Monteverde Costa Rica
You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world, but really, you’ve reached the central point of the nation’s continental divide. In Monteverde, Costa Rica, the sun-kissed faces of beach dwelling locals are replaced by the warm smiles of farmers, artists, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts—particularly in the small yet pleasant town of Santa Elena.
Situated at 4,662 ft (1,440 m) above sea level, Monteverde, Costa Rica is a lot like the United States’ Pacific Northwest region — evergreen due to the precipitation and moisture-filled clouds which hover over the horizon on an almost daily basis. Monteverde’s cloud forests are the byproduct of fog (a thick, low-hanging cloud) tangling amongst the leaves and branches of the forest canopy. When these water-based clouds come into contact with solid plant material, the plant absorbs what it needs and the remaining water condenses and drips down — layer by layer, organism by organism — until it reaches the forest floor.
This natural ‘waterwheel’ is what maintains Costa Rica’s impressive ecosystem; within the cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica you’ll find:
– Tens of thousands of diverse insects.
– 2,500 species of plants (420 are strictly orchids).
– 400 varieties of birds.
– Over 100 types of mammals.
There is more than one way to enjoy the beauty of Costa Rica’s cloud forests, so whatever your energy level or ability, you won’t find yourself excluded from this experience. Hike down forest trails; choose a canopy tour with a suspension bridge; or take aerial photographs from the vantage point of a sky tram — there is an option for you. Allergies preventing you from spending too much time outdoors? Don’t worry, you can still experience this miraculous environment from a variety of indoor museums and gardens.
- Information booth
- Public phones
- Sanitary services
- Drinking water
- Showers and restrooms.
- sectors, upon reservation
For those who have enough time, the Monteverde Conservation Association operates a wonderful nature trail in the forest, just below the rainforest. Here you can find some species of birds from the lower dry forest. The trail is called “Sendero Bajo del Tigre”.
The Colibrís Gallery
You will find several species of hummingbirds which are attracted to feeders. This gives a great photo opportunity. There is also a small shop in the Gallery where you can buy souvenirs and where the work of the well known British photographer Michael Fodgen can be seen and is available for sale. Behind the Galería de Colibrís there are trails, which can be walked without a guide.
The Quaqueros cheese factory
In this factory, founded some 40 years ago by Costa Ricans and a dairy family from Quaqueros, you can watch the cheese being made behind an observation window. There is also a shop where factory-made products are sold. The factory is very well known for making the best dairy products in Costa Rica.
Here you can see the variety of kinds of reptiles found in this region of Costa Rica.
SCHEDULE: Daily 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Butterfly Garden
Here you can see the various types of butterflies in Costa Rica. There is an entrance fee, but you can come back as many times as you want the same day.
SCHEDULE: Daily 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
This farm has elevations of 12 meters and is a steep ride by car or motorcycle. Along the way there is also an ecological farm where you can see animals such as monkeys, sloths, armadillos, and birds. There is an entrance fee.
Bajo del Tigre Trail
100 meters just past CASEM at an elevation of 10 meters, this site attracts visitors due to the scenery and the 2/3 km of walking trails available. These trails are part of the “Children International Rain Forest”. Visitors are asked for a voluntary donation as an entrance fee.
Santa Elena Reserve
This reserve was opened by a group of Canadian students (volunteers). The owner of the reserve is the Colegio de Santa Elena. All proceeds from the reserve are used to help and support the education of the youth of Santa Elena. The trails of this reserve are more natural and difficult to walk than those of the MONTEVERDE RESERVE.
Daily 7:30am – 4:30pm
Sunday 7:30 am – 12:30 pm
• Nationals and residents: $8
• Non-resident foreigners: $25