Gently bathed in mist from low lying clouds, the Cocora Cloud Forest is a mountain rainforest whose trees are densely covered by small plants including mosses, lichens, ferns, bromeliads and orchids and are entire minature ecosytems in themselves. Cloud forests are rare types of rainforest found along mountain ridges that are frequently enveloped in clouds. The abundant mist not only imparts high humidity but actually fertilizes the foliage resulting in particularly lush growth. Tropical cloud forests host many bird and plant species that are only found in these unique habitats. Located in San Ramon just off the main route to Arenal Volcano and a little over an hour’s drive from the international airport outside the capital of San Jose, the Cocora Cloud Forest reserve offers visitors the opportunity to walk along trails in the forest to enjoy the wonders of this marvelous habitat. Owner and local resident Silvia Gonzales has also created a hummingbird garden where visitors can admire (and perhaps photograph) resident species up close such as the large Violet Saberwing, colorful White-Bellied Mountain Gem, and tiny Coppery-Headed Emerald among numerous others. The reserve also features a tropical butterfly garden where guests can see numerous native species that include giant Blue Morphos, Owls (Caligos) and Swallowtails as well as smaller species such as, Monarchs, Julias, wing snapping Crackers, Green Malachites and Glasswings. Silvia also has an orchid garden where visitors can admire these amazing and tenacious native plants that survive in the often harsh, sun-drenched and windswept environment of the forest canopy. Apart from welcoming guests into the reserve, Silvia and her father also produce trout for sale and operate a small pulperia, or general store which is a typical “supermarket” of small and rural communities. Silvia ventured into hosting visitors on her family’s farm with these projects two years ago, we are pleased to help support her as part of our “sustainable rural tourism” tour programs.
From December to march whales can be seen both in the pacific coast and in the Caribbean coast, and March is a good time to look for the Humpback Whales with their babies and dolphins families.