The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, administered by the Tropical Science Center is a non-profit reserve which marvels travelers with its diverse wildlife and natural beauty. It is comprised of six distinct ecological zones and houses many types of birds and butterflies, mammals, insects, and thousands of species of plants. A home to the rare and beautiful Resplendent Quetzal, this reserve has attracted birders and admirers from all over the globe. For those coming from the capital San Jose, there are buses that go to Monteverde at 6:30 AM and 2:30 PM. These buses leave from the San Carlos Bus Station in San José. This is a 5 hours direct bus ride with a stop in Sardinal for a bathroom and food break. However to truly appreciate the reserve at your own pace, ask Car Rental Costa Rica for a 4×4 to take for your exploration.
There are many different types of animals found in the cloud forests. Known to have one of the most diverse wildlife for any forests, the Monteverde cloud forest preserve boasts over 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds. Some of this majestic wildlife includes the elusive jaguar, ocelot and Three-wattled Bellbird. There are also toucans, jays, sloths, monkeys, and cougars. The cloud forests are also home to endangered species such as the mountain gorilla, spectacled bear, and mountain tapir. And because of the endangered state of the cloud forests, because of poaching and recent invasion of their habitat, these animals are in serious danger of becoming extinct.
Monteverde is also known to be a wonderful destination with families with children. Being a "cloud forest", the shiny green of the forest is often always covered with mist and soft rain blankets, making the ambience peaceful and awe-inspiring, only interrupted with constant hum of birds and monkeys speaking to one another. The trails leading to Monteverde windy and can be a challenge to cross, but virtually harmless and well worth the effort made to reach your destination. These trails can be traversed without guides as they are self-guided. However, if you really don't want to miss any hard-to-detect wildlife, a guide can drastically increase your chances of seeing animals you would have otherwise passed over.
A very popular attraction of the Monteverde Forest is the canopy tours. A very common one is known as Sky Walk. Travelers get to see the forest at a whole new level; above it. Walking along a suspension bridge at their own pace, visitors will get to see wildlife virtually invisible from ground level and the scurrying of different animals along the tops of trees. For those more inclined towards a faster and more action packed attraction, Sky Trek is perfect for them. Put on a helmet, strap on the harness and hold on tight as you zip down a cable flying through the Costa Rican forest. A fun and perfectly safe activity, toddlers as young as 4 years old can even participate. Those who have used this way of traversing the forest have described is as nothing short of magical. Many come to Costa Rica simply to try it as it comes highly recommended.
Other attractions of Monteverde include: Ranario (Frog River), Butterfly Garden, Night Tours, and Horseback riding.
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