I will start off by saying, today was awesome! Waking up early, getting some yoga in, a beautiful breakfast made by our lovely host Johanna, a stunning rainbow overlooking the forest and then with our newest couple friends we decided to go and explore the ‘Santa Elena Cloud forest’.
We have read in many blogs that the Monteverde cloud forest is FULL of tour groups and very busy compared to Santa Elena bur the only real differences are the price (Monteverde being more expensive) and the fact they have a cloud bridge which brings with it an influx of tourists. Not being a fan of tourists we opted for the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.
The Santa Elena Cloud Forest is actually higher in elevation than the other at a whopping 1600 meters but also has at least 12kms of hiking trails which, for us is exactly what we love to do. Getting there was easy as we had a car and it takes about 20minutes from town as the roads are awful. From there you park up, pay the entrance fee of $16USD pp or $12USD if you are a student, grab a map and off you go.
Immediately, we were amazed with how green, lush and vibrant this forest was. It is so dense and filled with mysterious mist and cloud that it was truly stunning from the get-go. We opted to do the 2 main tracks in the reserve – Cano Negro (4.6kms) and Encantado (3.6kms). Both trails are wonderful, in the sense that the forest is overwhelmingly beautiful, and we stopped a lot along the way to experience the serenity and peacefulness…and to take a whole heap of epic pics!
Now, it is muddy and as it is a cloud forest it is constantly wet as you are walking primarily through clouds and mist. We all wore closed toed shoes, has ponchos/waterproof jackets and a good amount of drinking water and even though its cold, you can pick up a sweat if trekking the larger routes.
We were lucky enough to see a bunch of spider monkeys on the Encantado trail which was awesome, but apart from that not much other wildlife. However, we didn’t mind as the past few weeks/months we have been SPOILT with the amount of incredible nature we have seen and experienced.
Overall, we loved this reserve – I personally found it quite expensive as essentially it is a walk in a forest for $16 USD pp BUT the scenery blew my mind and the sheer density and lush greenery made it worth the $$.
Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!