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Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve

Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve

Quick Facts

  • Location : 13 miles from San Ramon
  • Altitude : 2,300 to 5,900 feet above sea level
  • Area : 1,975 acres
  • Hours : 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Telephone : 2461-0643
  • Entrance Fee : $20.00

Located on land once owned by former president Rodrigo Carazo, the Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve is one of Costa Rica's best-kept secrets. Adjacent to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, this misty private park offers a section of cloud forest rarely visited by tourists. The result is a serene, secluded reserve where hikers spot more wild animals than they do other visitors.

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The reserve’s moss-covered hills are shrouded in clouds and its verdant canopy echoes with the sounds of howler monkeys, foraging coatimundis, and the melodic song of trogons. When the sun goes down, the forest comes alive with the sound of nocturnal wildlife. Guided day hikes wind through the park’s shorter trails and night hikes depart daily by reservation only. 

The Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve is well known as one of central Costa Rica’s best sites for birdwatching. At least 258 bird species reside in the cloud forest, among them several unique to the area. Hummingbirds join orange-bellied trogons and keel-billed toucans to create a rainbow of color and symphony of sound unlike any other. Birding hikes leave the Villablanca Hotel each morning just after sunrise. 

Activities: 

Hiking and bird and wildlife watching are the reserve’s primary draws. Night hikes and birdwatching tours cater to specific interests. A canopy tour and horseback riding are also available.

Trails: 

Two main trails wind through the park – the Anastasio Alfaro Trail measures 1.25 miles and the Alberto Manuel Brenes Trail extends 2.5 miles. Both are of easy to moderate difficulty and can be hiked in two to four hours. Trained naturalist guides are available to give tours throughout the reserve; these are highly recommended for visitors interested in local flora and fauna and cloud forest ecosystems.

Flora & Fauna: 

The Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve is renowned for its birding and at least 258 species make their home here. Most famous are the brilliantly colored trogans, but the forest’s trees are filled with bellbirds, toucans and hummingbirds, as well. 

Hikers often observe howler monkeys in the trees, as well as sloths, coatimundis and white-faced monkeys. Other reserve highlights include at least two cat species (ocelots and jaguars, although they are not common), tarantulas, thousands of insect species, poison dart frogs, tree frogs and more.

Facilities: 

The reserve offers a picnic area. As of late 2010, there are plans to open a small onsite restaurant. 

Getting There: 

Buses to San Ramon leave every 30 minutes from San Jose (approximately $1 – contact 2222-0064). If arriving via car, take the Interamerican Highway west from San Jose. San Ramon is located just off the highway a few miles northwest of Palmares.

Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve in Pictures

Wildlife in Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve