Founded in the 1950's by a group of Quakers from the U.S., Monteverde has gained international renown as one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in the tropics. The reserve spreads out over 10,500 hectares of land that hold six different life zones. The climate and terrain of the preserve produce an incredible bio-diversity.
There are at least 400 bird species in this high elevation rain forest, including the Resplendent Quetzal, ancient holy bird of the Mayans, over 100 species of mammals, 120 species of amphibians and reptiles and an estimated 2,500 species of plants making Monteverde a true "nature lover's paradise". The preserve has a definite wet and dry season, though the upper levels have fog and rain much of the year. Delicate orchids, more than 400 species, grace the limbs of majestic trees. Their captivating colors of whites, lilacs, and yellows contrast with the emerald green of the forest.
Aside from the preserve, some other places merit attention while you're staying in nearby Santa Elena. The Children's Eternal rain forest, the first international children's rain forest in the world, the Monteverde Butterfly Garden, and the Hummingbird Gallery are a must for those with a penchant for these winged, colored jewels of the forest, to name a few.
A novel and spectacular way to view the forest canopy without much physical effort is the "Skywalk". Some of the bridges hang suspended at over 130 feet making for truly spectacular views.
Monteverde Butterfly Garden
Nature center offering butterfly exhibits, as well as greenhouses and flyaway garden where over 40 species of butterflies are grown.
Santa Elena Reserve
A 900-acre reserve with seven miles of hiking trails located 3 miles northeast of the town of Santa Elena.
Don Juan Coffee Tour
At Don Juan Coffee Tour, experience the age-old coffee tradition through a unique tour of their coffee farms.
Children’s Eternal Forest
The first international children’s rain forest in the world – a group of Swedish school children raised money to buy a small plot of rain forest and turned it into a private 7,300 hectare reserve.
This exhibit of Costa Rican snakes is located in Santa Elena and is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Five tree-top hanging bridges connected from tree to tree, allowing more leisurely, less physical tour of cloud forest canopy.