The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is an attraction that Costa Rica visitors are encouraged to include on their vacation itineraries. A well-maintained wonderland, this reserve near the town of Monteverde features clearly marked trails that wind their way through some of the most magical terrain in the country.
The cloud forest at Monteverde is truly a splendid place. As its name implies, the mountaintop forest area is heavily shrouded in clouds. These clouds are formed when warm air off the ocean moves inland and cools in the higher mountain areas. Large amounts of moisture are created in the process, and this moisture helps sustain more than 2,000 different types of plants and animals. The biodiversity is simply amazing.
One of the things that the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is best known for is its high orchid count. More than 400 different types of this beautiful flower have been documented in the misty environs. As for the Monteverde Cloud Forest animals, the quetzal is arguably the most renowned. This elusive bird is among the most beautiful birds on the planet. The males are particularly attractive, thanks in part to their long tail feathers. February through April is the best time to see quetzals in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and most sightings occur in the morning hours. As such, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve visitors might interest themselves in park’s early morning birdwatching tours.
Poison dart frogs, agoutis, jaguars, tapirs, sloths and howler monkeys are among the many other Monteverde Cloud Forest animals. The guides that lead tours through the reserve can be helpful when it comes to spotting the resident creatures, though there are no guarantees as to what will be seen on these tours. For those who prefer going it alone, that is an option as well. The entrance fee is good for the whole day, so there is plenty of time to explore. As for the hours of operation, the reserve is open daily from 7 am to 4 pm. Optional group tours that last approximately two-and-a-half hours are included in the fees for those who wish to take advantage.
Dressing properly can help you enjoy your tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. While much of Costa Rica is tropical, especially down at the beaches, this mountain area is usually quite cool and misty. It can also be windy at times, which can make it feel even cooler. Unprepared visitors have been known to get chilled to the bone because they just don't have the proper clothing. A waterproof jacket can certainly go a long way here, and better yet if you have a hat and some pants that are also waterproof, or at least water repellent. Finally, a good pair of waterproof shoes or boots are recommended to keep your feet dry and cozy.