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Costa Rica cloud forest

Home to the Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Reserve, you'll find this destination in the north-central part of the country about 25 miles from the Arenal volcano.

A land of farmers and natural beauty, the main attraction, naturally, is the unique cloud forest where a hazy mist envelopes the lush green foliage. This more than 25,000 acre forest is one of the most ecologically and biologically diverse places on the planet and well worth a side trip for a day unless the nature lover or botanist in you gets their say and keeps you longer.

Monteverde is also a wonderful stopping point on your way to or from Arenal. Santa Elena is the main town for exploring Monteverde. If you're spending the night, the best deal is probably the Arco Iris Lodge and the nicest is the Hotel El Sapo Dorado.