the country’s many butterfly farms, displaying butterflies in an incredible variety of colors and patterns. Visit the Monteverde farm to see the striking black and yellow thoas swallowtail, the long-winged zebra with black and white stripes, the bright blue morpho butterfly, and the crystal butterfly, known for its translucent wings.

A little history

Monteverde is a more rural town than a city, although it offers some amenities. Your best option for services like gas is to stop at nearby Santa Elena, which offers a bank, pharmacy, restaurants, shops and internet cafes. The Monteverde area has several dairy farms, which produce some delicious cheeses. Dairy farms were established by Quakers who migrated from the United States to Costa Rica to avoid World War II. Quakers were instrumental in developing Monteverde and preserving the cloud forest.

How to get to Monteverde?

Monteverde is about 150 km northwest of San José. It belongs to the Cordillera de Tilarán and its climate is cold due to the height, so it is recommended to bring warm clothing, protection against cold and rain. When you visit the area, you will realize why its name. As you travel to this small town, be sure to stop and admire the view of its green hills and communities that stretch all the way.

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