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bluerainsoup Mar 9th, 2010 06:11 PM

Costa Rica- Better, less crowded cloud forest than Monteverde?
My boyfriend and I are making our own best-of-Costa Rica tour in June. This will be my 4th time to Costa Rica (love it! can't go back enough!) but my boyfriend's 1st time, and I'm so excited to show him around. I've been to 2 different cloud forests in costa rica (Los Angeles owned by Villa Blanca, and Cuerici) but they seem more difficult (and thus more expensive) to travel to. We're considering going to Monteverde. It seems like this is one of the highlights of the country, but because of that fact alone, I'm reluctant to go there...On the one hand we are definitely going to Arenal so it would be fairly easy and cheap to get to. On the other hand it seems like there are a million hotels there, EVERYONE goes there...

I'm wondering is it too crowded? Does anyone have any other recommendations of BETTER cloud forests (preferably near Arenal or Osa the 2 other locations where we're definitely going?) I'm just worried that with all the hotels, they hype about Monteverde, the time of year, etc. it will be an expensive stay for a forest full of LOTS of people. Any Ideas?

Thanks so much.

tully Mar 9th, 2010 07:04 PM

You could look into Bosque de Paz, it's near Bajos del Toro. I can't recall exactly but I think it was about 90 minutes or so from the airport. It is very, very secluded, it's pretty much the exact opposite from Monteverde - there is nothing else around except the forest, so may want to keep in mind. The hosts are lovely people, it's a serene, simple place, lots of birds.

bluerainsoup Mar 9th, 2010 08:13 PM

looks wonderful, but I think 114$ per person, per night is too expensive for us... especially since you need to rent a car to get there it seems. Thanks so much for the recommendation. Any more info for cheap, less crowded cloud forests?

qwovadis Mar 10th, 2010 04:31 AM

San Gerardo pretty low tourist... north of San Ramon nice for price

But Monteverde is still the best for me lots more to do

Belmar and Trapp Family lodge nice for price there.

sylvia3 Mar 10th, 2010 06:46 AM

These cabins are just outside of town (but walking distance), on lovely grounds, on the way to the park, and the prices are great (you could probably negotiate an of-season rate)

volcanogirl Mar 10th, 2010 06:52 AM

Bookmarking. :)

Cimbrone Mar 10th, 2010 07:07 AM

I would recommend the Tapanti National Park, very close to San Jose, yet very much overlooked and uncrowded. Virgin cloudforest, a beautiful river, gorgeous trails, and the lovely little town of Orosi all make this a great stop. We stay here:

Cimbrone Mar 10th, 2010 07:10 AM

And another alternative is San Gerardo de Rivas. This place is truly shangrila. Not sure it's strictly a cloud forest, but the Cloudbridge Preserve is stunning. I recommend the Casa Mariposa on this website:

JeanH Mar 10th, 2010 08:04 AM

I haven't been to Monteverde in several years, but even then, I kept hearing how crowded it was. We hired a guide, did some hiking with him, that was mostly searching for the quetzel. We did see the bird, it was awesome.

However, after our tour, we struck out on our own, on one of the outer loop trails. There was no one else on that trail. Birds, waterfalls, it was awesome.

I think a lot of people 'do' Monteverde on that relatively short birding tour early in the morning, and cross it off their list as having seen it. There's a lot more cloud forest to see.....

colibri Mar 11th, 2010 10:57 AM

I love the cloud forest around San Gerardo de Dota - best place in the country to see quetzals is at Savegre Mountain Lodge. Walk out your cabin and it is quetzal paradise! It's quite remote, secluded and stunning in beauty.

For a cheaper option, try tiny Paraiso del Quetzal run by the Serrano family. It's a lovely cloud forest near Quetzal National Park, hiking trails, basic cabins for rent - place abounds with fiery-throated and magnificent hummingbirds, can see quetzals while hiking. Turn off the Inter-American Highway (south of San Jose) at the 70 km marker, very well sign posted.

At Monteverde, Arco Iris is a reasonably priced lodge in Santa Elena. Some rooms go as low as $35/night, but those are very tiny. Our cabin was around $70 night. We enjoyed MV, but certainly saw much more wildlife at other lodges in different areas. MV is wonderful for birding.

kbrennan Mar 11th, 2010 11:54 AM

I thought the number of visitors to Monteverde was limited each day. We were told to arrive early to make sure we would be admitted.
We arrived around 8 (not particularly early by hiking standards!) and once we hiked about a kilometer, we seldom saw any other hikers.
We did see a pair of quetzals though!

hsmithcr Mar 11th, 2010 01:41 PM

Take a look at - they are located on Tenorio Volcano and you can visit the rainforest and cloud forest and also get a tour to the Rio Celeste.

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