Northern Highlands: Monteverde
Set atop the spine of Costa Rica’s continental divide, Monteverde is a place of cloud forests and coffee plantations, monkeys, mist, and friendly locals. The town of Santa Elena is small and quaint, filled with tasty restaurants and folksy artisan shops, while the nearby rainforest hosts a remarkable amount of biodiversity. Due to its high altitude – some 4,662 ft (1,440 m) above sea level – Monteverde is privileged to receive a steady supply of clouds and the life-giving moisture that they contain. This moisture, often in the form of fog, catches on the branches of the tallest trees and drips down to the other organisms below. This helps to support a complex and far-reaching ecosystem, one that harbors over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species, and over 2,500 varieties of plants, 420 of which are orchids alone. Visitors can explore this internationally recognized environment from trails and trams, along canopy tours or inside museums.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: The main Monteverde attraction will astound visitors with its beauty, bounty and great amount biodiversity. Wind-sculpted elfin woodlands give way to rainforests where tall trees – festooned with orchids, bromeliads, ferns, vines and mosses – rise high into the sky. Explore swamp forests, deep expansive gorges packed with numerous streams tumbling through, rapids, waterfalls and standstill pools. It is, however, not merely the forest and landscape that are so diversified.
The variable climate and large altitudinal gradient have helped to produce an amazingly heterogeneous set of creatures that live here. Some of these include the jaguar, ocelot, Baird’s tapir, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the famously elusive resplendent quetzal.
Sky Trek: For the ultimate adrenaline rush, try Sky Trek. You will ride an open-air gondola through the rainforest from ground level to the highest point where you'll be dropped off at an observation deck for fantastic views of the volcano and land below. From the observation deck, return to ground level by zipping along nearly two miles (three kilometers) of cables across canyons and between treetops. Experience the rain forest below you including incredible panoramic view of the cloud forest from a whole new perspective.
Sky Walk Suspension Bridges: The Sky Walk is a well-thought-out combination of suspension bridges and walking trails through the Monteverde rainforest. These bridges span canyons and drainages, and bring visitors face to face with the upper level of the forest canopy. There are six bridges in total, the longest of which spans some 984 feet. The trails extend for slightly over a mile and a half (2.5 km), making this tour extremely feasible for anyone in moderate shape. The climb is not strenuous or muddy, as the trails are well-maintained and generally very flat. Local guides accompany each tour and help visitors learn about native plant and animal species.
Cloud Forest Night Walk: Explore the world of the nocturnal cloud forest. Professional guides instruct you on the mysteries and curiosities of the rain forest after dark. Forest mammals have an extraordinary night life… raccoons, armadillos, sloths, olingues, kinkajous, gray foxes, bats as well as many frogs, tarantulas and large variety of insects come to life at night.
Area tours range from 2 to 5 days
Custom departure dates are available year round.
Recommended activities are listed under each region. Activity levels range from easy to adventurous. All itineraries are custom developed with you to match your interests and activity level.
Custom departure dates are available year round. All itineraries are custom developed with you and geared to your specific interests, activity level, length of stay and budget. Please call to speak with a representative to develop your perfect program.
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