The Monteverde (map) area is an ecological paradise in Costa Rica, located not too far away from Volcan Arenal. This mountainous area encompasses a large swathe of tropical rainforest. As it is at an altitude of more than a thousand meters, the forest captures the moisture in clouds that blow in from both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. As a consequence, the humidity level is often at an incredible 100%. When the clouds roll in, it envelops the forest in a soft mist, giving it an ethereal feel, hence the term ‘cloud forest’. This natural phenomenon results in a unique flora that is truly worth exploring.
There are two reserves: the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (private-owned, non-profit) and the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve (state-owned, non-profit). From the latter, visitors have spectacular views of the Volcan Arenal, located about 20 kilometers away. Guided walks through the reserves offer fascinating insights into the plant- and wildlife that include innumerable types of orchids, insects (including moths and butterflies), birds (among others the resplendent quetzal and more than 30 species of hummingbirds) and mammals.
Canopy walk in Monteverde
A must-do in the area is a canopy walk (Sky Walk) that is both thrilling and educative. Suspended up to 60 meters in the cloud forest canopy, suspension bridges provide a close-up view of the realm of colourful birds, extraordinary insects, splendid ferns and magnificent wild orchids. Another more thrilling way to observe the cloud forest canopy is the Sky Trek. The Sky Trek consists of a network of trails, suspension bridges and zip lines. Visitors hook up on a line and literally glide through the forest!
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