Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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My first visit to Costa Rica did not include the Monteverde Cloud Forest, so it was first up on my radar after landing at Juan Santamaria Airport in Alajuela. After a night at the Alajuela Backpackers, we jumped a bus to Monteverde at 7 a.m. – no small feat after an extended happy hour at the rooftop bar in our hostel. We were told the bus was 6 blocks away, but when we got there we were told it was another 6 blocks. We ended up jumping a cab and paying $5.00 for a 5 minute ride. The three hour bus trip only cost $3.00 a person. So it goes when you don’t know exactly where you are going.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

A few of the Monteverde Cloud Forest while approaching by road

Related: Hiking Santa Elena Rainforest in a driving rain

First stop is Monteverde Cloud Forest

Costa Rica has a fantastic bus system. It is very affordable and safe. I would keep an eye on your bag at all times, but you should do that anywhere. The seats were comfy and roomy enough for our trip to Monteverde. We arrived in the bus station, hailed another $5.00 bus to our hotel – the La Colina Lodge. The lodge was only 1 kilometer from the entrance to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. We checked in and got situated. My friend opted for a zipline tour while I decided I needed to explore the rainforest ASAP.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Walking the road from LaColina Lodge to the Monteverde Cloud Forest

No need for a $5.00 cab from here. I took off on foot and within a half hour I was at the gates greeted by a coati. The entrance fee is $18.00 and the reserve closes at 5 p.m. so get there early. I read in one guidebook that they cap the number of people in the reserve, so if you are here during the high season from Christmas through April, you really want to get started early. I was here in the ending of the rainy season and before the busy or high season, so there was no problem entering the reserve.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

The entrance to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Hiking Monteverde

There are probably about 6-8 miles of trails that circle the reserve. They are incredibly well maintained and well marked, so a guide is unnecessary from a fear of getting lost standpoint. It always helps to have one though as they are trained at spotting animals and birds.

Monteverde Cloud Forest coati

Greeted by a coati at the gates of the park

On the first trail there is a waterfall less than a half mile away from the entrance. I saw a lot of people on this part of the trail, but after that I felt like I had the reserve to myself. There were times I went hours without seeing people on the loop trails on the far end of the park.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

It seemed only a few colors existed inside the forest besides green

Incredibly lush rainforest

I have been to rainforests and jungles in Thailand, Borneo, and Guyana, but I have never seen such amazing vegetation and such vibrant green as I did in Monteverde and Santa Elena. This was my first time in a rainforest during the rainy season, and I was completely in awe. The rainy season technically ends in Costa Rica in November, but Monteverde is at a higher elevation and a misty rain is still common in December, so the forest is still in full steroid green mode. December is also the windy season, so the mist was blowing horizontally at times.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

The trees in Monteverde were absolutely amazing

Besides the amazing vegetation, I saw two coatis, a black guan, an agouti, and a few hummingbirds. Monteverde has a full array of mammals and exotic birds, but you really need to get up early and perhaps get a guide to have the best opportunity to see macaws, toucans, and the prized resplendent quetzal. Even though I did not see a lot of birds and mammals, I was not disappointed. As you can see from the photos, the main attraction in Monteverde is the flora.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Photo Essay

Monteverde Cloud Forest

More trees at Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Definitely the greenest place I have ever visited

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Coati Costa Rica

A second coati sighting

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Waterfall Costa Rica

Beautiful cascading waterfall through a sea of green

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Enjoying the beautiful scenery at the Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Spectacular foliage in the Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

The trail leading out from the waterfall

Monteverde Cloud Forest

One of the 70 species of flora found on the trees at Monteverde

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Power tree in the Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Well maintained trail through the Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

There is some elevation in Monteverde, but it is not too bad

Monteverde Cloud Forest

One of the few places where you have a view of the rainforest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

More of those 70 species of flora that lives on the trees

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

From the canopy walkway

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Even if there was a view, the overlook only showed mist, fog, and a few trees

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest from the canopy walkway

Adventure on!

The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then sign up for the email newsletter. Notifications are sent out once or twice a month with what is new with Traveling Ted’s adventures. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).

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