Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde
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The Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde is deservedly the main tourist attraction in the region for its outstanding natural features. The Monteverde reserve is actually a private ecological reserve, owned by the Centro Científico Tropical de San José. This non-profit organisation carries out scientific research and ecological education. Through the reserve, the organization manages to raise visitors' awareness about the need to preserve the national treasure that is the tropical rainforest which, in addition to protecting flora and fauna, is a source of water for many of the surrounding valleys.
The concept of preserving this tropical rainforest entered the minds of scientists George and Harriet Powell in 1972, when they visited the region. Today, the reserve covers over 10,500 hectares of the tropical rainforest and, along with the Children's Eternal Forest (Bosque Eterno de los Niños) around the reserve, and the other nearby reserves and protected forests, the region of Monteverde can be seen as a model for environmental protection.
The Continental Divide runs through the park: rivers to the west of it flow toward the Pacific Ocean, and those to the east empty into the Caribbean. The Continental Divide is about two kilometres east of the reception and information centre. Because of this line there is great geographical and climatic diversity in different parts of the park, which can be experienced without having to travel long distances.
The landscapes change according to altitude. The lowest section, at 600 metres, is near the Río Peñas Blancas. The highest point is at the summit of Cerro Tres Amigos (1,842 m), in the northwest part of the reserve. Between these two extremes, the vegetation consists of rich forests with sometimes enormous trees covered in mosses, lianas and thousands of epiphytes that prevent the sun from reaching the ground. Among the approximately 2,500 plant species, there are no fewer than 420 kinds of orchids. The reserve is divided into six different horticultural zones, and the biodiversity of each is so complex that new scientific discoveries are constantly being made
The reserve is also home to a hundred mammal species, including the jaguar, the ocelot and Baird's tapir. Though they are hard to spot, they sometimes leave their paw marks in the ground. On the other hand, mischievous howling and capuchin monkeys make themselves visible, or at least heard! And let's not forget amphibians and reptiles. Finally, over 400 bird species make the reserve a birdwatcher's paradise!
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