Lush jungle, treetop walkways and ethereal mist are all waiting in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica. This biological preserve is home to jaguars, hummingbirds and capuchin monkeys, so book a guided tour, or explore on your own.
Let us do the hard work for you; book yourself on a nine-day group trip with a local insider that takes you to all Costa Rica’s hidden spots.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Why visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve?
Established in 1972, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve boasts no less than six ecosystems, with an estimated 100 species of mammal, 490 species of butterfly and 400 species of bird, and a total of 2,500 species of flora and fauna. Many endemic species aren’t found anywhere else on earth, such as the colourful fiery-throated hummingbird and the oddly named highland fringe-limbed treefrog. For wildlife lovers, there’s no finer place to be.
What is a cloud forest?
Shrouded in warm mist, it’s not difficult to see how cloud forests get their name. It feels as if the sky has descended into the forest; the clouds condense onto the lush foliage and drip onto the plants below, like a natural terrarium. The moist warmth of the forest encourages unparalleled biodiversity and the water produced from the slow drip-drip of the plants is invaluable to neighbouring villages as a water supply.
Which animals can be found in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve?
The reserve is one of the few remaining habitats where you can find all six species of the cat family – jaguars, ocelots, pumas, oncillas, margays and jaguarundis. We highly recommend you join a guided tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve to navigate your way through this wildlife wonderland. This way, you’re supporting local communities and getting the best possible experience in this tropical paradise.
For bird spotters, getting up early for a dawn tour is a must. Hundreds of rare birds call the reserve home, including the endangered three-wattled bellbird with its loud “bong” of a call and the resplendent quetzal with its ostentatious red-and-green plumage. There are no less than 30 types of hummingbird to find, and your guide will be able to take you to just the right place for the best chance to spot them.
And it’s not just birds you can spot here. Howler, spider and capuchin monkeys swing through the dense foliage, and cute little kinkajous, olingos and two-toed sloths are just some of the tree-dwelling creatures you can tick off your list.
How to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Only 450 people are allowed inside the reserve each day, and only 250 at any one time, so make sure you book ahead.
While in the forest, we recommend you wear lightweight long trousers; make sure to pack a raincoat and under-layers. Hiking boots are best for traversing the often wet, slippery terrain. Keep your flip-flops for the hotel pool!
You can discover the forest in a number of ways, from hiking on trails, canopy walkways and vertigo-inducing rope bridges, to horse riding through the magical mist. More adventurous travellers can fly through the treetops on a network of zip wires.
It’s predicted that the climate crisis could have a devastating effect on the cloud forests of Costa Rica. Rising temperatures will lead to the forests’ natural cycles changing, and possibly even drying up completely. Supporting conservation efforts is paramount to the survival of these ecosystems. Using local guides and putting the environment first is vital, both at home and abroad.
Where to stay in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Alternatively, for a more local experience, stay at Los Pinos Cabins and Gardens. The family here have Monteverde running through their veins. They offer a rustic retreat in the heart of the cloud forest. Harvest your own vegetables from their hydroponic garden and sit among the treetops while you eat, spotting the monkeys wandering through the grounds.
If you’d like a little more luxury, opt for the elegant Hotel Fonda Vela. It’s the perfect base for exploring the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Large picture windows offer a unrivalled view of the lush, green forest and a heated pool is a welcome way to unwind after a day of adventures in the jungle.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.