Highlights and main attractions of Monteverde & Santa Elena Cloud Forests
Forming part of the central highlands, an expanse of undulating countryside that spreads as far east as Volcan Arenal to the lowlands of Guanacaste in the west, the luscious and fertile hill country of this region makes it one of Costa Rica’s most enticing for walking, hiking and exploring its natural world highlights. The corridor of settlements that comprises Monteverde and Santa Elena is surrounded by a swathe of famous cloud forests, which generally sit at an altitude of around 1500 metres above sea level and protect a variety of flora and fauna within the spectacular two reserves of the region.
The towns of Santa Elena and Monteverde form two of the most populated areas of the highlands and are the starting points for visits into the two main reserves, the original Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve which was established in 1954 by Quakers and the more recently formed Santa Elena Rainforest Reserve in 1992. Both are models for environmental sustainability and eco-tourism, and heading en route to Monteverde via steep and snaking dirt roads from the international highway, one almost feels as though tourism has not reached these lofty parts, but both Santa Elena and Monteverde are excellent centres with spectacular settings and wide-ranging facilities.
Some of the most enticing areas in Costa Rica for hiking and exploring.