Costa Rica: Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a private reserve, protecting one of the last remaining stretches of cloud forest n the world. This Reserve was formed in 1950s with quiet a quirky story: a bunch of Alabama farmers/quakers wanted to dodge the draft into the Army and being sent to the Korean War. They found a loophole in the law that American farmers working in Costa Rica would be exempt, bought some land, called it Monteverde, and did almost nothing about developing it. When the Korean War ended, the biologists community suggested creating the first natural preserve in Costa Rica – and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was born. Only 1% of the forests in the world are classified as “cloud forest” and this patch is one of the best, with truly insane biodiversity: 2,500 plant species (including the most orchid species in a single place), 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 120 species of reptiles and amphibians, and thousands of insects. We hiked the longest loop trail to the edge of the cloud forest and the overlook over the windswept dwarf forest, saw loads of unusual flora, a lot of birds (often hard to photograph), and tons of insects.