Savor an early morning cup of
Costa Rican coffee and enjoy a hearty breakfast before departing to the Nectandra
Cloud Forest Garden. Located 80 km northwest
of San Jose, this garden is the centerpiece of 104 hectares (257 acres) of
primary and secondary forest. Plants
featured in the horticultural observation area are from the preserve and its
immediate surroundings. Some of the
plants are featured as aesthetic elements while others are highlighted for
their importance in medicinal, indigenous and cultural uses. Temporary exhibits highlight scientific
information related to the ecology of the cloud forest.
Beyond the garden, the
remaining biological preserve is restricted to scientific field research
carried out by the Nectandra Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to
scientific research and community outreach programs promoting conservation of
cloud forests and stewardship of watershed ecosystems in northern Costa
Rica. Current scientific activities
include botanic inventory of prominent plant groups such as bryophytes, ferns,
bromeliads and orchids, preparation and identification of herbarium specimens
of dominant and unusual plants and investigation into the variables influencing
natural reforestation in cloud forests.
Two naturalist-guided tours are
available differing in both length and terrain. Be touched by the exuberance of life in the
cloud forest and experience the overwhelming sense of peace under the forest
canopy. A walk through the forest is not
a passive experience as you will take in sounds of the flora and fauna during
your journey along these well designed trails.
Enjoy a typical Tico lunch at the gardens featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables served to capture the diversity of fresh ingredients from local growers. Continue onward to the Monteverde Cloud Forest located in Costa Rica’s northern Tilaran Mountain Range at an altitude of 5,000 feet elevation on the continental divide between the Caribbean and the Pacific, approx. 3 hour drive. Take in the sunset over the Gulf of Nicoya as you savor local flavors at the hotel restaurant.