Look for poison dart frogs and other Monteverde residents
Today begins with a visit to the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a complex of suspended bridges and trails through a beautiful rainforest. The lush vegetation contains palms, heliconias, and tall trees that you will view from every angle as you meander along the trails and the bridges. From some of the bridges, there are also panoramic views of nearby Arenal Volcano. As you walk through the forest, you may encounter a variety of the forest wildlife, including toucans, motmots, trogons, poison dart frogs, howling monkeys, spider monkeys, and white-faced capuchin monkeys.
Then, step out of the forest and onto a boat for a lake crossing that will take you to the Monteverde region, where you'll explore villages as well as the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
The communities outside the reserve include Monteverde, Cerro Plano, and Santa Elena. The small mountain farms of these towns are owned by “campesinos” (country farmers) who grow a variety of crops. The most important farm products are organic coffee (which can be purchased in local stores) and milk for the local Monteverde Cheese Factory, which has been producing a variety of high-quality cheeses since shortly after Quakers from the United States settled the area in the 1950s.
Throughout the communities are a large selection of restaurants, as well as visitor attractions such as butterfly gardens, horse rentals, treetop forest canopy tours, an orchid garden, art galleries, and an excellent educational bat exhibit.
Nature abounds in this region, with the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve protecting a mountain forest characterized by majestic trees densely covered by thick, wet and heavy “carpets” of epiphytes, including orchids and wild relatives of familiar tropical house plants such as philodendrons, ferns, and ficus trees.
The beautiful Resplendent Quetzal spends about half the year here and the forest is home to hundreds of other bird and mammal species. This private reserve has been intensely studied by scientists since its founding in 1972, and is the site of important pioneering research on the effects of climate change in tropical ecosystems. Several resident biologists are renowned experts on tropical bats, plants, and amphibians.
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Hotel Trapp Family (or similar)