Day 2: Monteverde - Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden
Savor an early morning cup of Costa Rican coffee and a hearty breakfast before hopping in the van with your guide for the 1.5 hour ride to Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden. Located 80 km Northwest of San Jose, it is the centerpiece of 104 hectares (257 acres) of primary and secondary forest. With few exceptions, most of the plants featured in the horticultural observation area are from the preserve and its immediate surroundings. Some of the plants in the design are included as pure aesthetic elements, others for their importance in medicinal, indigenous and cultural uses. A small number of changing exhibits highlight scientific information on the ecology of the cloud forest.
Beyond the garden, the remaining biological preserve is restricted to scientific field research carried out by a non-profit organization, the Nectandra Institute. Current scientific activities include botanic inventory, 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. They differ in length and terrain. Both walks are suited to visitors in good health. The “Leisure Walk” is approximately four hours, through dense forest and undulating terrain. In addition to information offered by the naturalist guide along the way, visitors will have ample opportunity to hear the sounds of the forest, observe the fauna and flora, and experience the serenity of the place. The “Wilderness Walk” takes about five hours at a moderate pace and is also led by a naturalist guide. This hike winds through primary forest and visitors will encounter steeper trails.
After a typical Tico lunch at the gardens, continue onward to the Monteverde area (3 hour drive, the last 2 hours of which are on a winding gravel road). Overnight at Monteverde Lodge.