The mist-shrouded Monteverde cloud forest and the adjacent, but smaller, Santa Elena reserve are home to a profusion of plant life and many species of butterflies, insects and birds, including resplendent quetzals. Reached along unpaved roads, these two reserves offer opportunities to hike along trails or stroll through the treetops on canopy walkways. A superb alternative experience away from the crowds is El Silencio Lodge & Spa, located in its own private reserve in the Bajos del Toro area of the Central Valley. The privately owned 800 hectares of Los Angeles Cloud Forest lies closer to San José, but attracts fewer visitors than Monteverde, while 2 hours south of San Jose lies the small cloud forest farming community of San Gerardo de Dota, home to resplendent quetzals, trogons and hummingbirds.
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Monteverde First designated in 1972, the cloud forest reserve of Monteverde is one of the main attractions in Costa Rica. It covers 26,000 acres and contains within it approximately 2,000 species of plants, 400 species of birds and 100 different species of animals, it also offers the opportunity to see a rare Quetzal, for which Costa Rica is famed.
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