Monteverde Costa Rica
Monteverde is the name of a spectacular area in Costa Rica, that is northwest of the capitol and home to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. A cloud forest is a specific type of rainforest that is only found in the mountains. The humidity is often 100%, so that clouds that cover the trees deposit their moisture directly onto the vegetation. Monteverde, which means green mountain in Spanish, is so aptly named for the constant supply of light mist created by the ever-present clouds causes the leaves to drip water. This source of secondary precipitation is a source of life for epiphytes, which are plants that grow on other plants. Mosses, ferns, and 450 types orchids are some of the over 800 species of epiphytes that live in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Monteverde has only begun to gain interest in the past 20 years with scientists who study the forest and the tourists who follow them, so this is an area that is still relatively new to economic development. The Cloud forest has become central to the economic well being of the area. Since it is one of the many protected Costa Rica biological reserves, the tour guides and other employees of Monteverde Cloud Forest depend on it for their livelihood.
The Monteverde Skywalk is a series of bridges and platforms that allow the visitor to explore the canopy in a way that is safer and less nerve wracking than Costa Rica canopy tours, which often involve flying through the forest at high speeds hundreds of feet above the rainforest floor on a zip line.
While there is no proper town in the cloud forest, over 60 gift ships, restaurants, and hotels can be found around the Monteverde, Costa Rica area, which refers to the area to the west and north of the Monteverde Cloud forest. Many eco lodges and Monteverde hotels can also be found along the road to Santa Elena to the north.
Approximately 7 miles northeast of the Monteverde, Costa Rica is the town of Santa Elena, which boasts its own reserve. The Santa Elena reserve is only about 3 miles north of the city, and has 7 miles of spectacular hiking within its 900 acres. The walk to the reserve from Santa Elena takes an hour when traveling at a brisk pace. Santa Elena has a post office, bank, police station, and a supermarket. Cerro Plano is a plateau that lies between Santa Elena and Monteverde, and home to the Cheese factory. The area around the Monteverde Cloud Forest was settled in 1951 when a group of Quakers who objected to the draft moved here.
Whether you'd like to experience the Monteverde Skywalk or simply enjoy the beauty of the rainforest on a long relaxed hike from your Eco-lodge, the Monteverde Cloud forest is something every visitor to Costa Rica should experience.
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