Located along the Cordillera de Tilaran reserve in Costa Rica, you’ll be able to see the magnificent Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. One of the reasons why the area is called a cloud forest is because, during a cloudy day, low-hanging clouds would descend around the upper canopy of the forest or to its hanging pathways.
To give you a bit of history, a group of Quakers from the United States abandoned their homes in Alabama and went to Monteverde in the early 1950s. They steered clear of being drafted into the Korean War by leaving their home country. Leading a simple life in Monteverde, they centered on dairy and cheese production to obtain their sources of income. For 20 years, some of the families would help create the Monteverde and the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.
Scientist George Powell, together with his wife, and longtime resident Wilford Guindon, introduced the area to a natural preserve foundation. A non-government scientific and environmental organization, called the Tropical Science Center, showed receptiveness to the efforts of the two scientists and have accepted institutional responsibility of ownership and management to the protected locations. The center took over the financial and human resources to expand and protect the whole 10,500-hectare land.
The damp character of the forest during the rainy season provides enormous quantities of biodiversity, making it one of the best places to find all sorts of epiphytic plants. Non-parasitically, these plants get their resources from the moisture of the air and rain, and debris surrounding them.
The climate in the forest has very distinct characteristics, making it the most livable forest for some of the world’s rarest indigenous species. However, statistics show a low-level cloud coverage decrease, which will result in temperature increase, and this could lead the hydrological cycle to change and eventually, dry up the forest. The unfortunate escalation of climate change has made travelers worry, prompting them to act in order to save the forest from impending damage.
If you are planning to take a vacation in Costa Rica, it’s highly recommended to put Monteverde’s Cloud Forest on your itinerary. It provides its visitors an abundant number of opportunities to discover, enjoy and learn about its interesting ecosystem, all the while vacationing in the country of Costa Rica.
To visit the forest, there are two options. First is to take a bus from the Banco Nacional in Santa Elena. The buses leave at 6:15 AM, 7:20AM and 1:15 PM. If you are coming out of the reserve, the buses will leave at 11:30 AM, 2:00 PM and 4:00PM, with bus fare costing $1. Second, if you prefer a more private transportation, taxis are also available in the area, can fit up to 5 passengers and will cost you $10.
If you are up for some hiking, don’t miss this one out! Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a site that is abundant with green sceneries. Hiking through the forest can give you the feeling of being one with the clouds. The elevation will provide you with multiple opportunities to catch a glimpse of the rarest birds residing in the forest. There is a spot called Resplendent Quetzal where you’ll be able to find birds and observe their daily life.
A fan of midnight stroll? Monteverde offers night explorations, giving you the experience of seeing the forest come to life at night. There will be a tour guide, escorting you through the forest while giving valuable information and pointing out a variety of wildlife like the armadillos and tarantulas. The best thing about night explorations is the peaceful ASMR-like sound coming from the forest’s critters. It’s one of the best ways to reach a level of relaxation that will refresh your life. Taking in all the fresh air and appreciating the beauty of the place is an experience you would want to acquire.
Away from your homeland and into foreign soil, safety must be your top priority and Costa Rica and its Cloud Forest is not any different. The city might be pretty small but its common act of crime is thievery so keep your belongings close to you. When hiking, stick to the designated pathways and trails or preferably, hire an expert that could guide you through the paths. It’s easy to get lost in the forest so having a guide is an essential.
Like all the other countries in the world, taxis can be quite deceiving. Drivers might take advantage of the fact that you are a foreigner and would give you an unreasonable fare rate so before settling into the vehicle, make sure to negotiate and settle the amount first.
Avoid isolated areas, especially at night and when you are alone. Always trust your gut instinct and be vigilant of your surroundings. Lastly, always prepare extra copies of important travel documents and insurance.