Monteverde, Costa Rica
Two small settlements in the area bear the same names as the Reserves, Monteverde and Santa Elena. For visitors hoping to take home photographs of giant moss and vine covered trees and oceans of green, moss, mist, and primordial deep green rainforest imagery, Monteverde is the perfect place to find it. It’s highly recommended to spend at least two days in the Monteverde area, if not three or more, in order to have the chance to see what the area has to offer.
Monteverde’s Hanging Bridges are a network of adrenaline-inducing walkways suspended high above the jungle floor. The canopy zip lines are also a favorite thrill, offering a breathtaking breezy voyage through the jungle canopy over two hundred and fifty feet above the forest floor.
Showcasing a unique environment full of exotic animals and plants, the Monteverde area is home to resplendent quetzal, ruby red poison dart frogs, and over three hundred species of orchids. Monteverde, Costa Rica has the highest population of hummingbirds in the country.
The cloud cover in the area produces an almost mystical environment, lush and dense, with unparallel greenery. The ideal ecotourism destination, there is plenty and see and do up in Monteverde, including, hiking, horseback riding, and bird watching. Monteverde is also home to a serpentarium and frog pond with exhibits of many amphibian species like the poison dart frog. Coffee plantation tours, night tours, a live bat exhibit, an insect exhibit, and butterfly garden are also highly popular ecotour activities. Not to be overlooked, one may actually stand on the continental divide right there in Monteverde, an irrisistible location for photographs.
Home to Costa Rica’s Quaker community that migrated to the area during the 1950’s in refusal to register for the US war draft of 1949, a local claim to fame of the Monteverde area is the dairy farming and cheese business that thrives with a popular Costa Rican following as well as a strong exportation business. Monteverde cheese is considered to be Costa Rica’s best, and scenic tours of the local factories are very popular.
Quaker influences – Back during the Korean war the US had a draft going on. But not everyone was going to let their sons be taken away from them. In the late 1940’s a dozen or so families arrived on horseback to Monteverde. There was no electricity, no water but great land for their farming.With too many cows, one of the men decided to make cheese and Monteverde Cheese Factory was born and is now one of the best cheese companies in Costa Rica.
Monteverde’s roads are definitely the most challenging in the country. The roads are 90% dirt roads, and regardless of where you are coming from San Jose or Arenal, you will hit curves and steep slopes that you feel you can fall off. Because Tilaran is so high up in the mountain region, most parts are usually covered in clouds and with a bit of a drizzle – year round. Also, bring warm clothes, because it can definitely get cold here.
Summary: Cloud forest; mountains, adventure sports and sightseeing
Landscape: Cloud forest, rainforest, mountains
Attractions: Hanging bridges, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, waterfalls, wildlife
Activities: Adventure tours, bird & wildlife watching, night hikes
Caters to: Couples/honeymooners, families, independent travelers, nature lovers
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