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Monteverde Cloud Forest Holidays
With its head often shrouded in mist, the bumpy roads leading to Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve will keep you (literally and figuratively) on the edge of your seat as you anticipate the experience of seeing one of the world’s premier nature destinations. Milk churns stacked at the roadside awaiting collection give clues to the real identity of this agricultural community that hides, cut off on all sides, from the rest of Costa Rica. But this isolation has preserved something special in the surrounding hills: the seed of Monteverde Reserve has germinated to create a host of natural experiences that encapsulate the very essence of Costa Rica – diversity, seclusion and at times exhilaration. The secret that was Monteverde Reserve in the 1970s when it was founded may now be well known but, true to the uniqueness of the reserve, and despite the visitors, there is still a rough charm to the area.
Straddling the continental divide, the 10,500-ha Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve is privately owned and administered by the Centro Científico Tropical (Tropical Science Centre) – a non-profit research and educational association. The reserve is mainly primary cloudforest spending much of the year shrouded in mist, creating stunted trees and abundant epiphytic growth. It contains over 400 species of birds, including the resplendent quetzal (best seen in the dry months between January and May, especially near the start of the Nuboso Trail), the three-wattled bellbird and the bare-necked umbrella bird. There are over 100 species of mammals, including monkeys, Baird’s tapir, all six endangered cats found in Costa Rica – jaguar, jaguarundi, margay, ocelot, tigrillo and puma – reptiles and amphibians. The reserve protects an estimated 500 species of butterfly, 2500 species of plants and more than 6000 species of insects.