Cloud forest in Costa Rica is one of the main attractions from the country with its lush vegetation, suspension bridges, and zip lines hidden inside the dense canopy.
This type of forest is extremely rare, only 1% of the total woodlands of Earth is populated by it and it can be found only in the subtropical and tropical regions where there are proper conditions for a consistent cloud cover environment.
The name of Costa Rica cloud forest comes from the fact that these forests are constantly covered by some kind of fog that condenses on the leaves and trees and drops onto the plants from the ground.
When you are up in the canopy on the suspended bridges you feel like walking through the clouds and you feel like you are on another planet.
The most beautiful Costa Rican cloud forest is located in the Central Highlands and is considered to be the most scenic part of the country.
The mountains from this area are surrounded by coffee plantations and beautiful Costa Rica cloud forest, a great home for many species of plants and animals.
Inside these forests, you will find more than 450 species of orchids, bromeliads, and ferns and from the suspended bridges you can observe colorful birds that hide in the canopy.
Costa Rica s cloud forest reserves are home to a large number of species of birds and impressive flora and fauna.
The high level of humidity from the Costa Rica cloud forest creates the perfect habitat for many plants and trees that are specialized in collecting the nutrients and moisture from the rain and air.
There are many species of plants and animals that live only in these types of forests that divide the American continent in half.
Unfortunately because of global warming, specialists estimate that the degree of humidity from these forests will decrease and the temperatures will rise.
Because of this phenomenon, some of the plants and animals from here will disappear if they cannot adapt to the new reality.
Spread across the country there are plenty of cloud forests, some of these are smaller and less popular while others are real Gardens of Eden for fauna and flora.
Let’s discover together which are the most beautiful and popular cloud forests in Costa Rica and why you should include them in your travel list.
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Best Costa Rica cloud forest
Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica
Definitely, the most famous Costa Rica cloud forest is Monteverde located just 3 hours from San Jose, the perfect place for a day trip from Costa Rica’s capital.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was set up in 1972 and comprises an initial surface of 329 ha (809 acres) and was extended up to 14.190 ha ( 35.080 acres) as it has today.
The protected area is located in the southwestern part of the Arenal Volcano in the mountains known as Cordillera de Tilaran.
This beautiful forest has the highest number of orchids, more than 100 species of animals, 1200 species of amphibians and reptiles, and more than 410 species of birds.
On the ground, you might come face to face with jaguars, pumas, margays, and ocelots but keep an eye on the canopy to spot resplendent quetzal or three wattled bellbirds.
The protected area has many trails, suspended bridges, and zip lines that allow you to enter deep into this habitat.
There are more than 14 kilometers ( 8.5 miles) of trails that are very well maintained and very popular among tourists, so be there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
The opening hours are between 7.30 a.m to 1.30 p.m and bring with you a raincoat, hiking shoes as well as water, insect repellent and a good camera for some memorable photos.
The town of Santa Elena is a great place for a short stop after visiting Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica as you can find here restaurants, a butterfly garden and a small museum, and a gallery.
Santa Elena offers a few interesting options for those of you interested in spending the night in the area, but the one I like most and has a great price-quality ratio is Monteverde Lodge and Gardens.
It is nestled in the middle of nature, just 15 minutes by car from the Monteverde area and Santa Elena Cloud Forest reserve, and features amazing rooms overlooking the forest or the gardens, an incredible restaurant as well as top-notch services.
Read here more about Monteverde cloud forest and what you can see and do around.
Los Angeles Cloud Forest Costa Rica
Less popular than Monteverde Cloud forest but equally beautiful, Los Angeles Cloud Forest is a unique habitat with its own microclimate which is generally met on higher altitudes.
The air currents that come from the Northern Plains meet the ones from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific ocean and determine a rare climate that is generally specific to higher altitudes.
This beautiful protected area is located very close to San Jose, only one hour and 30 minutes drive from the main Costa Rican city.
Los Angeles Cloud Forest protected area has a total surface of almost 1995 acres and is home to more than 350 species of birds, amphibians, and plants.
Inside the protected area there are many trails that are extremely accessible to everybody and guided tours are available for better spotting the fauna and flora of the area.
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Horseback riding, as well as birdwatching tours, can be bought from local agents and locals, while Arenal Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens are located quite close to the Los Angeles cloud forest.
Located 15 kilometers away from the Los Angeles cloud forest, The Retreat Costa Rica is one of the best resorts in the country.
This 5-star resort is nestled in the middle of the forest and features elegant rooms with breathtaking views of the forest, an outdoor pool, and a great spa.
The restaurant from the resort is one of the best, serving healthy food prepared from local ingredients and organic wines.
Discover here more useful information about the secret Los Angeles cloud forest Costa Rica.
Bajos Del Toro Cloud Forest in Costa Rica
Another perfect destination for day trips from San Jose, Bajos Del Toro Cloud forest is located in Alajuela Province from the Central Valley right near Poas Volcano national park and Viejo Volcano.
There are not many roads to this Costa Rica cloud forest and this makes this protected area a very private experience for nature lovers, hikers, and bird enthusiasts from all over the world.
Bajos Del Toro is home to many ecosystems like natural pools, mountain streams, waterfalls, and forests that hide many species of plants and animals.
There are trails well maintained across the park that allows visitors to enter deep inside the tropical forest to discover its mysteries.
This part of the country offers many exciting experiences like horseback riding tours, zip line tours, waterfall rappelling as well as mountain biking, and whitewater rafting.
Hidden in the middle of the cloud forest, El Silencio Lodge and Spa is a very famous eco-lodge that features elegant rooms with views of the forest, a wonderful spa as well as yoga and meditation classes.
The on-site restaurant serves local and international dishes prepared with vegetables from their own garden and organic herbs.
Discover more interesting information about the hidden world of Bajos del Toro cloud forest in Costa Rica.
Cloud forest in Costa Rica is a unique habitat that can be found in only a few other countries in the world and fascinates visitors with its abundance of animals and plants.
The best time to visit this ecosystem is during the dry season, from December to April but even if it is dry season take with you a raincoat as cloud forest has its own microclimate.
You definitely have to book at least one day for a ziplining tour and for experiencing what this rare habitat has to offer and end your day on one of the resorts indicated above, a true oasis of tranquility and relaxation.
Plan your trip to this beautiful place: Logistical tips and tricks
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Rentalcars. com as they have free cancellation 24 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.