Costa Rica Wildlife: Coatimundi, aka coati, grabbing a snack. These critters and varied monkeys are the villains that constantly rob campsites of poorly protected food stashes. Photo by Ryskas
Manuel Antonio NP
A White-Faced monkey in Manuel Antonio NP, checking out beach belongings. Photo by Share Bear
Monkeys are common but tend to disappear at speed as soon as they’ve got the contents of your backpack in their grubby little hands. The best ways to get closer to tree-huggers, other than leaving food around your campsite, is to take a skywalk on an elevated pathway.
You may consider taking your own mosquito net with you or picking one up in San José, as clouds of these appalling buzzers are the very worst thing about tropical forests. Needless to say, around dusk, a Deet-heavy (25%-50%) repellent will be vital in a jungle environment along with full-length light-coloured clothing, including trousers tucked into deety socks – mozzies love to dine on ankles.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve
A well set-up night shot of an Orange Nectar Bat cheekily noshing from a plastic Humming Bird feeder. Photo by Hans Hillewaert
Monteverde Cloud Forest is perhaps the most commercial and well developed park, a new scientific upstart that is home to 100 species of mammal, 400 species of birds (including the quetzal and the emerald toucanet) and 420 species of orchids.
Not only is Monteverde a lot nearer to San José (3hrs) than most others, but it also contains the biggest canopy walk – Skytrek (3hrs, 2km/1. 25m) including one 400m slide and 80m suspension bridges. It has 24 kms of trails, and 3 huts en route, but it’s not called a Cloud Forest for nothing! Blue sky may be in short supply but water won’t be. . .