Cloudy with a Chance of Rainforest: My Trip to Monteverde, Costa Rica

I’ve worked as a freelance travel writer for the past year, and while working hard meant that I really didn’t get to do much traveling myself, I did do a significant amount of research on Costa Rica and all the tourism opportunities it offers. During my year here, I’ve been to beaches and written about even more beaches, but the one place I really really wanted to go was the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Santa Elena, Costa Rica.

There are a lot of tropical paradises in the world. I’ve visited Florida, California, St. Thomas, Mexico, Belize, and the Bahamas (really briefly). But when do you EVER have the chance to go to a Cloud Forest? Santa Elena was the one place on my list that I knew I HAD to visit before I left for home.

I planned an overnight trip from San Jose to Santa Elena, and I was pretty thrilled with how it turned out. For one, it only set me back about $60. Two, I had a sufficient amount of time to visit the Cloud Forest Reserve, take an Orchid Garden tour, and even find a waterfall. The bus ride, round trip, to Santa Elena and back only cost $10. Can’t beat that. My awesome private room at a hostel only cost me $15.

The whole trip was so incredible, it made me sad that I didn’t try to travel more while I was here in Costa Rica. Still, as my final exploration, it was a dream come true. Check out some of the photos:

Welcome to Santa Elena

The view from the mountains all the way to the Nicoya Penninsula
A cappibarra on the path at the reserve
They don't call it the Cloud Forest for nuthin
A nice hiker took this picture of me. The wind up in the mountains was INTENSE!
Suspended bridge in the Monteverde Cloud Reserve
The Cloud Forest is immense
View over the edge
Me on the bridge

I left San Jose at 6:30am and got to Santa Elena by 11am. By 1:30pm I was wandering the Cloud Forest, where I got blasted with chilly mountain winds and rained on. After a cold but wonderful afternoon, I took the Santa Elena bus back to the “Sleepers Sleep Cheaper” hostel, where I took what might possibly have been the best hot shower of my life.

Not bad for $15

The next day I woke up early, got a free hostel breakfast, and hiked up the mountain in search of a waterfall…

The trail sign for the waterfall
Crazy make-shift bridge I crossed to get to the waterfall
And there it was...
It was so gorgeous in person


Technically, I was supposed to pay for a tour to see this beautiful waterfall. However, because I got there at 8am, there was no one charging entry to the trail, and I walked it for free. (And thereby proved that the early bird does, in fact, get the worm.) Once I found the waterfall, I headed back into Santa Elena for a quick Orchid Garden tour and lunch before I caught the bus back to San Jose.

These orchids grow in the canopy of the Cloud Forest


These orchids are Costa Rica's official flower


All in all, I had an incredible trip to Monteverde. I saw everything I wanted to see and had the chance to visit a truly unique ecosystem. Cloud forests are extremely rare in the world, and now I’ve had the chance to visit one. This was by far the most amazing trip I took while in Costa Rica.

I’m glad I saved the best for last.

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