Costa Rica’s central highlands are dotted with a number of exquisite and captivatingly biodiverse cloud forests.
Typified by elevated and tropical evergreen forest land with 100 per cent humidity the area is therefore almost always shrouded in clouds and mist. Costa Rica is fortunate enough to have at least six cloud forest zones concentrated in the central highlands and in the central south.
Monteverde is the country’s most renowned destination for cloud forests. A small town hemmed in by the Santa Elena and Monteverde Reserves, it is also very close to the Arenal volcano area. Here you can hike along the trails that traverse these copious habitats of lichen, moss and orchids, populated by ocelots, butterflies, umbrella birds and the endangered Quetzal.
To the south-east of Monteverde and 1.5 hours north of San Jose is Bajos del Toro and the Bosque de Paz Biological Preserve. This cloud forest is sandwiched between the Juan Castro Blanco and Poas Volcano national parks and home to a large number of bird species such as four types of heron, hawks, falcons, eagles, doves, parakeets, owls and hummingbirds.
The closest to San Jose to the west is San Ramon. Just over an hour’s drive from the capital, this area is characterised by tranquil coffee plantations and the magnificent Peñas Blancas and Alberto Manuel Brenes Reserves. See deer, black guans, 57 different types of mammals and the clay-coloured Robin among much more.
When to go
Temperatures generally stay the same at about 29°c (84°f) all year round. December to May are the dry months and are perfect for travelling.
What to do
- Rappel majestic waterfalls
- Zip line through the misty canopies
- Stroll along lofty suspension bridges
- Horseback riding through the forests
- Trek and hike to your hearts desire