- The Monteverde Extremo Park
The Monteverde Cloud Forest offers a variety of activities which include horseback riding, bat exhibits, a serpentarium, insect exhibits, coffee plantation tours, a frog pond tour, night tours, a butterfly garden and more. More adventurous activities include suspended walkways/hanging bridges tours and canopy tours. The Monteverde Cloud Forest is a must-do if you are visiting Costa Rica. It is the headquarters of all the adrenaline junkies in the country, and for good reasons. The Monteverde Cloud Forest is located approximately 4 hours away from San Jose. It is highly recommended to have a 4×4 car for this trip, as the last 1h30 are on gravel road.
The area is home to many extreme sports companies and therefore a perfect place to get your heart racing. The most popular attraction is of course the ziplining tour. At the Monteverde Extremo Park, you can book a canopy tour for $50. This tour offers cables that are more than 3400 feet long and 600 feet high. There are 10 regular ziplines, 2 superman ziplines, 1 rappel and 1 tarzan swing (see video). The crew is very professional and the entire experience felt very safe and secure. The compagny also offers other activities such as bungee jumping, extreme swings and buggy tours. Check out their website for more information.
- Hiking the Cloud Forest
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is perfect for all levels of hiking as it has a network of trails reaching 13km. The many different trails differ in length and difficulty, offering hiking options for everyone. The Cloud Forest contains approximately 10 trails, which also includes a waterfall, a hanging bridge and gorgeous viewpoints. A popular stop in the park is at “La Ventana,” a scenic overlook of the incredible Cloud Forest panorama. Entrance to the park is $20 for adults and $10 for students (with valid student ID).
- Fauna and Flora in the Monteverde Cloud Forest
Did you know that 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity can be found in the Monteverde region? Costa Rica already houses 5% of the world’s biodiversity, and this country only represents 0.03% of the total global landmass! The uniqueness of this forest comes from the fact that it lies both on the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of the Continental Divide. With over 3000 species of plants (500 types of orchids!) and 755 species of trees, Monteverde has an intense floral richness. A recurring type of vegetation in the forest are the lianas, bromeliads and the large amounts of mosses. Locals call this area the ‘Green Mountain’ due to the high percentage of epiphytes (plants that grow on plants) present in the forest. This small piece of land offers an incredible variety of different kinds of vegetation. As mentioned before, the forest is home to over 500 species of orchids. Among those, 34 that were discovered in the forest are new to science. It therefore comes to no surprise that Monteverde is considered an international hub for sustainable tourism. The entirety of the income that is collected from visitors at the entrance of the park goes directly to fund research, educative and preservation programs.
Be prepared to encounter all kinds of animals in this forest. Five minutes after entering the park, we were greeted by a gigantic black snake. No need to be scared, most of the time they won’t even acknowledge your presence (well unless you provoke them). There are over 500 bird species in the forest alone, 120 types of amphibians and reptiles, as well as 130 species of mammals. Most popular are coatis, sloths, poison dart frogs, tapirs, quetzals, howler monkeys and toucans. For more information on the Cloud Forest Reserve, click here.