Due to Monteverde's high altitude – some 4,662 ft (1,440 m) above sea level – Monteverde is privileged to receive a steady supply of clouds and the life-giving moisture that they contain. This moisture, often in the form of fog, catches on the branches of the tallest trees and drips down to the other organisms below. This helps to support a complex and far-reaching ecosystem, one that harbors over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species, and over 2,500 varieties of plants, 420 of which are orchids alone.
Visitors can explore this internationally recognized environment from trails and trams, along canopy tours or inside museums. It’s wise to plan on spending at least a few days to adventure through this verdant and mountainous world. You might have heard about the famous journey to reach the town of Santa Elena and the gateway to Monteverde, it can be bumpy as large sections are still unpaved and the terrain is not friendly to any vehicle that is not a 4x4 or a vehicle with some clearance. Some people refer to the bumpy ride as a "Costa Rica massage."
The beauty of making the trip to Monteverde is that visitors not only see but they feel the contrast from the lower elevations. As you ascend there are multiple transitions of temperature, moisture, vegetation and terrain. Perched upon the divide weather is influenced primarily by the Pacific and its predictable dry and occasional showers in the rainy season. However at the top of the divide, the warm wet Caribbean winds creates almost a continuous source of moisture that creates this unique habitat.