Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve Costa Rica

Santa Elena Costa Rica Parks in the Cloud Forest

The Santa Elena Cloud Forest is a lesser known reserve than the 'Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve' but it has essentially the same type of forest.  The Santa Elena Reserve is situated a little more towards the Atlantic and has large areas at high elevations. Both reserves share some common borders.  The Santa Elena Cloud Forest is run by the Santa Elena High School.  And what is a Cloud Forest.. read more?

In 2014 Desafio Monteverde Tours donated 2 hidden cameras to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve  - CLICK HERE - to read about monitoring wildlife with cameras.

So what is the difference between the two main Cloud Forests? Many argue that the guides are better at the Monteverde Reserve. The admission is cheaper at the Santa Elena Cloud Forest  (but transport to get there is more expensive, so it works out similar). The trails are a little more 'rustic' than in Monteverde but both parks are beautiful and arguably less crowded in high season. The Santa Elena Reserve is only a 20 minute walk from the Selvatura Canopy Zipline tour so if you want to do a guided walk in the park in the morning and a canopy tour in the afternoon - they are conveniently located near to each other.

Desafio Monteverde offers a guided package that includes an English-speaking, qualified naturalist guide (only the best ones are chosen - tried and tested!), all transport to and from hotel and entrance fees.

To book a guided tour in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Please Click Here and we will send you more information or chat with us.


The Santa Elena Reserve has a cafetaria with freshly prepared food at very reasonable prices plus a souvenir shop.

The Santa Elena Reserve also provides one wheelchair accessible trail - the trail is about 20 minutes if going slowly and stopping for photos or to read the information posts provided alongside some of the trail.

Ecology and Monteverde: A Series of Articles

  • The Fascinating Relationship Between Hummingbirds and Flowers. click here
  • Why Trees in a Wet Cloud Forest Get Thirsty! click here
  • The Case of the Disappearing Frogs or Why Cloud Forests Need Clouds AND Forests click here
  • Leaf-cutter Ants the most effective farmers of Monteverde? click here
  • Wild Cats of the Cloud Forest - yes they are out there! Click here

What to Bring?



  • 7:00am

  • 1:00pm


  • 4 Hours

Please take in consideration before booking

  • Please bring your student ID

  • Recommended for children older than 6 years

  • For tours for today or tomorrow please chat with us

  • Private tours can be done at anytime between 7am until 1pm

Have questions or need help?

Booking, Prices, Questions?

Please contact us to make a reservation

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Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve Costa Rica Gallery