Monteverde Travel Guide
Monteverde, which in Spanish means "Green Mountain," could not have been more aptly named, for here is Costa Rica's ecotourism central, smack in the middle of one of the country's most pristine and lush regions. It is home to the planet's most prized rain and cloud forests, not least among them the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve which naturalists extol as an ecological gem and which National Geographic once described as "the jewel in the crown of cloud forest reserves." The Monteverde area itself is centered around the tiny pastoral community of Santa Elena, a village, no more, tucked into the steep Tilarán mountain range in the Puntarenas province, and with a growing awareness of the area's mushrooming tourism.
Monteverde is situated more or less in the center of Costa Rica, about a four-hour drive from Costa Rica's Central Valley. The nearest major airport is the Juan Santamaria International in San José, 140 miles distant.
Monteverde's principal draw is of course the Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Preserve, a 10,500-hectare nature wonderland with six distinct ecological zones and a foggy forest at an elevation of 4,662 feet (1,440 meters), bordered by the Santa Elena and Children’s rainforests as well as the Arenal and San Ramón forests, and visited by over 70,000 people each year. Other than that, Monteverde is famous for its dairy products, primarily its excellent cheeses, which can be sampled at the locally renowned Productores de Monteverde Cheese Factory in Santa Elena. There are also a handful of insect museums, butterfly gardens and serpentariums here, and a host of outdoor activities in the area, including zip-lines, single-track mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding.
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