Everything drips. The mist is cool, calm, and heavy, dampening our faces with each step. This is what it’s like to discover Monteverde Costa Rica, cloud Forest in the heart of Costa Rica.
The sky overhead is long gone. The horizon is a distant memory. All-round us, the woodland fades inside and outside as thick, sparkling mist ebbs and flows.
Huge gnarled bushes come into view, descending to the ground degree to become large roots I couldn’t get my hands around, snaking across the woodland ground like deep-sea cables.
We’re in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, at the Sendero Del Rio trail. Every surface is wet, damp and slippery, and most are lined in thick green moss, decades in the making.
The mist suggests no signs and symptoms of burning away, despite the fact that the solar is getting better inside the sky. I ought to remind myself why. We’re almost 2 kilometers above sea stage – and this isn’t mist, they’re clouds.
Hiking In The Clouds
Costa Rica is famously loaded with animal and plant life, due to its role on a land-bridge between big continents and because of its tropical climate. However, Monteverde turns it as much as eleven. Across 10,500 hectares of what was unique Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in 1972, the biodiversity is insane.
On a quick walk like the one, my buddy Maria and I are taking; it’s feasible to peer lots of species of plant life (500 one of a kind kinds of orchids alone), masses of sorts of birds (inclusive of the famous Resplendent Quetzal), monkeys, and some of the most eldritch and maximum wonderful-looking insects within the whole world.
Monteverde is nicely named (it method inexperienced mountain) – and for the reason that the 1960s, biologists from around the world had been transfixed by this top-notch ecology, showing unrivaled natural splendor and variety.
It was created by using a group of Quakers who fled the USA to avoid the Army draft.
The use of violence for political motives clashed with their ethical code & perception system, and Costa Rica had abolished its military – and this quiet, lush nook of the country was perfect for them.
For the first ten years, the best visitors had been scientists and cook-watchers.
Today it gets around 70,000 visitors per year – however, we visited earlier than the wet season kicks in, and there’s hardly absolutely everyone about.
With a bit of luck, the silence would possibly coax a number of the larger animals out — monkeys are what we’re genuinely hoping to see!
Don’t Feed The Kitties on Monteverde Cloud Forest
However, there are 6 different varieties of cats that stay here too. Jaguars & Pumas are the largest. I reassure my pal Maria, who’s traveling from New Hampshire that large cats don’t hunt humans on Sundays – and we both hold nervously via the trees.
Many of the paths in Monteverde are raised on walkways made of concrete blocks or wood. They’ve been built like this to support the recognition of the park – and, of course, to preserve your feet dry.
Now and again, we discover paw-prints inside the mud. Each track is set as huge as a closed fist.
I wonder how rapid those big cats move. Then I wonder how fast we move.
The motive we haven’t seen any monkeys is due to the fact these sizable cats have eaten them all. OK, why are we wandering alone via this woodland again?
Beautiful Costa Rican Wilderness
Alas. After hours of trekking via wild-kitty territory, deep inside the drifting mists of Monteverde, and with rain clouds shifting in, we decide to abandon our quest and move home now not having seen a monkey.
With the rain dropping down, we explored the relaxation of the park on our meandering way again to the main entrance. One colossal highlight changed into a fantastic 300ft tall cover suspension bridge via the clouds.
While the reserve needed much visible mammal wildlife for our go-to, the plant & insect range changed into excellent. I assure you’ve never had anything like this.
This part of Costa Rica is a relief for the senses & souls. It’s a beautiful, meditative manner to spend a morning.
Here and there, splashes of coloration too: a blue hen glimpsed because it darts past, a bright purple mushroom pokes out of the branch-strewn soft forest ground.
Best Time To Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest
Weather in Monteverde is typically cool and wet being so excessive inside the mountains. Technically speaking, healthy may be the rainy season in Costa Rica, and a downpour is usually a possibility.
March and April are the hottest, driest months – although its high elevation means that Monteverde is usually going to be cooler and wetter than average.
However, if you want to bypass the crowds and see Monteverde as nature intended, the pleasant time to go is on the top of the dry season, while it’s still first-rate sufficient to head for a stroll, and all the vacationers have long gone home.
How To Get There
From San José to Monteverde is by bus via Transmonteverde for about $6.
From Juan Santamaria Airport in Alajuela, the excellent location to catch the Monteverde Costa Rica bus is to take a taxi to the Villa Bonita bus station. Otherwise, you’ll need to go into the city center.
If you’re coming from the north (perhaps from the Nicaraguan border), there are plentiful bus alternatives from Liberia. The quickest course is to take three buses: Liberia to Canas, Canas to Tilaran, and Tilaran to Monteverde.
However, the most adventurous way to get there may be to lease a vehicle and drive (Costa Rican roads can be a piece scary). From San Jose, the trip to Monteverde takes about four hours.
Where To Stay- Monteverde Cloud Forest
For sheer convenience, the beautiful area to live needs to be inside the nearby village of Santa Elena, around 5km from the entrance to the cloud wooded area itself. We selected the outstanding Cabinas Vista Al Golfo.
If you’re wondering about which to stay near Monteverde, here are my recommendations:
Casa Tranquilo Hostel
Friendly staff, beautiful place, and relaxed atmosphere. This hostel is an excellent base to discover the Monteverde area.
Excellent kitchen, warm showers & not a party hotel. Owned by an amicable couple who likes to reveal guests around.
Cabinas Vista Al Golfo
Tasty breakfast, close to the supermarket, and feels a bit like staying in a treehouse.
Camino Verde B&B
Amazing deck views from above the bushes! Clean, snug, and outstanding value.
Monteverde Costa Rica Tips
- Take the bus into Monteverde from Santa Elena as early as possible. The reserve usually opens at 7 am and closes at 4 pm. It’s your satisfactory bet for warding off other tourists if you need to revel in the silence of the cloud wooded area.
- The entry cost to Monteverde Costa Rica is $20 at the time of writing – you can give in USD or the equivalent in Colones, and also by credit card.
- Monteverde is an incredibly moist and humid location. It can smash havoc on cameras. I endorse taking some silica gel packs and a huge plastic bag to assist dry your gear out afterward.
- Zipline tours are very famous in Monteverde and Costa Rica in general. Flying through the cloud wooded area high above the cover is a notable adrenaline rush!
- If you like butterflies, make sure to stop in on the Monteverde Butterfly Garden to peer over 30 unique types, as properly as a set of spiders that call Costa Rica home.
No experience to Monteverde Costa Rica is complete without a stop at Monteverde Cloud Forest, as you may see, there’s a good reason why it’s one of all Costa Rica’s most famous natural attractions! It’s one of the best places for travelers.