Mountainous Monteverde in Costa Rica is home to the iconic cloud forests. But that's not all this magical destination has to offer - far from it, in fact.
Located in the Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range - about 150 km northwest of San José - this tiny town punches way above its weight for ecotourism. The clue is in the name; Monteverde translates to ‘green mountain’ in Spanish, and unsurprisingly the landscape is characterised by emerald hills rolling into the horizon. But the most spellbinding views are at the top of the Titaran Mountain Range. Standing high above the clouds, Monteverde is at an elevation of 1,330 m (4,360 ft).
There are countless ways to take in the spectacular scenery in Monteverde, from soaring skyline adventures by day, to intrepid treks in the forest by night. Monteverde’s canopy adventures are unrivalled. Explore the surroundings by hanging bridges, Tarzan swings and high ropes. Adventurer travellers with a head for heights will likely head straight to Monteverde Extreme, the longest and most high-octane zipline course in Costa Rica - an exhilarating 4,330 metres, or 2.7 miles in total.
For those looking for a slower pace, take a leisurely hike to the Cerro Plano View Point. On a clear day, the views offer a stunning panorama of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It’s a place that transports a weary hiker to the centre of the world. Stick around for the sunset and watch the distant islands illuminate under dazzling pink and orange hues.
Sundown is the perfect time to learn about some of Monteverde’s nocturnal occupants, as 80% of forest creatures are active at night. Flashlight in hand, embark on a trek through the forest to watch the last activities of diurnal wildlife whilst nocturnal creatures emerge. Keep your eyes peeled for bats, owls, sloths, raccoons, armadillos, olingos, kinkajous and other mammals. Brace yourselves as you stumble upon reptiles such as frogs, snakes, lizards, and supersized spiders and tarantulas.
Sensory experiences in the dark are balanced by those in the light of day. Monteverde’s stunning Orchid Garden hosts 450 species blooming in the same place - natural serenity in full swing. However, it’s not just the flora and fauna that flourishes in Monteverde.
The region’s humid climate and mountainous terrain create the ideal haven for the region's iconic arabica beans. And there are plenty of great places to try it too. Sit outside in a local cafe with a vibrant cup and a mouth-watering pastry joined by hummingbirds who’ll swoop in to keep you company.
That's just the start of what you’ll see when entering Monteverde’s enchanting Cloud Forest Reserve. With over 120 species of mammals alone, you’ll likely hear the howler monkeys cry a mile off - but pumas and jaguars are also padding around this fruitful forest floor. So, pack a camera and your appetite for adventure - time to lose yourself in the jungle.