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Costa Rica Travel – Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest is located 1,440 meters above sea level and has a humid, misty and cloudy climate during most of the year.  It is a rain forest reserve with more than 5 species of cats, 30 species of hummingbirds, and 420 types of orchids.  The area is highly praised as one of the most outstanding wildlife refuges in the New World Tropics.

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Costa Rica Travel - A Nature Walking Tour in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Costa Rica Travel

In my opinion the place is overpriced and often times overcrowded.  Jason and I were shocked when told that we were visiting during their low season. “I would hate to be here during the high season,” I thought.

Costa Rica Travel

Costa Rica Travel - A Nature Walking Tour in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

In the popular town of Santa Elena you can find tour companies that will help fill your day with all sorts of activities, but these won’t go easy on your wallet.  One of the most popular outfitters in town is Selvatura, which also owns their own park where most of the activities occur.

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Costa Rica Travel - Suspension Bridge Tour in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

Cloud Forest Tour Activities

  • Nature walks (3.5 hours)
  • Canopy and Suspension Bridge (3 hours)
  • Visiting the insect museum (1 hour)
  • Bike Rental (1 day)
  • Horseback Ridding (2 hours)
  • Night Tour (2.5 hours)

Lodging also isn’t cheap, but there are still great deals to be found.  Casa Tranquilo has double rooms for $20 and includes breakfast, free internet and hot showers.

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Costa Rica Travel - Plants and Flowers in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Monteverde Night Tour

We signed up for a night tour in a secondary forest hoping to spot some sloths. A secondary forest is a forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, which in this case was farming. This secondary forest was only 30 years old and the trees were relatively low, providing a better view of tree animals.

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Costa Rica Travel - Tarantulas in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

We were lucky enough to spot two sloths with the guides’ spotlights. It is not common to find them, so don’t get your hopes up too much. During the day we toured Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve in hopes of finding more wildlife, but our expectations were too grand. We did find beautiful plants and some large millipedes.

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Costa Rica Travel - The Monteverde Cloud Forest

The cloud forest exudes a mysticism with its constant eerie weather and rolling hills, but it’s turning into a commercialized park.

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Lindsey says:

Blake and I were at the Cloud Forest n April and there weren’t many tourists. In fact, we woke up early to hike around in the Cloud Forest and the only other hikers that we saw were two people from an overlook. It was fantastic. I suppose the major tourist season is during the winter holidays.

We also found a hotel called Vista al Golfo which is in Santa Elena. I believe they charged $12 USD a night. You get your own bathroom and a double bed, but no breakfast. However, there is a pastry shop in town not far away.

I know the excursions are pricey, but I thought the horseback riding tour was really worth it. It was one of the most memorable parts of our trip.

Great article! I will continue reading about your journey!

Lindsey

Aracely says:

Lindsey,

I´m glad you had a good experience. Going early in the morning is definitely a good idea (Jason and I did that as well.) Thanks for the hotel information for our readers.

Name says:

This post remind me about Taman Negara rain forest in Malaysia, the place is amazing but unfortunately it is overcrowded by tourists,in the park, is getting very difficult to spot wild animals because people scare them off so they have to escape deep in the forest.

Aracely says:

That is very unfortunate. We don´t know what effects that will have on wildlife if they now have to relocate. I wonder if they will start making the tours go further into the forest as well.

Nomadic Matt says:

I love monteverde but Arenal is way way way way better. You better get up there! and get to corcavado in the south!

Aracely says:

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the comment. I´ve actually been to Arenal and I also consider it really amazing. We decided to skip it in the interest of time.

Laura says:

I’ve been reading for awhile but haven’t commented yet… hope to stop by more!
It really is unfortunate the park is losing its charm cause the tour companies are getting greedy. I felt the same way when I visited CR a few years back, although didn’t make it to Monteverde.
We did luck out and see a sloth though, hanging on a telephone wire on the side of the road. Crazy!

Aracely says:

Laura,

Thanks for following. Please do leave comments, we love to hear feedback/thoughts from our readers. Very cool that you saw a sloth! I was super excited when we saw two!

Shannon OD says:

I had the same type of experience at one of Croatia’s National parks – it was rapidly losing some of the magic because of the rampant tourism…and though they really tried to curb the impact, it’s not entirely working. But at least you got to see the sloths! Fun 🙂
.-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..A Little Route…My RTW Travel Route 2008-2009 (Part 2) =-.

Aracely says:

Yes, seeing the Sloths was awesome!

One of my favorite places ever! You offered some amazing descriptions. Love following your adventures!
.-= Laura Cococcia´s last blog ..How To Choose Your Own Adventure =-.

Aracely says:

Laura, thank you for the support, I´m glad you enjoy the post.

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