Walking Costa Rica – The Monteverde Cloud Forests
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has to be one of the most dazzling areas in all of Costa Rica. It is located in the Cordillera de TilarĂˇn mountain range about a four hour drive from Costa Rica’s Central Valley, and has several different options for walking. Costa Rica is one of the few places in the world where you can see cloud forest and it has been selected as one of the top seven wonders of Costa Rica. If you have any appreciation at all for natural beauty, you will be blown away by the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve on one of the featured guided tours involving easy walking. Costa Rica has perfected the eco tour market in recent years and one of the best examples is to be found at Monteverde.
The reserve is located at 1400 metres above sea level, and the altitude, the tropical climate, and the high rainfall causes cloud forest to grow here. There are nine main trails that cover a total of 13 kilometres, although with your walking guide you may be able to venture further into the reserve and visit some of the old research stations along the way. There are several ways to see the reserve: you can take a normal walking tour along the forest floor, scale high into the canopy with the Sky Trek suspension walk, or get a bird’s eye view with a daring tour of the reserve by flying along a zip line rather than walking. Costa Rica’s most verdant and lush plant life found in the beautiful surrounds of Monteverde.
Bio Diversity at Your Fingertips
Within the forest reserve there are several micro climates which make for some highly concentrated bio diversity. There are more than 500 species of orchids alone found in this reserve, with 34 of them having been recently discovered. Other plant species that decorate the forest with their lush colours include bromeliads, mosses, ferns and vines. You can find a wide variety of animal life throughout the reserve from the more than 60 species of frog, to tapirs, ocelots and hundreds of bird species.
Which Trails are Which?
When hiking the trails in the reserve, you do not generally need any special equipment or hiking shoes and the trails are suitable for people of any fitness level. To see some of the strangler figs throughout the reserve, the best trail to take is the 1.9 kilometre Cloud Forest Trail; to spot butterflies or indulge in some bird watching, the best trail is The Road; the River Trail takes about an hour and half to complete and includes a side trail to a waterfall, and the Sky Trek on the suspended bridge offers a breathtaking view of the forest.
A holiday walking Costa Rica would be incomplete without a trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. There are early morning and night walking tours that are also available at the reserve to give you the chance to discover the different residents of the reserve – be they early risers or nocturnal. The early morning tours are perfect for bird watching enthusiasts and by night you will see plenty of frogs and nocturnal mammals making their rounds.
Tony Maniscalco is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Ramblers Worldwide Holidays. They offer over 250 guided group walking holidays in over 65 different countries. While walking Costa Rica with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, you will see scenic locations & landscapes at the best value prices.