Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
Scientists and explorers alike are drawn to Monteverde’s virgin forests, where the lingering clouds ensure a mysterious haze and the verdant trees teem with life. Covering more than 26,000 acres along the Cordillera de Tilaran’s remarkable range, this is a place that is home to over 2,500 plant species, with tall trees that reach to the skies, delicate orchids that dot the valleys, and ferns, vines and mosses that cover the green forest floor.
This unspoilt Costa Rican cloud forest is renowned for its biodiversity, and countless mammal, reptile, avian and insect species call Monteverde home. Listen for rare bird calls and look out for big cats, with six species — jaguars, ocelots, oncillas, margays and jaguarundis — all known to prowl here. Founded in 1972, the reserve here draws 70,000 visitors a year, yet careful management and preservation ensures that all remains wild and the experience is as authentic as ever.