Just three and a half hours or so northwest of San José, Costa Rica‘s capital and site of the main international airport, is a unique mountain community. Monteverde, with its main town Santa Elena, is the site of a large protected swath of land, including the cloud forest the area is best known for. This is a type of high-altitude rain forest where the clouds sweep through the trees, leaving a lush, moisture-rich environment. Trees are covered in orchids, moss, and bromeliads. And species like three-toed sloths, capuchin monkeys, and the elusive resplendent quetzal make their home here.
It’s a great place to visit for hikes in the rain forest, cool nights on the mountain, and stunning vistas. And a close-knit expat community has grown up over the years, including retirees and tourism business owners.
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In the video below, International Living Costa Rica Editor Jason Holland explores the cloud forest in Monteverde and meets some local residents on the trail.