167km (104 miles) NW of San José; 82km (51 miles) NW of Puntarenas
Monteverde, which translates to “Green Mountain,” is one of world’s first and finest ecotourism destinations. The mist-enshrouded and marvelous Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and extensive network of neighboring private reserves are both rich and rewarding. Bird watchers flock here for a chance to spot the myth-inspiring Resplendent Quetzal, scientists study its bountiful biodiversity, and a bevy of attractions and adventures await everyone else.
Cloud forests are a mountaintop phenomenon. Moist, warm air sweeping in off the ocean is forced upward by mountain slopes, and as this moist air rises, it cools, forming clouds. The mountaintops around Monteverde are blanketed almost daily in dense clouds, and as the clouds cling to the slopes, moisture condenses on forest trees. This constant level of moisture has given rise to an incredible diversity of innovative life forms and a forest in which nearly every square inch of space has some sort of plant growing. Within the cloud forest, the branches of huge trees are draped with epiphytic plants: orchids, ferns, and bromeliads. This intense botanical competition has created an almost equally diverse population of insects, birds, and other wildlife. Beyond the Resplendent Quetzal, the Monteverde area boasts more than 2,500 species of plants, 450 types of orchids, 400 species of birds, and 100 species of mammals.
Today’s Forecast . . . Misty & Cool
The climatic conditions that make Monteverde such a biological hot spot can leave many tourists feeling chilled to the bone. More than a few visitors are unprepared for a cool, windy, and wet stay in the middle of their tropical vacation, and can find Monteverde a bit inhospitable, especially from August through November.