In the cloud forest at 1200 to 1600 meters above sea level, Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde represents the wide ranging biodiversity of Costa Rica. Within the misty forest there are hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles, insects, birds and plants. Just one example, of the 56 species of humming birds found throughout Latin America, 28 of them are represented here. We’ve spent a week here and some portion of every day is shrouded in clouds, often with some rain showers and sometimes there’s some thunder and lightening to go along. We stayed in the nearby village of Santa Elena at a super comfy placed called Pension Santa Elena. It’s owned by a brother and sister team from Austin, Texas. The town is quite small but has quite a bit of traffic with arriving and departing travelers and those going to or coming from day trips to different parts of the surrounding area.
Santa Maria Night Hike
A vast variety of the wildlife that inhabits the cloud forest can only be seen at night. This night hike is the best way to experience this wildlife. The hike begins just before dark and each hiker has a flashlight to be able to see where they are walking. The guide has a more powerful light so that he can spot certain creatures up in the trees. The hike goes for about two hours and on the night we went the weather was quite nice, no rain and only occasional mist. The guide was able to point out several fascinating creatures along with other features of the forest. We saw the Orange Kneed Tarantula, the male and female Walking Sticks, a Praying Mantis, a Yellow Striped Pit Viper, the Scopion Wasp, frogs, lizards and caterpillars. The highlights were seeing a nesting humming bird and the two toed sloth.
The sloth lives its life in the trees hanging upside down. It is a mammal related to the armadillo. We were told that the only time it comes to the ground is for waste elimination. It digs a hole for this purpose then covers it when done so that predators cannot locate it by tracing its waste. The humming bird sits with its eggs for only two weeks before they hatch so it’s somewhat rare to spot a nesting humming bird. The nest we saw was only about 4 feet off the ground but we were cautioned to tread lightly since if the bird is spooked it will leave the nest and not return.
Original Canopy Tour Zip Line
As the name implies, this was the one that started it all. With 15 platforms this zip line offers plenty of thrills and vistas. When we went, we were the only guests during that particular time period so it was like a private tour. The two guides took very good care of us and took over our camera to provide plenty of photos and videos for us. At one of the platforms we were even able to see the beautiful Quetzal, a very colorful and somewhat rare bird to view in the cloud forest.
Hiking through the reserve, we were able to see the tremendous variety of plants, the waterfalls and a suspension bridge. Here’s some of what we saw in Monteverde.