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Monteverde


Monteverde Forest, monkeys, birds, butterflies, & insects

Rain forests, canopy tours, hanging bridges, sky walks, & zip-lines

Plants, epiphytes, insects, humming birds, & coatimundi

Hotel Fonda Vela, beautiful sunsets

The sun setting at Monteverde.

The sun setting at Monteverde. Looking toward the Gulf of Nicoya.

Tours

We use the best tour operator to book all kinds of tours to Costa Rica, including independent tours and packages. If you have a group we can design a tour for your group. Check with us for details or for other information. Please contact us to book your travel. We book travel worldwide. Check out our Special Promotions.

Regions of Costa Rica

Costa Rica can be broken down into a number of regions or specific destinations. You can start with an overview of Costa Rica. For specific details of a region or destination choose the one of interest. There is the Central Region, which includes San Jose and the Central Valley, and features the Poas Volcano and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. San Jose area hotels are found on a separate web page. Hotels at other destinations are reviewed with a specific destination's web page. To the north of San Jose is Arenal where you find the spectacular Arenal volcano, and Monteverde where the very impressive Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is located. Tortuguero is found in the eastern part of Costa Rica on the Caribbean Sea. There you see great wildlife from boats in rivers and canals. The region in the northwest adjoining the Pacific Ocean is Guanacaste. This is where you find popular beaches and the beach town of Tamarindo. This is the driest part of Costa Rica. The Central Pacific region includes the Jaco area and the near by Carara National Park. The Central Pacific also includes Manuel Antonio and the very popular Manuel Antonio National Park. In the southwest region on the Pacific coast is the Corcovado National Park. It is in a remote location, but is a great place to visit. Contact Us for more information.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

South of Arenal Volcano is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and eruptions from the volcano can be heard there. The private reserve contains rain forests, cloud forests, and transitional forests, and is about 25,000 acres in size. The Continental Divide passes through the reserve, and at this high elevation you will likely need a coat or sweater year around. This is a very popular place to visit.

Founders of Monteverde

Quakers from Alabama immigrated to Monteverde in the early 1950s and founded the private reserve. Costa Rica did not have a military, and the Quakers were conscientious objectors that wanted to avoid service in the U.S. Military. They became dairy farmers, and you can sample local cheese and ice cream at their Cheese Factory.

Lots of plants, birds, and animal life

Humming birds at Monteverde.

Humming birds at Monteverde.


Humming birds feed from this plant seen at Monteverde.

Humming birds feed from this plant at Monteverde.

Within the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve it is reported that there are 2,500 species of plants, 400 species of birds, and 100 species of animals. The bird that attracts people to the Reserve is the resplendent quetzal. These birds have a red breast below green plumage. The male has tail feathers that can be 2 feet (0.6 meters) long. In the reserve hummingbirds can be seen at feeders or feeding from plants, as illustrated above. It is difficult to spot the different plants and wildlife in a rain forest when you do not know where to look or what to look for. As a result, it is much better to be with a trained naturalist guide since the experience will be much more enjoyable.

What is a cloud forest?

A cloud forest is one type of rain forest. It is defined by Merriam-Webster as a wet tropical mountain forest in which clouds are present. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has a misty climate and is cool and damp the year around. This leads to lush vegetation.

Plant growing on the side of a tree at Monteverde.

Plant growing on the side of a tree at Monteverde.


Rebecca in front of a big tree in the Monteverde Cloud forest.

Rebecca in front of a big tree in the Monteverde cloud forest.

In the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve there are many species of epiphytes. An epiphyte is defined by Merriam-Webster as a plant that derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and grows on another plant. Epiphytes include orchids, ferns, and bromeliads. See the plant growing on the side of a tree in the picture above. The trees in the Monteverde Cloud Forest are big compared to those that do not grow in the tropics. Note the big tree pictured with Rebecca above.

Nature guide Jeff illustrating the size of a plant in Monteverde cloud forest.

Naturalist guide Jeff illustrating the size of a plant in Monteverde cloud forest.


Lady in side a strangler fig tree in Monteverde forest.

Lady inside a strangler fig tree in Monteverde forest.

Day tours in the cloud forest

We spent nearly an entire day in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which is magnificent. There were many things to photograph including a family of howler monkeys high up in the trees above us. Plants in Costa Rica grow quite big, as is seen in the picture above with naturalist guide Jeff. And who would have thought that there is enough room inside a strangler fig tree for an adult person to climb up in it? But that is the case as seen above. Vines get very big too, as seen in the one Rebecca is holding in the picture below. Vines are also strong, as naturalist guide demonstrates as he swings like Tarzan in the movies.

Rebecca with vine at Monteverde.

Rebecca holding big vine in Monteverde Cloud Forest.


Nature guide Jimmy swinging from a vine at Monteverde.

Naturalist guide Jimmy swinging from a vine at Monteverde.

Night tours in the cloud forest

Coatimundi on Monteverde trail at night.

Coatimundi seen on night walk in Monteverde.

A very special outing occurred when our naturalist guide Jeff took us back into the cloud forest after dark. It was much different then than during daytime. Many insects and animals only come out after dark when they are better able to avoid daytime predators. We had a friendly encounter with a coatimundi, seen above. It was looking for food. Note the picture of the insect below which is shaped like a leaf, and which only a trained eye is likely to spot. It was exciting to be there.

Nature guide Jeff pointing to an insect that looks like a leaf on a night walk in the forest.

Nature guide Jeff pointing to an insect that looks like a leaf on a night walk in the rain forest.

Canopy tours

Hanging bridge at tree top level at Monteverde.

Sky Walk at tree top level at Santa Elena/Monteverde.

In the Monteverde-Santa Elena area there are a number of hanging bridges on the nature trails. You can see a long bridge on the Sky Walk tour that we took in the picture above. It provides an opportunity to see wildlife at tree-to level. Likewise you will find several zip-line tours. There is a tram that you can ride through the tree tops. The ride is in a two-person carriage that moves on a track.

Other things to do

In the area around Monteverde and Santa Elena there are other things that you can do. You can visit butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, serpentariums, exhibits of amphibians and insects, and go horseback riding. Late in the day look for the beautiful sunsets over the western lowlands and the Gulf of Nicoya. One is pictured at the top of this page.

Lodging in Monteverde

Hotel Fonda Vela

Hotel Fonda Vela in Monteverde.

Hotel Fonda Vela rooms in Monteverde.

The Hotel Fonda Vela is one of the most popular hotels in Monteverde, and is one of the closest hotels to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. The hotel property consists of 35 acres, and is close the the Continental Divide. The elevation of the hotel is close to 4.600 feet (1,400 meters), so you will often need a sweater or jacket walking around the property, even during daytime and year around. There are both Standard Rooms and Junior. Suites. We stayed in a standard room in the building pictured above on our first trip to Monteverde. By the time of our second trip to Monteverde the hotel had added the more spacious junior suites, and we chose one of them on that trip. The rooms have a private bath, mini-bar, telephone, coffee maker and cable TV. The main restaurant has very large windows, see below, which offer a lovely view and a chance to see wildlife. There is also a fireside room heated by a wood-burning fireplace, which is quite nice. The food is good. There is also an indoor swimming pool, two Jacuzzis, a bar, and a pool table. In the evenings you see beautiful sunsets looking towards the Gulf of Nicoya, as seen in the picture at the top of this page.

Reataurant at Hotel Fonda Vela.

Restaurant at Hotel Fonda Vela.

Regions of Costa Rica

Costa Rica can be broken down into a number of regions or specific destinations. You can start with an overview of Costa Rica. For specific details of a region or destination choose the one of interest. There is the Central Region, which includes San Jose and the Central Valley, and features the Poas Volcano and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. San Jose area hotels are found on a separate web page. Hotels at other destinations are reviewed with a specific destination's web page. To the north of San Jose is Arenal where you find the spectacular Arenal volcano, and Monteverde where the very impressive Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is located. Tortuguero is found in the eastern part of Costa Rica on the Caribbean Sea. There you see great wildlife from boats in rivers and canals. The region in the northwest adjoining the Pacific Ocean is Guanacaste. This is where you find popular beaches and the beach town of Tamarindo. This is the driest part of Costa Rica. The Central Pacific region includes the Jaco area and the near by Carara National Park. The Central Pacific also includes Manuel Antonio and the very popular Manuel Antonio National Park. In the southwest region on the Pacific coast is the Corcovado National Park. It is in a remote location, but is a great place to visit. Contact Us for more information.

 

Photos by Sunny Breeding. We sell prints and images.