Monteverde, is home to Costa Rica’s famous cloud forest, giving visitors a chance to explore the great outdoors. This region of Costa Rica has much cooler temperatures and a vast array of nature activities. Monteverde and the cloud forest are generally explored via hanging bridges, hiking or by zip line. Personally, we chose to explore the cloud forest by walking the hanging bridges in the Selvatura Adventure Park and hiking Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.
Exploring The Cloud Forest In Monteverde
Selvatura Park – Cloud Forest and Hanging Bridges
Selvatura Park offers 8 different suspension bridges varying in height and length. The bridges give visitors plenty of different views of the forest. Some bridges take you above the forest canopy and others lead you among the trees. The trails connecting the bridges are conveniently marked and are only approximately 3km long.
If you take your time to enjoy the views and take pictures, you can fill up half a day exploring the bridges. If you choose, you can also explore Selvatura Park via zip line. When we visited Selvatura Park, they offered a complimentary shuttle service. They picked us up in the morning and dropped us off at the end of the day.
Zip lining is great fun, but you’re on the move. If you’d like to thoroughly explore the cloud forest, zip lining can make this a little challenging. This is something you should keep in mind if you’re wanting an in-depth look at the cloud forest and are limited on time. Alternatively, you can pair up zip lining with a walk around the hanging bridges.
Santa Elena Cloud Forest
Conveniently located approximately 10-15 minutes away on foot, rests Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. Santa Elena (~$12 Entrance Fee) offers a number of different hiking trails throughout the grounds. The hike that stands out by far, is The Youth Challenge Trail. The Youth Challenge Trail may not seem like much at first, but keep going until you reach the viewing tower. Here you will be rewarded by one of the most astounding views of the cloud forest. On a clear day, you can see a view of Arenal Volcano in the distance.
Youth Challenge Lookout
Be warned, the tower can look a little rickety and intimidating at first. However, when you reach the top, you’ll be in absolute awe!!! I nearly chickened out! I stood on the second highest level of the tower for a solid ten minutes with sweaty hands, my heart racing and debating with myself if the view was really worth it…
The tower was shaking. The top only had room for two people. And I despise heights. *Sigh*. I really wanted to turn back and head for the ground, but my husband basically forced me to the top with his enthusiasm over the view. Turns out, I’m braver than I thought. One baby step after another, I finally made it to the top! And was so happy I did!! This ended up being one EPIC view! After exploring the Reserve, you can walk back to Selvatura Park and take the complimentary shuttle back to your accommodation.
Overall, exploring the cloud forest in Monteverde was one of the highlights during our two weeks in Costa Rica. The vast amount of jungle, amazing bridges and extraordinary views, make the cloud forest in Monteverde unforgettable.
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