Armchair Traveler: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (Costa Rica)

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. tree canopy / tri ˈkæn ə pi / (n.) – the layer of branches and leaves found at the very top of a tree or forest

    It’s always dark in the forest because the tree canopy blocks out most of the sunlight.

  2. abundance / əˈbʌn dəns / (n.) – an extremely large amount of something

    The farm had an abundance of corn last year.

  3. resplendent / rɪˈsplɛn dənt / (adj.) – attractive and bright

    The woman looked resplendent in her silk dress.

  4. aplenty / əˈplɛn ti / (adj.) – in large amounts or numbers

    There’s always food aplenty whenever I visit my grandparents’ house.

  5. lush / lʌʃ / (adj.) – growing strong, healthy, and full

    The hills are covered in lush, green plants.


Read the text below.

Costa Rica is famous for its national parks and protected areas, which cover more than a quarter of the country. The most difficult question facing travelers is which of its many protected areas to visit. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, in the country’s northwest, should be high on any list.

The cloud forest — a wet forest where clouds often drop down to the tree canopy — is known for its abundance of wildlife. The most famous of these animals is a bird named the resplendent quetzal, which, like its name, is resplendently colored. Join a tour to search them out in avocado trees and learn their many unique calls.

With 400 bird species, the cloud forest will delight bird lovers, but lovers of all animals will love it, too. You’ll see spider monkeys and sloths aplenty, as well as colorful frogs — hundreds of species in total.

The reserve highlights its closeness to the clouds with several suspended bridges that trace their way through the forest canopy. With an experienced local tour guide, you can hike through the forest as high as 60 meters above the ground.

If you crave a more exciting visit, there’s a lot to shout about. Dangle from ziplines surrounded by lush green forest leaves. Some tours offer a “Tarzan swing” experience that will get your heart racing.

For something different, take a guided tour of the countryside around the reserve. Explore a private farm growing coffee, chocolate and sugar cane. Learn how the area supports important export crops and manages to exist peacefully with the wildlife of the reserve. (T)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a protected area. Do you think people should be allowed to visit and explore protected areas? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Costa Rica is famous for its national parks and protected areas, which cover more than a quarter of the country. Are there many areas like this in your country? Do you think your country needs more national parks and protected areas? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • At the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, you can dangle from ziplines, try a “Tarzan swing,” explore a private coffee farm, and more. If you visited there, what activities would you like to do? Why? Discuss.
  • The forest has over 400 species of birds as well as spider monkeys, sloths, colorful frogs, and many other animals. What animals would you most like to see there? Why? Discuss.