Travel inland by road into highlands mantled by the woodland of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which lies in the rugged, rolling hills northwest of San José. You'll be driven through the Central Valley along the Pan American Highway, a decent paved road then take the turn off for Monteverde, and here the adventure begins - for up to 90mins the dirt road is bumpy with volcanic rocks, winding up through the hills to the cloud forest at 1,400m. You can expect it to be dusty in the dry season and muddy in the wet. However you should be diverted by wildlife you spot along the way - sloth, monkeys and tropical birds - keep your binoculars handy.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most fascinating wildlife sanctuaries in the Americas; it protects more than 400 species of bird and 100 species of mammal. It has many well-marked trails, amidst dense, dripping foliage, sheltering the resplendent quetzal, with its vivid red belly and long green tail, as well as the endangered bellbird and the emerald toucanet. 30 species of hummingbird also reside there.
On your 2hr night walk at El Refugio, a private wildlife refuge, you’ll look out for nocturnal animals such as olingos, kinkajous, two-toed sloths and opossums, as well as tarantula spiders and snakes. During the rainy season some species of frogs might be spotted. It's not uncommon to see migrant and resident birds sleeping. Regardless of the wildlife you may see, the experience of walking in the forest at night is very special.