Undiscovered & Less Crowded Cloud Forest Experience
A new private reserve is as much a refuge for human visitors as the resident birds and animals. Thousands fewer people arrive at the gates each week than at its famous neighbor, Monteverde. For visitors willing to give up the cache of going to “the” cloud forest at Monteverde the refuge’s undiscovered status means less bumping into each other and less disturbance for the wildlife.
Better Cloud Forest Bird and Wildlife Watching
Another reason for fewer visitors is that this private reserve is not as perfect and pristine as Monteverde. It includes primary cloud forest, regenerating secondary forest and areas of open pasture.
Many people are surprised to learn that the open spaces and non-virgin forests also make Curi Cancha a better place to view many species.
Primary cloud forests are very dense with trunks, branches, leaves, vines and especially epiphytes. Visibility is often limited to a few feet.
Most cloud forest resident birds and animals are comfortable visiting edges where forests meet pastures or even individual trees standing on open ground as long as there’s the unique diversity of the virgin forest nearby. It’s much easier to see these species when they move out of the densest trees.
We spent half an hour with a clear view into the canopy of a solitary tree left standing in the middle of a pasture and spotted a female resplendent quetzal, an emerald toucanette, half a dozen humming birds and at least ten more species that our guide identified.
There were probably more birds in the lone tree but we turned away when we heard the male quetzal calling from the gallery forest at the edge of the pasture and moved the spotting scope to watch him.
We walked a big figure 8 about 6.7km (4 miles) long varying from 4,700 feet (1,430 meters) at the entrance to 5,100 feet (1,550 meters) along a ridge. The trails were all in excellent condition and represented only part of the total paths available.
We crossed two open grassy areas of a few acres each, walked about a mile in secondary forest and spent about 80% of our time in primary old growth cloud forest.
In the middle of high season we saw four other people in about four hours while hiking and one other at the entrance. The same morning we’d stopped by the Monteverde Cloud forest reserve to drop of some new maps and there were no less than fifty vehicles including a dozen buses with around ten passengers each.
Many of the best guides in the region prefer Curi Cancha and some now work there to the exclusion of Monteverde.