Costa Rica is known for many things, one of those is its flora and fauna diversity. Monteverde National Park is one of the best places to see this in the country. Easy to access, and less than 60 miles from San Jose, it is the ideal distance for a long weekend or a short break away from the city.

 

Foggy Bridge

Foggy Bridge


 

Monteverde is found on the continental divide of Costa Rica’s spine. Its high altitude – some 1,440m above sea level – means it receives a steady supply of clouds. The moisture that the clouds contain, usually in the form of fog, is caught on the branches of the tallest trees from where it drips down to other organisms below, allowing for a complex ecosystem to be supported. The area houses 400 orchids, thousands of insect species and plants, 100 mammal species and 400 species of birds.

The area is home to two cloud forest reserves: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, established in 1972, has extended its protective reach since being founded and now covers an area of over 35,000 acres. All six species of the cat family -jaguar, ocelot, puma, oncilla, margay and jaguarundi – can be found here as well as some endangered species of bird – the three-wattled bellbird and resplendent quetzal.

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve was established later in 1989 and is directly controlled by the local community, rather than the government. Similar in regards to the animal and plants it has, there is also the addition of spider monkeys. Boasting many trails, this is a reserve smaller in area to Monteverde Reserve but enjoyable for visitors who wish to see the delights with a guide or alone. The Arenal Volcano can be seen from an observation tower on clear days to add an extra buzz to the visit.

Canopy tours, tails, aerial tram and local museums are a great way for visitors to enjoy exploring this diverse environment. The butterfly farm is very popular amongst children, however the more adventurous traveller can also enjoy zip-lining and horseback riding. Usually, people recommend to have a few days spare to stay here due to the numerous activities on offer.

Numerous hotels and lodges and campsites can be found in the settlements of Santa Elena and Monteverde, including some which are located just a few minutes walk from Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve itself.

Reaching Monteverde is fairly simple. Buses leave from San José and Punatrenas twice daily, with either journey lasting approximately four hours. When travelling from the north, you can get a bus to Monteverde after first catching a bus to La Irma. From the town of Monteverde it is easy to get to the park, with three buses leaving daily.

 
 

 

Categories: Central America, Costa Rica, Monteverde

Tags: , , , ,