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Central America Monteverde (Costa Rica)

Imagine you stand about a hundred meters above the earth. You walk among the tree tops. Their huge branches are covered in moss and bromelias, their leafs so thick and huge you can hardly see the ground. Above you, only sky and white fluffy clouds. This is how it feels to walk the hanging bridges in the Costa Rica cloud forest. The dry pacific winds meet Caribbean rain just over this misty greenbelt creating the unique climate for cloud forests Monteverde and Santa Elena. Everlasting fog, mist and humidity. During the night it gets windy and quite cold.
What here: Nature born lovers will not get bored. You can visit either Monteverde (17 USD) or Santa Elena (14 USD) cloud forests. Santa Elena is less known but offers some great views over volcano Arenal (from a somewhat frangible tower construction). Hiring a local guide with a telescope is a good but expensive option to get to know the forest better. The best hanging bridges could be found in Selvatura park (25 USD) which also offers canopy tour (45 USD) and a visit to hummingbird, butterflies or reptiles gardens (hummingbirds are a definite number one!). It is possible to hop on a „ sky tram“ or see the forest at night if you want to. Close to the village of Santa Elena there is a huge reptile park and an orchid garden. Visits to coffee plantations, cheese factory or horse rides could also be arranged.

Where to stay:
Most accommodation can be found in the small settlement of Santa Elena, other scattered along the hills of Monteverde. Santa Elena grew up basically just thanks to tourism, but it has it all. A bank, huge groceries market, travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops.
Try: Hotel Casa Tranquilo, www.casatranquilohostel.com (simple wood lined rooms that are not quite windproof, 25 USD double, breakfast included), Pension Santa Elena, www.pensionsantaelena.com (somewhat nicer and slightly more expensive, 30 USD) or Cipres hotel, http://cipreseshotel.com (comfy rooms with a terrace around a pretty garden, 65 USD double).
How to get here: Buses pretty much from everywhere come to Santa Elena bus terminal (San José, Liberia, La Fortuna). Travel agencies and hotels can arrange you a jeep-boat-jeep trip through the scenic countryside from the volcano Arenal (3 hours, 25 USD).
In front of „Banco Nacional“ in Santa Elena buses leave about every 30 minutes to Monteverde or Santa Elena cloud forest reserves.