Just a 20-minute drive from CIEE’s Global Institute in Monteverde, study abroad students can visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Established in 1972, this tropical forest is a 26,000-acre biodiverse reserve located along the Cordillera de Tilarán in Costa Rica. Home to 2,500 plant species, 100 species of mammals, 400 different types of birds, thousands of insects, and 120 species of reptiles and amphibians, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has sights and wonders unlike anywhere else in the world.
Why make the trek to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve? Here are a few reasons:
- The animals. Along your walk you might see different types of birds, snakes, and possibly monkeys or sloths. No day is the same in the cloud forest, so you aren’t guaranteed to see specific animals out and about at any given time. Make sure you’re always on the lookout so you can catch sight of an animal at a quick glance!
- The insects. You’re bound to come across insects of every variety during your tour of the reserve. Bees, flies, spiders, and even beetles are typically found somewhere along the paths.
- The plants. Take note of the plants all around you. With 2,500 different species in the forest, you’re definitely going to see flora and fauna you've never come across before. From colorful flowers, to brilliant green leaves, to towering trees, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take in the forest's many plants.
- The hanging bridge. Take a walk on the hanging red bridge, if you dare. It’s a touch shaky and there’s a limit to how many pedestrians can walk it at the same time, but it’s perfectly safe and secure. Along your walk you’ll enjoy an aerial view of the forest below and incredible sounds of different birds chirping. You will actually feel like you’re walking in a cloud with each step you take through the hazy mist.
Please follow these safety tips:
- Utilize the resource of a tour guide, if possible. The guides at the reserve have so much knowledge about the forest, and they're there to teach you all about this incredible environment. The guides are also very mindful of your safety, and are available to answer questions you might have.
- Never stray from the trails. It can be very unsafe to leave the main trails, as you could trip, fall, or even happen upon an animal. Not only is it unsafe, but to best protect the environment, pedestrians must only walk on the existing trails. Please remember this during your tour.
Remember to pack:
- Bug spray and sunblock to protect any exposed skin.
- A bottle of water to keep hydrated.
- A rain coat to protect yourself from the elements.
Proper footwear, such as a pair of sneakers with traction or even boots. The trails can be very muddy and you could happen upon bugs on the trails, so you’ll want to have proper footwear.