Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is a top hiking destination!

A stream in Monteverde Cloud Forest near Ficus Lodge

Hot off the press! CNN Travel has just announced 23 of the world's best hiking trails, and Monteverde Cloud Forest is on this coveted list of trails that allow their walkers and hikers to get up close to nature and enjoy the landscapes and the adventure. So let´s understand more about the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and how Ficus Sunset Suites can be part of the fun!

Ficus Sunset Suites is located not far from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. With 20 deluxe rooms, each with its private terrace or balcony, adding additional space to an already airy suite and offering picturesque views of the Gulf of Nicoya or the hotel´s private forest.

What did CNN say about the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve?

CNN beautifully summed up the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve (MCFBR) 's beauty!

“Costa Rica's rich biodiversity is best explored in the high cloud forests of Monteverde.

The reserve has a series of well-marked paths ideal for those keen on an easy stroll with the chance to see the area's striking bird life and flora up close without having to pack for a multi-day hike. Orchids, ferns, and mosses abound, with the chance of seeing a brightly colored quetzal flying high above the trees.”

Of course, everything CNN said about this mystical, magical forest is true too! The reserve has a variety of trails of difficulty and length. Still, it is beautiful to feel the forest truly and do serious bird, animal, and plant observations. And yes, the resplendent quetzal is a delight!

So, what is a Cloud Forest?

A cloud forest is found in tropical regions where the clouds traverse the mountain ranges. When cloud cover occurs for extended periods of time, the unique design and composition of the biodiversity of the cloud forest are sculpted.

Lush, evergreen vegetation and a myriad flora and fauna make up the cloud forest landscape, creating a natural wonderland that is embraced by clouds and mist that add personality and mystery to your hikes and exploration.

A cloud forest is a type of rainforest found at higher altitudes than rainforests at lower elevations. Thanks to this key difference, cloud forests are cooler and filled with mist and fog giving this type of forest its name. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is a perfect example of a cloud forest.

As National Geographic Expeditions described the cloud forest “…otherworldly beauty.”

Where is the Reserve?

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve is located on the Tilaran mountain range at an elevation of 1500 meters (5000 feet) above sea level. The Tilaran Mountain Range is between the Guanacaste and the Central Volcanic Mountain Ranges, all a section of the Continental Divide.

It is one of the many conservation initiatives in the Monteverde area and part of a reserve network that attracts thousands of nature lovers, researchers, and eco-tourism enthusiasts annually.  Many of these reserves exist thanks to the Monteverde community members who, many years ago, decided to protect the cloud forest by purchasing large pockets of the cloud forest.

The reserve covers an area of 4125 hectares of beautiful forest and is home to 425 species of birds, 120 species of mammals, 60 species of amphibians, and 101 species of reptiles. You can also see over 650 species of butterflies! This is a place of abundance, and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has been fundamental in conserving and preserving the cloud forest flora and fauna.

How many trails does it have?

The Reserve has over 13km of well-maintained trails for eager hikers and walkers.  Enjoy the walks, observation decks, and even a waterfall while exploring the reserve.  Many are easy, others are more challenging, but all of them will give hikers fantastic opportunities to enjoy the cloud forest and the views and get a sense of the mystery of the forest.

You have the opportunity to explore the trails on your own or hire the expert services of a naturalist guide.  The reserve guides know this cloud forest like the back of their hands and are familiar with the best places to spot birds, animals, and flora. They are passionate about the forest, the biodiversity that inhabits its floor and canopy, and the opportunity to share their knowledge with fellow nature lovers.

Who runs the Reserve?
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is run by the Tropical Science Center, the first Costa Rican non-government environmental organization. This center dedicated its efforts to conservation, research, ecotourism, and sustainable development initiatives in Costa Rica was established in 1962.

The Tropical Science Center not only manages an ecotourism project and has several environmental education and volunteer programs. With climate change a constant threat to the well-being of the cloud forest, education is a critical way of sharing important information about how we can protect the cloud forest with sustainable practices.

Flora y Fauna, there are lots!

More than 3200 plants have been identified in Monteverde, which is a lot! However, the ideal humidity levels and shaded forest floors have created the perfect conditions for the growth and evolution of epiphytes, a Monteverde favorite.

It also has more than 700 species of trees and an incredible 500 species of orchids, making it one of the most orchid-rich places on Earth. In addition, many of the plants you will observe and enjoy while exploring Monteverde are endemic, meaning they are native to this region.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve offers visitors great tours to explore flora and fauna. There are special tours for birdwatchers and early risers when birds are more active and a night walk that gives nature lovers a whole new perspective on the cloud forest. Many animals that call the cloud forest home are nocturnal, so it is the perfect opportunity to see them awake and in movement.

Ficus Sunset Suites is a proud Monteverde community member that strives to conserve the magnificent yet delicate cloud forest. We invite you to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve during your visit to this sanctuary in the clouds and discover its magic. Let Ficus Sunset Suites be part of your journey!