Within the forest-cloaked mountains of northwestern Costa Rica lies a true Eden. Nestled between two cloud forest preserves and situated along a string of active and dormant volcanoes, the small community of Monteverde is a mountaintop paradise renowned for its beauty, biodiversity and outstanding tourist accommodations.
Travelers flying into San Jose can reach Monteverde by car in just a few hours. At an elevation of 4,600 feet the temperature remains humid and misty with cool breezes all day and night. The average yearly temperature rests comfortably around 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
Artifacts narrate how the history of Monteverde stretches back to 3000 BC when farming villages settled the landscape. More recently, the area was founded in the 1950’s by Quakers who, along with other conscientious objectors from the United States, were charmed by Costa Rica’s fertile soil, the friendliness of the people, and Costa Rica’s nonviolent, army-free constitution.
Today, Monteverde is home to an array of nature-related attractions and tours. Several tours are available at the many butterfly gardens, serpentariums and insect museums. Sugar cane mill and coffee tours offer more opportunities to learn about Costa Rica’s agriculture and heritage. The range of day to day activities and tours include hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and zip lining 400 feet over the forest floor.
Of Monteverde’s 250,000 annual tourists an estimated 70,000 are drawn to the reserve that National Geographic deemed, “the jewel in the crown of cloud forest reserves”. At the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, travelers will want to spend at least two days discovering the vibrant flora and fauna covering nearly 26,000 acres. The famous suspension bridges provide a truly unbelievable experience. These hanging bridges invite travelers to see the forest from a different perspective. Here, hundreds of feet above the forest floor, the expansive white clouds mingle with the dark greens of the forest canopy.
The reserve features a total of 13 kilometers of well-kept and easy to access trails as well as a large network of less accessible paths. While exploring the forest travelers will have a chance to see ancient trees, coiling vines, ferns, and orchids. Travelers are also encouraged to keep an eye out for the many wild animals thriving in the reserve: jaguars, ocelots, frogs, deer, bats, tapir, porcupines and three species of monkeys.
Monteverde is an ideal destination for bird watching. The area is visited by over four hundred species of birds including thirty species of hummingbirds. Avid bird watchers travel to Monteverde to see one animal in particular, the endangered resplendent quetzal- an impressive, tropical creature with bright red and turquoise feathers leading to a serpentine-like tail. Many travelers consider the chance of seeing the resplendent quetzal to be reason enough to visit Monteverde.
The small town of Santa Elena bustles with both local and tourist activity. There are several bars and over twenty restaurants. This is the perfect lunch stop, where travelers can certainly find something delicious to eat, whether they choose the typical Costa Rican fare or U.S. American favorites like pizza and fries.
In downtown Santa Elena, across from the Catholic church, is the Tree House Restaurant & Café. A favorite for tourists, the Tree House Restaurant & Café offers a unique dining environment where customers are served around a gargantuan ficus tree growing from floor to ceiling. Santa Elena is also home to Monteverde’s second spectacular Cloud Forest. While both forests share much in common, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest is a bit smaller, higher in elevation, and allows for sweeping views of Arenal Volcano.
Monteverde is one of the most highly valued tourist destinations on the planet and is a mega-hub for ecotourism.
Costa Rica Dream Adventures (CRDA) has been in business for over 18 years selling exclusively Costa Rica. CRDA provides customized packages for individuals, couples, family vacations, weddings, anniversaries, groups, corporate and incentive travel. We can customize itineraries to serve everyone from individuals to large groups.
For more information on Monteverde and Costa Rica Dream Adventures, visit their new website at costaricadreamadventures.com.