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Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Cloud Forests

Costa Rica is home to diverse habitats with an incredible variety of plants and animal species. Over 880 bird species, 90,000 recorded species of plants, 200 mammals, 2,000 butterflies as well as 50 species of hummingbirds and 150 species of amphibians and more.

There are 12 distinctive ecological zones from dry forest to mangroves to tropical rainforests and many of these species reside in the cloud forests of Monteverde and San Gerardo de Dota, a must for those looking for a birding holiday to Costa Rica.

Skywalk, Monteverde, Senda Monteverde Hotel, Costa Rica
Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde

Preservation of the remarkable forest of Monteverde is largely thanks to a community of Quakers who left the USA to avoid military conscription in the 1950s and settled in this highlands area of Costa Rica. They very soon realised that conserving the forest was crucial to the protection of the area’s watershed. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was officially established in 1972. Despite the effort needed to reach Monteverde (a long drive, poor roads) it has become a leading destination for eco-tourism and bird watchers flock there between February and April in hope to see the resplendent quetzal.

Rainbow View, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

San Gerardo de Dota

For those looking for something more low key, San Gerardo de Dota is a great alternative. Of course, where there are no crowds, variety of accommodation can be limited but located in the highlands of the Talamanca Mountains San Gerardo de Dota is referred to as the emerald valley and is one of Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets.

San Gerardo de Dota is at a high altitude, approximately 2,200 metres above sea level, and therefore the climate is much cooler and wetter with daytime temperatures reaching around 20 Celsius. The small town was founded in 1952 as a small agricultural settlement, growing Cubano beans and fruits such as apples and peaches. The picturesque terrain is ideal for nature hikes, well-maintained trails fan out from most lodges, offering leisurely hikes through meadows of wildflowers.

Blue-crowned Motmot, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Blue-crowned Motmot, Costa Rica

Our Specialists 'Must Do'

A nocturnal nature tour is a magical experience that opens the door to a completely different appreciation of the forest environment. The sights, sounds and smells are very different to those during the day and accompanying guides will expertly draw attention to snakes, tree frogs, porcupines, agoutis, blue-crowned mot mots and hole-dwelling tarantulas, among other creatures of the night.

It’s not just the cloud forest that Monteverde is known for. It is also home to one of the best cheese companies in Costa Rica, the Monteverde Cheese Factory. The cloud forest of San Gerardo de Dota is considered the best location to see quetzals.

Experiences

Chocolate Making

Discover how to make chocolate, from bean to bar.

Stay in an Eco-Lodge

Tucked into the forest canopy, stay in an eco-lodge with views of the ocean below.

Outdoor Pursuits

Take part in a wide variety of outdoor adventures, from kayaking, tubing and wildlife trails to snorkelling and fishing.

La Flor Wildlife Refuge

Visit La Flor Wildlife Refuge and watch thousands of turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.

Chocolate Tasting

Toledo is a chocolate lovers haven. Sitting at the heart of Belize’s chocolate industry, a tour allows you to sample the finest cacao in its purest form.

Hiking in Nicaragua

Hike through the forest where monkeys roar from the tree canopy.

Toledo’s Archaeological Sites

Visit the archaeological sites of Lubaantun, home of the famous ‘crystal skull’, and Nim Li Punit with tallest stelae in Belize.

Ash Boarding

Travel down the slopes of Cerro Negro volcano on an ash board.

Cave Exploration

Going Underground – dip into an ancient network of caves that were sacred places for the Maya

Akwadup Lodge

Stay at Akwadup Lodge on a deserted island.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

James Armitage

Visiting the Osa Peninsular, one of the top wildlife biospheres in the world, and seeing a pod of 30 humpback whales while snorkelling in the waters of Costa Rica are amongst James’s highlights of Costa Rica.
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John Faithfull

Costa Rica is simply the best spot in Central America for nature lovers, and is always John’s top recommendation for those wishing to hike, swim, zip, raft, ride or float through outstanding scenery and rich biodiversity.
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  • 01285 601 784

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

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