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“Off the beaten path” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
6 km (4 mi) north of Santa Elena, Costa Rica
2645 5390
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Ranked #9 of 28 attractions in Monteverde
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas
Activities: Viewing wildlife
Attraction Details
Newport Beach
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Off the beaten path”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

Monteverde is awesome, but it's popular among folks willing to make the trip. Do yourself a favor and drive a little further along a (rough, rough) road to Santa Elena. It gets a fraction of the visitors to Monteverde, but it's absolutely beautiful.

Visited November 2012
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160 reviews from our community

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English first
Irvine, California
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Peaceful walk through the rainforest.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

We had a wonderful peaceful walk through Santa Elena. Our hostel suggested we arrive early, so we took the first bus we could get on (before 7am!). We opted to do the guided tour, and were so glad we did! First off, it can be nearly impossible to spot wildlife in these forests because they are so big and dense. The guides are experts, and our guide could even recognize various birds and animals by their calls. We were there the day after a big rain. We didn't see a huge amount of wildlife (the guide was surprised, normally the day after rain, animals are very active), but the walk through alone was worth the price. We learned a lot about the local flora and fauna, and even got to see a plant that has been around since the time of the dinosaurs. The trails are actually gravel and are very well maintained... at one point you have to climb up quite a few stairs, so be ready for that... But I'm not in the best shape (unless you consider round a shape) and I made it fine, so don't worry. We chose Santa Elena over Monteverde because it was less expensive, and it was definitely worth what we spent.

Visited July 2012
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Santa Cruz, Costa Rica
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great Hike”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

Santa Elena Reserve ha some well maintainde trails, and the scenery is beautiful. The amount of plant life in there was unbelievable! We did not see much wildlife, but that was likely because we got there around 7am. I would probably spend the money on a taxi to get there earlier in the future. Cheap transportation is all over Monteverde though. All in all, a fantastic hike!

Visited October 2012
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Barcelona, Spain
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Small but full of flora reserve”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

we liked this small reserve even if it is small. The Cloud forest is excellent, We consider than even prettier than Monteverde. Entrance fee is cheaper than monteverde 14$ instead of 18$. The trees are filled by epyphites.

Visited September 2012
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Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Delightful slice of rainforest”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2012

This cloudforest/rainforest is much less crowded than the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. The lower parts are secondary forest but at more than 20 years old can only be distinguished as such by a trained observer. The primary forest on the upper slopes is in pristine condition. There is a watch tower you can climb to get a good view from above the canopy at the continental divide. If you don't have a guide or a degree in tropical ecology, you won't get nearly as much out of your visit, so hire someone to walk with you.

Visited February 2012
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