|Tropical Cloud Forest|
The forests on the upper slopes of Costa Rica’s mountains and volcanoes are frequently draped in mist and clouds. Algae, mosses, and lichens get a foothold on the constantly wet surfaces, providing a perfect place for orchids, bromeliads, ferns, and innumerable other plants to cling. So prolific is “epiphytic” growth in the cloud forest that bare branches are virtually nonexistent.
Sometimes harsh conditions, such as prevailing winds and supersaturated soils, cause the forest to be stunted – like the elfin forest at Monteverde’s continental divide or the gnarly, dwarf woods at the summit of Poás volcano.
The cloud forest captures the imagination of even the most cynical among us. It emanates a sense of ancient and enduring life and of peace. Sitting quietly overhead, its long feathery tail swaying gently in the breeze, is a scarlet and emerald bird that seems to embody the spirit of the cloud forest. Aptly named, the Resplendent Quetzal is considered by many to be the most beautiful bird in the world.