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Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest

You are about to read about one of the most magical places in Costa Rica! The Monteverde Cloud Forest is a town and reserve that is situated on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of Continental Divide, giving it many more species then are found in other towns in Costa Rica.

This exceptional location, well known for it’s rainbows, is only 4 hours from San Jose or a quick jeep-boat-jeep ride from Arenal.

The humidity and altitude (up to 1, 842 meters) provide a unique climate which houses elfin trees only 5-10 meters high due to constant winds stunting them, 800 species of plants that grow on other plants (thus the name “Green Mountain”), thousands of species of insects, reptiles, mammals, and the famous Quetzal bird! Bird watchers can spot 425 different birds here! During my own visit I had the opportunity to see a paca and a whole family of coatis.

Monteverde has three seasons, dry, wet, and misty. The misty season, November through February, is unique to this area. It has wind-driven clouds that send mist across the ridge from the Atlantic. During this season a poncho and jacket are recommended!

Because of the increasing number of visitors to this beautiful place an additional reserve was created, called Santa Elena. It protects the same mountain range but also offers a view of the Arenal Volcano on a clear day.

This land was settled in the 1950’s by American Quakers who came here seeking a country without an army. They chose this highland area because it was free of the tropical diseases found in lowland areas here at that time. They opened a cheese factory to support themselves and now that cheese and milk is even exported to other countries!

By Kerry La

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