Situated atop the Continental Divide, this high-altitude forest is literally shrouded in clouds. Wisps of fog trail through the lofty canopy, creating the perfect environment for thousands of animal and plant species. Here you can find wild orchids, colorful birds, and sinuous jungle cats—plus scenic mountaintop vistas.
A gem of Central America, Monteverde Cloud Forest spans more than 35,089 acres (14,200 hectares) of land and contains 8 miles (12.9 kilometers) of trails. Trek through the lush reserve and immerse yourself in Costa Rica’s rich wilderness; spot rare wildlife; climb to “La Ventana,” a scenic overlook with panoramic views; and take a photo on the Continental Divide with one foot on the Pacific side and the other on the Caribbean side.
Guided tours of the reserve cover a wide range of interests. Nature lovers can head out on a guided hiking excursion, night tour, or private bird-watching tour, while thrill seekers can fly through the treetops on ziplines or traverse the park’s series of hanging bridges on a canopy tour. For an in-depth experience, it’s also possible to visit Monteverde Cloud Forest on a multiday tour of Costa Rica’s northwestern highlights.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Remember to bring comfortable shoes, sun protection, and plenty of water.
- An on-site restaurant offers traditional Costa Rican dishes.
- The road to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is half paved and half unpaved; a vehicle equipped with 4-wheel drive is recommended.
How to Get There
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is located along the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range, roughly three hours by road from San José. Bus services connect San José to Santa Elena. From there, a transportation service runs periodically to the reserve.
When to Get There
The most popular time to visit is during Costa Rica’s dry season (mid-December to April), when the weather is ideal for exploring. Arrive early in the day if you want to avoid crowds.
Exploring the Reserve
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve contains four different ecological zones and also includes Monteverde Biological Reserve, Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, the Children's Eternal Rainforest, and part of the Arenal Volcano National Park. Most of the reserve is still comprised of untouched forest.