By Jacob Halpenny
Monteverde, a Costa Rican town where “as far as the eye can see” is veiled by a dense and mysterious fog. Where trees and hanging moss invade the landscape and in the distance the Resplendent Quetzal bird calls out to hikers and bird enthusiasts alike. This is Monteverde, this is the Cloud Forest, and this is one of the many highlights of our workshop.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, or Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde in Spanish, is a protected natural wonder and home to an impressive variety of plant and wildlife. Consisting of six separate ecological zones the Cloud Forest Reserve is monolithic with its vast and diverse wildlife. During your stay in Costa Rica it is important to remember that the natives are extremely passionate about their home and the guides you will find in the Cloud Forest are also passionate supporters of the reserve’s preservation.
Any lover of nature will be right at home in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. The misty forests are home to over 2,500 different species of flora and fauna life, so even the amateur botanist will be well occupied with plenty to see and photograph for the scrapbook back home. If perhaps you grow weary of the green scenery then a touch of colour might assuage your hiking blues. Keep a keen look out for the Resplendent Quetzal bird. You might be thrown off by its camouflage (the Quetzal sports green feathers on its wings, head, and back) but it also has bright scarlet feathers on its breast, an important feature whilst trying to spot these flying friends in the forest. Remember to ask your guide about the Quetzal, he or she might have some great ornithological tips for you to share with your fellow adventurers.
While hiking through the cloud forest try your best to take in as much of the atmosphere as you can. The reserve boasts 100 different species of mammals, 400 birds, 120 reptilians, and thousands of insects. While you might not be able to see all that the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has to offer try instead to keep track off all of the unique animals and species you come across. Make detailed notes and ask a guide for the names of the animals you encounter, it will make for interesting reflection upon you return trip!
While local conservation efforts are working hard to maintain the natural beauty of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve certain developmental touches have been installed for the sake of convenience. In the reserve you will use man-made suspension bridges to progress from one plateau to the next. If you are feeling adventurous and want to get down the mountain in a ‘zip’ then zip-lining, offered by the reserve, might be right for you! Otherwise you can stick to the suspension bridges and no one will bring it up.
Transportation up the mountain is offered by a bus shuttle service which operates about five times a day. Within the reserve there is a restaurant, a giftshop, a serpentarium, frog pond, bat jungle and butterfly garden. Should you fall head over heels for the Cloud Forest the reserve operates a small visitors lodge where you just might be able to extend your stay in the misty mountains. Just don’t stay too long as you might uncover the secret why so many creatures have made the cloud forest their home.
Still want to register for our workshop in Costa Rica this September? Click here for more details