Discover the Enchanting Monteverde Cloud Forest: Top Travel Guide

by Jane Sophia
Cloud Forest

Have you ever visited Monteverde Cloud Forest?

At the outset, let me tell you what a cloud forest is?

A cloud forest is one in which, thick, and dark clouds always linger, making the forest moist, and difficult to navigate on foot.

Generally, cloud forests are reported only on tropical islands and a few tropical countries.

I have heard about cloud forests in Sri Lanka, and Malaysian island of Borneo, in some Central, and South American countries, and on some Indonesian Islands.

Today, I am again taking you to my new-found love, the Central American country of Costa Rica.

There are a few cloud forests reserve in the Monteverde region in Costa Rica.

Are cloud forests and rainforests the same?

Well, almost same. The only difference is the altitude. Clouds always hover over the canopy in forests that are situated on elevated plateau.

They can be seen at altitudes above 3000 feet and up to 8000 feet.

Another difference is, the rain, that pours more in cloud forests than in rainforests that occupy lowland areas.


In some countries, cloud forests are called Montane forests, mossy forests, and elfin forests depending on the flora and other ecological influences on the geography.

Let us enter them.

Where is Monteverde?

It is part of a Costa Rican province of Puntarenas, on the western side of the country, facing the Pacific Ocean.

You can see Monteverde at the top of the Gulf of Nicoya.

The nearest city to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is, Santa Elena.

How to Reach Monteverde:

You can fly up to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. You can cover the 150 km distance to Santa Elena either by bus or by hiring a cab from San Jose.

From Santa Elena, the cloud forest reserve is only 5.4 km south.

Buses and taxis ply between Santa Elena, and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Ten minutes is the driving duration.

Where can you stay?

Accommodations are available in Santa Elena, and in Monteverde town.

Alternatively, you can stay in another small town known as Cerro Plano.

Discover the Enchanting Monteverde Cloud Forest

  1. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Walking Trails:

Hiking through a cloud forest located over 5000 feet altitude is a dream for passionate hikers, and wildlife enthusiasts.

I believe one can choose anyone of the 6 hiking trails.


The birds of Costa Rica attract many wildlife enthusiasts from every part of the world. Over 400 species of birds have been spotted and recorded.

Here are some examples:

  • Green-crowned Brilliant

A humming bird that is named, ‘Brilliant’ is surprising.

  • Three-wattled Bellbird

One can see several species of marsupials, bats, and primates.

The range of birds and animals in Monteverde cloud forest is quite diverse and vast. You must go into the forest only with an experienced guide, to see the wildlife.

  • Canopy walk on a suspension bridge

It will be a thrilling experience to walk on the suspension bridge. The jungle’s thickness can be clearly realized.

  • Butterfly garden

A butterfly garden inside such a dark, and thick, cloud forest can consist of diverse butterfly species.

  • Frog Pond

I know very few people will be interested. Who will have patience to see frogs that may mostly remain underwater during the daytime?

Apart from this wildlife, one can get to see numerous snakes in a serpentarium. In addition, a bat forest can draw some visitors.

  • Adventure activities include a zipiline and riding on horseback.

Forest Lodge:

Around 50 people can choose to stay in the forest lodge. They can avail the opportunity for night trekking in the cloud forest.

The lodge is attached with a restaurant, and a souvenir shop.

  1. Santa Elena Cloud Forest

The cloud forest in Santa Elena city is smaller than its counterpart in Monteverde.

Clouds, dark, and pregnant with copious rain hover over the trees. It is much quitter here, and hence one can hear the real silence of a cloud forest.

The same wildlife that you can see anywhere in Costa Rica, can also be seen here.

Watching myriad insects of scary shapes, hairy legs, and weird looking eyes, and colors, spotting and identifying birds, bats, and butterflies are the more things to do in Santa Elena Cloud Forest.

  1. Children’s Eternal Rainforest.

Wow! The tour in an open jeep and on foot exposes you to incredible trees, and plant species.

Did you notice a crocodile, a primate, and the three-wattled Bellbird?

I saw a lovely hidden waterfall. Waterfalls amidst such a dense forest are a spectacular sight!

True to the name, it was raining inside the eternal rainforest. Will it really rain eternally?

I think, the Costa Rica Government has maintained the reserve very well. Even a watch tower was erected using forest materials.

I read this highly protected forest, and the water bodies are funded by hundreds of schools across the world. It’s a commendable act.

The children’s eternal rainforest reserve comprises a mind-boggling 54,000 acres!

The star attraction here is the bare-necked Umbrellabird.

I could not detect any indication of an umbrella.

Do you know this rainforest’s flora consists of the largest number of orchids?

Pre-trodden trails are plenty. Moreover, you are free to explore the rainforest on your own but with a guide. Without a guide, you will get lost within the sprawling rainforest.

More forests to see in Monteverde.

  1. Selvatura Cloud Forest, and Adventure Park

Activities include a very long canopy walk on a suspended bridge, zip lining, and safari in a closed van,

The canopy tour over a zip line that lasts a little more than a minute is terrific.Selvatura

See how close you ride through the trees in the cloud forest below.

But, will the riders really enjoy the view as their mind will be more occupied in reaching the destination safely?

You walk on the bridge for nearly 3 km at a height as high as 560 feet! OMG! Can you look down as you walk?

This video also takes you through a butterfly park enclosure. I saw a butterfly with a brilliant blue color.

  1. Bird watching in Curi-Cancha biological reserve

Finally, you get a chance to spot at least a dozen of the famous Costa Rican birds.

Animals are also spotted in the reserve, such as the Capuchin Monkey, a rare primate species.

A weekend trip to Monteverde Cloud Forests is definitely worth undertaking.


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