Voted as one of the seven wonders of Costa Rica, the cloud forest of Monte Verde is truly the unique place. This is where all the tourists fall in love with nature and scientists try to understand its rich biodiversity. The cloud forests of Monteverde are very beautiful, but what are they really?
A cloud forest is a type of rain forest, but as mentioned earlier, they are unique in that they can only be found in a couple places in the world. These are complex ecosystems that can only survive in a specific tropical mountain areas. Also, because of their high altitude, most of the time they are in the middle of the clouds and hence, instead of rain you have water being deposited directly on the leaves of the trees. In the higher parts of the cloud forests, there is a constant dripping of water from the leaves, making it a perfect environment for plants and animals to survive. When you pay a visit, you will be taken aback by the sheer amount of life that abounds there. You would find trees everywhere, and on each tree you would find other plants, ferns, flowers, and mosses as well.
There are over 755 species of trees in the Monteverde area and it is likely that even more will be found. It is said that the ferns (358 species) get so big that they can sometimes be mistaken for trees. There are always around 40 - 50 species of trees bearing fruit at any time, which creates a food rich environment for the birds and different types of mammals, which make fruit as their primary food source. These are also the favorite places for the person who likes to go birding. There are over 425 species of birds and some of them are so rare and elusive that, to get a glimpse of them can be very interesting indeed. It should be noted that, some of the birds are not permanent settlers and they visit at a particular time of the year only.
You can also find mammal species abound and thrive in the area. There are six different species of big cats and believe it or not, there are 68 species of bats that live in the cloud forests and the surrounding area. Not to mention the howler monkeys, fox, sloths, armadillos and much more. However, there is a little bit of worrying going on these days about the apparent decline in the number of reptiles and amphibians. There used to be around 101 species of these lifeforms, but now scientist are finding it harder to keep track of them, because they are shrinking in numbers and becoming more elusive. There is even a type of famous frog called the Golden Toad, which they say, is now extinct.
The cloud forests of Costa Rica are hot spots for tourism. It not only gives the economy a big boost, but it also provides jobs and a living for the people that work for the reserve. The cloud forests of Monteverde are beautiful, unique and mysterious. They are home to many types of animals and plants and even if you only go there once in a lifetime, it will be an experience that will never be forgotten!