San Luis Monteverde PDF Print E-mail
Attractions for the tourist abound at Northern Mountains: swinging bridges and zip lines from which to survey, the canopy; a butterfly farm and a hummingbird garden to get you close to nature; a factory that shows you how to make cheese. And, of course, the Cloud Forest Preserve itself, one of the top ten ecotourism destinations in the world.

Monteverde Costa RicaBut somehow Monteverde perplexed me. More than 40 small hotels, several trendy coffee shops and a handful of pizza parlors line the road to the Preserve. Scruffy tourists with English-language slogans on their back-packs and American sports teams on their baseball caps were everywhere. Where was campesino life? Had it disappeared with the golden toad? Was it possible to find both the cloud forest and Costa Rica rural culture too?

And then I found it. Less than a kilometer from the Reserve's entrance, I took a right fork toward the San Luis Valley and bounced down a steep, unpaved trail called "La Trocha". Within 15 minutes I was at Ecolodge San Luis and Biological Station.

A particular Biological Station

Ecolodge San Luis is a 66 hectares (162 acres) working tropical farm at the head of the San Luis Valley. It is nestled against both the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve and the Children's International Rain Forest and shares with them a stunning diversity of wildlife. The slopes of the property face the Pacific, with views of the Gulf of Nicoya. Country roads and paths lead through a myriad of habitats; mountain streams and waterfalls tumble through rocky gorges, and pristine springs bubble through the forests floor.

Ecolodge San Luis Costa RicaEcolodge San Luis is more than beautiful place. It is a biological station. One of those mysterious, remote spots on Earth where scientists gather to study the rain forest and share findings that may eventually save the earth. What separates the Ecolodge from other biological stations is that it was created with the specific intent to bring researchers and visitors together and introduce them to the cloud forest and Costa Rican culture.

All the researchers were eager to share their findings with guests and discuss the projects on the site. To foster interaction during meals, research students and guests sit together at long tables. But interaction goes beyond discussion: An extra pair of hands is always welcome on a reforestation project and a guest was encouraged to participate in the station's work as much or as little as they desired.

A Walk to the Spectacular San Luis Waterfall

The next morning I took an early hike to the stunning San Luis Waterfall. It plummets 275 feet in two levels, to the San Luis River. I gasped when I saw it. I was told it was the third highest in Costa Rica. Returning from the falls I passed emerald mountains, their pinnacles perpetually shrouded with clouds.

San Luis Waterfall Costa RicaThe mists were sensuous, cool, lush, and mysterious. In the distance, the rolling green hills were sprinkled generously with cocas (this was the real start of the cheese factory tour). After a brief drizzle, a brilliant, double rainbow split the sky. The clarity was surreal. I could see the ends of each as they bent to touch the forest canopy.

Another gift, the night at the Ecolodge

By dinner I had worked up a robust appetite. At the Ecolodge, meals are cooked on traditional wood stoves and are simple but delicious country fare. After dinner I strapped on a headlamp and took a night hike with Oscar Fennel, the head guide and general manager. It was as if I entered a foreign planet. Life was all around me lurking in the leafy canopy.

Calling from the trees were a thousand hidden creatures �some of which live nowhere else in the world. An owl hooted at us from a tree. Oscar returned the call and a "conversation" began. He is extraordinary at uncovering the hidden creatures of the night.
< Prev   Next >
Home arrow Geographical Division arrow Costa Rica Northern Mountains arrow San Luis Monteverde

Did you know?

Corcovado National Park has the rainforest with the largest variety of flora and fauna in Costa Rica.

Corcovado National Park Wildlife

Costa Rica Pictures


Costa Rica

Tourism Center
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Important to Know
Travel to Costa Rica
Ecotourism and Nature
Activities and Sports
Geographical Division
Protected Areas
Costa Rican Volcanoes
Costa Rican Beaches
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Information Center
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
General Information
Art and Culture
People and Society
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Business Center
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Business and Economy
Development- Services
Real Estate - Investment
Costa Rican Coffee

Search Directory

Advanced Search

We are in Costa Rica. For more information, comments or suggestions, please contact us here.
© 1996 - 2015 Costa Rica Tourism. ® All rights reserved.