We read about the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve in the Lonely Planet guide book and decided it was worth a visit. We weren't disappointed.
The Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is run by a non-profit. It was a pleasure to hike on the trails. The scenery is fantastic! Hardly anyone on the trails. A nice little "artist in residence" building is located a short distance from the trail head.
This place isn't for people who don't enjoy a good hike. There is a lot of up and down on the trails. Some of the slopes are steep. Hiking poles are a good idea. Bring your own water.
I've attached a photo of the trail map. The trailhead is located at box 1. There is an austere outhouse (box 5) along the trail but you need to bring your own toilet paper. If you continue on the trail past the end of the signed portion of the main trail you will come to a very small stream where the trail forks. If you follow the trail to the left it will make its way down to a covered cattle bridge (box 6) and if you continue down the trail for about another five or ten minutes you will eventually come to the suspension bridge (box 7) that is featured in the 2013 Lonely Planet guide book.
The place isn't overrun by tourists, probably because it isn't easy to get to. There are only two ways to get to the trail head; 4x4 or foot. The signage to get to the trail head isn't that great. You will need a SUV because of the ground clearance.
It took us a good deal of time to find this place because good maps are hard to find and directions are very poor. The easy way to get there is as follows:
Near the southeast end of San Isidro you will cross a large bridge on the Interamerican Hwy. Follow the signs to Parque Nacional Chirripo (turn northeast off the highway). Continue along the main paved road to Rivas. Keep going up to San Gerardo de Rivas along the dirt road. Once past San Gerardo you should start to see signs for Talamanca Reserve. Follow these signs to the Talamanca Reserve and then continue past the reserve. The single lane dirt road will then turn into a very rough and steep cart trail; turn on your 4 WD (don't even think of taking a car up). Keep going until you run out of path (you'll find yourself at the trail head). This should take about 45 minutes. There is enough space at the trail head to park 3 or 4 vehicles.
Make sure your brakes are in good shape because you'll need them when coming back down! Filling up the tank in San Isidro is a good idea because you're not going to find a lot of gas stations along the way. Have a great time and don't be afraid to leave a donation to help this group out with preserving this wonderful place!