Monteverde, Costa Rica
Monteverde Biological Reserve
The Monteverde Biological Reserve (Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde) is an approximately 10,500-acre conservation area, which was originally founded on a private initiative. It lies at an altitude of around 1500 meters on the slopes of the Cordillera de Tilarán, and includes several different habitats; in the first place the cloud forests. The region around Monteverde is one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries in the tropics.
You can hike in the reserve thorugh trails of varying lengths; either on your own, or you can go with a guide from Santa Elena to Monteverde. There are nearly 14 miles of hiking trails. At the entrance you will find the park headquarters (where you must pay an insignificant entry), and a small restaurant with a gift shop, and information about the conservation area.
In the cloud forests of the region can be found about 100 different species of large mammals, of which five are species of felines. With more than 440 species of birds, including more than 30 species of hummingbirds, Monteverde is a particularly popular destination for birdwatchers. The flora leaves nothing to be desired. It has nearly 3000 plant species, including numerous species of mosses, ferns and bromeliads, and more than 400 types of orchids, 28 of which are endemic. These come exclusively in the area of Monteverde and Santa Elena.
Therefore, Monteverde and its surrounding represent one of the richest areas of Central America.
The famous German wildlife filmmaker, Heinz Sielmann, made a film about the Monteverde Cloud Forest. With large-scale deployment, Sielmann shows the interior views of the mighty jungle.
The town of Monteverde
The small, friendly town of "Monte Verde" is located in the cloud forest reserve of the same name, and offers a more tranquil picture. The village is spread over a wider area and although there are many visitors, these are quite well distributed.
There are numerous accommodation options, from simple Cabinas, to sophisticated eco-hotels.
The trip to Monteverde is a little cumbersome. There are two different ways to reach the town and the reserve. When coming from the Arenal Lake, then you travel through Tilaran and continue to the south shore of the lake. From there, follows a 35 km bumpy dirt road to Monteverde. In the Arenal, the travelers will be offered an opportunity to ride by boat and Jeep, to cut the traveling time to only 3 hours.
A second gravel road, which is currently under expansion, leads from Monteverde to south through Guacimal, to the Panamericana.
The 2nd Starting point for a tour in the conservation area, is the small town of Sta. Elena, very centrally located. The town was founded in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers, which settled in this area in order to avoid the military service. Today, you may notice in Sta. Elena a strong increase in tourism. There have been build up many new Posadas, hotels and restaurants. A lot of installations offer visitors a wide range of tour options and outdoor activities.
Between Santa Elena and Monteverde exists a system of trails, where the many vantage points are located. The trail network includes a total of 12 kilometers of trails, you have to pay for admission.