Both the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve and Santa Elena Rain Forest have guided tours in search of the resplenedent quetzal.
Our naturalist guide - Ian - took us out along some of the many trails in search of this beautiful bird. Along the way we spotted many monkeys and other birds, and suddenly Ian stopped. I found myslef getting goose-pimples with the anticipation. There, in amongst the trees, was a nesting pair of quetzals. Flying in and out of their "hole" in a tree trunk, sometimes him, sometimes her, they were putting on a wonderful display. Through Ian's spotting scope, we were able to look right into the nest - absolutely wonderful!
Not far from the entrance to the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, is a terrace full of hummingbirds. Sugra water feeders are hung from the trees and birds flutter around quite oblivious to the crowds that gather to watch. There is a shop there too.
Zip Lining and Hanging Bridge Tour
You don't have to get a neck cramp to see the top of the forest canopy. Ride in style ziplining along metal cables from tree to tree and walk across the different heights of the canopy across hanging bridges. This can not be missed and will be a highlite of your tour. Of course both activities involve some heights but if you think you can get over it you should really try.
Ziplining - There are at least 15 platforms that will lead you ziping across the forest to the next. You begin with an instruction on how to safely operate the ziplines, pay attention there is some info you need to know. I would say you reach max speeds of about 20 mph when ziping across the lines, and the ride is fun. One line is approximately 1/2 km long! The company that I went through, Selvatura were well outfitted and professional, the men helping you along the ziplines are friendly. You should plan on getting a little mucky from the zip lines, just check out the pictures! It is a blast! You gotta try the tarzan swing while your there!
Hanging Bridges - About ten bridges await for you at different levels of the rainforest. Along the way are signs describing the wildlife and etc. at the certain height. It is a great place to snap photos and being able to view across the cloud forest is very relaxing, a great way to unwind after the zip lines! It is usually included along with the zip lining, as it is in the same general area.
The bridges offer tons of photo opportunities and a look at the different levels of the rain forest. I went with Selvatura company in the Santa Elena Rainforest and it was great! A must do
Don't wuss out on doing the tarzan swing!!! It is a blast!!!
***Check out my video of my travel friend on the tarzan swing, what a rush!
Hiking in the Monteverde Cloud Forest National Pk
The park offers a small variety of hikes which all provide low impact exercise and great scenary. You will really experience why they call the area a "cloud" forest and will love the lush green that surrounds you. Bring along your iPod and camera and stroll away. It is definately worth a day here. Park is open 7am-4pm and entrance when I went was 12$. I hiked the most popular hike which leads to a lookout point at which you can see the Ocean near the Nicoya Peninsula. The view is average, as the dense fog obscures, but it is worth seeing. Make sure you grab a map of the park on your way in, you will find it's exceedingly easy to navigate your way around
Night hike in the jungle
many tours can be found in Santa Elena for night hikes in Monteverde reserve. I found that Hidden Valley Trail is one of the best. Affordable with knowledgeable guides that know where all the animals are. It is an easy hike and flash lights are provided. Hikes usually start right at sunset.
- Hiking and Walking
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Night hike in Monteverde
A night hike in Monteverde is a popular venture while in the area. I believe the ticket price is in the 35$ range. You start at a camp, watch a short video and get a short orientation. A guide takes you through the cloud forest and you will be impressed at his skill in noticing wildlife. What may dissapoint you is that you will find most of the wildlife are small frogs, lizards and the like. These are interesting, however you wonder if it warrents the high price. At the end of the trail there is hole in the dirt were a tarantula calls home, she'll probably be the most interesting wildlife you will see on your trek. The darkness (when all the flashlights are off) and the sounds of the forest are intriguing, however the sights can be a little less than satisfying
You can go around Monteverde, visit the town that's easily walked. There's a Place where you can see diferent kinds of Frogs from the region, and another place but with snakes. For the birds lovers, you can see Hummimbird gardens with lots of those little birds.
This bridge tour was part of the Selvatura package. There were 8 bridges, suspended high over canyons and waterfalls. Birdwatchers can look for the resplendant quetzal (we didnt see any in our short stay - : ( ). It is a self guided tour and takes around an hour and a half. The cost was $8 but its worth it! It's best to go after the zipline if you are planning to do that.
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Sky Walk is a combination of trails and suspension bridges built in the cloud forest. It was raining when we did it for a full experience. It costs aroud $15 per person and the walk lasts around 2 hours. You cross 7-8 bridges.No animals again, except for hummingbirds...
See my travelogue for more info and photos.
- Hiking and Walking
Learn Spanish while in Monteverde
I recently traveled to Costa Rica with my College on a Latin American business environment trip. While we were there we took Spanish classes at Centro Panamericano de Idiomas (CPI). It was a great learning experience, not only from the Spanish classes but also from our homestays. We stayed with typical "tico" families, so we had the chance to practice Spanish even more, and had typical Costa Rican breakfasts and dinners. The classes were also small, the max is 4 students so you get a lot of personal attention which is great when you are learning another language.
I cannot say enough about the teachers and staff at CPI, they were extremely friendly and patient with us. They even have staff there dedicated to helping you plan trips during the day to go zip-lining, horseback riding, countless nature hike’s (we even had to privilege to see the elusive Quetzal!), and even night hikes. They can also help you plan weekend excursions if you’d like. I went to Arenal volcano area, which has beautiful views, and I also went to Manuel Antonio which is a national park right on the beach! We had the chance to see tons of sloths and monkeys.
If you want to immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture, learn Spanish from certified teachers, and still do awesome tourist activities, CPI is who you need to contact! These guys are pros, they have 3 campuses in 3 very different regions of Costa Rica, one in a typical town in Heredia, another in the mountains in Monteverde and the last near the beach in Flamingo (my favorite was Monteverde). They will also handle all the logistics for tours and your stays, all you have to do is go to class, learn Spanish and go on amazing trips!
- Family Travel
- Study Abroad
Serpentario, Ranario, Butterfly Garden
Out of these 3 I found Serpentario (Snakes and lizards) the most impressive exhibition. The other two, especially butterfly garden, were kind of disappointing as we did not see enough interesting species to make our $8 entrance fee well spent.
- Road Trip
The stray dogs in this city are the best! Short little compact things who are extremely friendly and always happy for a pet! Try one out!
Hike The Forest
Admission is only by groups and you must use a guide. There are lots of snakes you will pass so just stay with the guide and you will have lots of safe fun.
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