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Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve (Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena)
Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve (Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena)

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve (Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena)

Guanacaste Province, Santa Elena

The Basics

Dedicated to protecting the fragile cloud forest ecosystem, the Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena restricts the number of visitors to 160 people each day. This daily cap is quickly reached, so advance booking is essential. Once inside, you can explore the reserve’s top trails on a guided hiking tour or see the forest from above on a hanging bridge canopy tour or ziplining adventure.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • The unique cloud forest ecosystem is a must-see for nature lovers.

  • Bring rain gear—even if it's not raining the surroundings are constantly moist.

  • This reserve is less crowded than the nearby Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

  • Drop in for a self-guided walk or call/email the reserve to make reservations for a guided tour.

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How to Get There

The reserve is located 4 miles (7 kilometers) from the small town of Santa Elena and 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the popular tourist destination of Monteverde. The easiest way to reach the park is on a guided tour that includes hotel pickup and drop-off. If you want to visit in your own vehicle, take Route 619 from Santa Elena and then follow Route 606 to the reserve.

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When to Get There

The reserve is open daily from 7am to 4pm, and typically reaches its daily cap of 160 people by 10am. Thus, if you are not visiting on a tour, it is important to arrive before the have even opening in order to secure your spot.

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The Inhabitants of the Cloud Forest

The cloud forest’s moisture and nutrition-rich environment make it an ideal habitat for diverse flora and fauna. Alongside a wealth of mosses, ferns, flowers, vines, and trees, the forest also provides a habitat for mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, and amphibians. You can hope to spot three-toed sloths, howler monkeys, quetzal, and toucans. Plus, keep an eye out for venomous and non-venomous snakes and spiders.

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