A Day at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

By BobbyRica | September 29, 2011

Cloud Forest of Monteverde

Here’s another fascinating story from our friend Samantha Jacobs. You can found her previous entry here. She has rediscovered Costa Rica and will regularly contribute in our site. She will also be the counterpoint of the zaniness that I write in this blog.

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I’m a nature lover. It doesn’t show though — having spent 26 years in Manhattan, I’m just as tough as any city dweller out there. But every chance I’d get, I’d leave my desk job and seek refuge in Mother Nature’s arms. Just recently, I fell in love with a hidden, lesser-known ecological haven in the beautiful country of Costa Rica: La Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde or commonly known in English as Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Located along the Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range, within the Puntarenas and Alajuela provinces, this peaceful and scenic paradise on Earth is home to a fabulous array of flora and fauna–they say over 2,000 plant species, including numerous orchids, 400 types of birds, and over 100 mammal species can be found in the Reserve.

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Getting there wasn’t difficult. Having travelled to Costa Rica a couple of times before, I am a bit familiar with the busy and crowded cities, as well as the quiet peaceful countryside. I chose to take the San Jose route. I rode a bus to Monteverde at 6:30 in the morning from the old Puntarenas bus stop (the ticket costs at least $5). The morning trip was pretty wearisome, but the idea that I would get to spend more time in the Reserve was enough to cheer me up.

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I was also fortunate enough to sit beside a friendly local on the bus ride. We chatted for most of the bus ride, and I learned a lot of fascinating facts about Monteverde, such as it was established by a group of Quakers in the early 1950’s. They came from Alabama and left their homes to avoid being involved in the Korean War. During this time, the region was just beginning to be settled. The Quakers began a new life, centering their livelihood on dairy and cheese production. In the early 1980’s, scientist George Powell, his wife, and Wilford Guidon, a longtime resident, decided to set up a nature preserve, refusing to allow local farmers to expand their property on the forest sites. Thus, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was established.

They say that Monteverde will astound you with its beauty, bounty and biodiversity–but me, well I was just blown away. The woodlands greet you and direct you to a lush and bountiful rainforest where you will see tall trees rising to the sky proudly showing off the wide array of ferns, bromeliads, mosses, and vines clinging on to them. Oh, and the orchids! I’ve never seen so many beautiful orchids in my life!

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After checking in at the Hotel El Sapo Dorado–known for its spacious, rustic suites and creative Costa Rican meals–I decided to join the late afternoon tour, with a couple of tourists. What I liked most about Monteverde is that despite its nature-oriented, rugged appeal, the trails are very tourist-friendly. You can use regular shoes during the day tours (provided that you can walk comfortably, of course). The tour guide also told us that because of the diverse climate, the Reserve houses a wide variety of animals — jaguars, Baird’s tapirs, ocelots, threewattled bellbirds, and even the famous but elusive Quetzal, a strikingly colorful tropical bird. I thought I saw one flying overhead, but it was too quick to be seen!

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I only spent a day in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. But it was definitely a meaningful experience. It made me realize that there was–and will always be–a part of me that will keep craving the beauty and serenity that only Mother Nature can give.

‘Til my next adventure log!

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