When you arrive at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve after hotel pickup, embark on a treetop walkways tour led by your guide. Crossing almost 2 miles (3 km) of sturdy suspension bridges built high off the ground, you’ll experience the splendor of the rainforest canopy. Walk along eight different bridges ranging in length from 150-510 feet (50-170 meters)!
The private reserve, administered by the Tropical Science Center, includes six ecological zones that protect a wide variety of insects, butterflies and mammals – such as the ocelot and tapir – plus thousands of plant species. Your guide will point out trees draped with fascinating flora such as bromeliads, ferns, vines and beautiful orchids – including 420 varieties!
At an elevation of 4,660 feet (1,440 meters) above sea level, watch the fog envelop the forest and slowly drip from the tallest tree branches to feed the ecosystem it supports. Listen and look for more than 400 species of birds, such as the three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrella bird and resplendent quetzal, as you move through the majestic forest.
After approximately two hours above ground, descend to the forest floor and head with your group to the nearby Monteverde Butterfly Garden, or mariposario, for a visit. In this controlled climate that hovers around 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) to support more than 20 butterfly species, you’ll learn about the insects’ life cycle and adaptations that helped them evolve for their rainforest habitat.
On your guided walk through the butterfly exhibit, admire some of the world’s most beautiful creatures. Then, stroll through the medicinal plant garden and visit the biodiversity center to see informative displays of insects and arachnids. Here, witness a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis and observe live insects in action via bug cameras. Don’t miss seeing the leaf cutter ant colony before return transport to your Guanacaste-area hotel.