MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST BIOLOGICAL RESERVE
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve spans the Tilaran Mountain Range, on the Continental Divide in Costa Rica. A "green mountain" is what the traveler encounters at the end of the 1 ½ hour trip up the steep dusty road that veers to the Northeast off of the Inter-American Highway. The Reserve is a life sanctuary of nearly 5,000 hectares.
The number of visitors to the Reserve has risen consistently from 471 in 1974 to 3,100 in 1980, to 17,500 in 1989, to 40,000 in 1991, to 50,000 in 1993 and to 70,000 in 2005. The income derived from entrance fees and charges for scientific research provides the budget to cover the cost of all administrative, managerial, security and educational expenses.
It is the most famous cloud forest reserve in the world and one of the most important protected areas in Costa Rica. It is visited by nature lovers from various countries desiring to enjoy, appreciate and study the abundant biodiversity of its ecosystems.
The Reserve has a managing Plan, updated in 2005, which is a basic programming tool for ensuring area conservation goals continue to be met. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve has earned its fame as one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in the New World Tropics. Positioned atop the Continental Divide in Northwestern Costa Rica, the Preserve extends down both the Caribbean and Pacific slopes.
The resultant combination of climatic and geographic factors creates temperature and humidity gradients which change dramatically over relatively short distances. The elevation varies from about 800 meters in the lowest reaches of the Peñas Blancas river, to 1842 m. at the top of Cerro Tres Amigos.
The Preserve supports four different bioclimatic communities (Life Zones). There are over 100 species of mammals, more than 400 species of birds, 120 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 3000 species of plants (among them 500 different kinds of orchids), as well as tens of thousands of insect species. Spectacular wildlife includes the Jaguar,Ocelot, Baird's Tapir, Threewattled Bellbird, Barenecked Umbrellabird and Resplendent Quetzal.