Cloud Forest Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary & Tours
Protecting habitats is essential to our humanity.
Los Angeles Cloud Forest Private Biological Reserve
Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Nature Reserve, San Rámon
Precious, Primal, and Private
Greentique Hotels stewards 2000 acres of primary- and secondary-growth mountain cloud forest in the Los Angeles Private Cloud Forest Reserve, located just above San Ramón in Costa Rica’s Central Highlands. Of the world’s remaining jungles and woodlands, only 1% are cloud forests, so our commitment to protecting this spectacular reserve expresses the sense of urgency we feel to do our part. Unlike crowded tourist destinations, there is no public access to Los Angeles. Villa Blanca’s and Greentique Tours’ guests enjoy personalized daytime treks and nighttime cloud forest walks, something that cannot be done in National Parks, making Los Angeles one of the most extraordinary and exceptional cloud forest experiences you can have in Costa Rica.
The Los Angeles Reserve is a haven for butterflies, hummingbirds, and exotic moths, including the world’s largest, the White Witch Moth, with wingspans up to 12”. The moisture-laden trees create a lush, misty habitat for amphibians, reptiles, insects, and 259 species of birds. The reserve is also home to a number of mountain cloud forest cats — pumas, ocelots, jaguarondis, and margays, plus a diverse array of other mammals including Howler and White-throated Capuchin monkeys, tapirs, peccaries, coatis, tayras, and raccoons. The dense biodiversity of flora and fauna found on even a single cloud forest tree is best be described as extraordinary.
Research and Conservation
Multifaceted biological investigations, climatic research, and conservation and education programs are conducted in tandem with universities, government agencies, and NGOs. The Reserve manages a reforestation project and memorial grove planted in honor of former Vice President of Costa Rica and Greentique Hotels Board Member, José Miguel Alfaro, for whom the research station is also named. Greentique Certified Guides are involved in research in the Reserve as well as volunteering for regional conservation programs, and staffing anti-poaching patrols inspection check points to reduce plant and wildlife smuggling, and to help eradicate the endangered species trade.
“Beautiful setting… There are a number of self-guided walks around the grounds, and the guides are very well informed and keen to find all sorts of wildlife on the guided tours. Great way to experience the cloud forest.”
– ThompsonAT, April 2015
José Miguel Alfaro Research Station (JMARS)
Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Nature Reserve, San Rámon
The more we learn, the more we protect.
The José Miguel Alfaro Research Station at Villa Blanca is located just 300 meters from the hotel and is an active cloud forest and meteorological research station. It features brilliantly organized displays of vividly colored moths and butterflies, plus other inhabitants of the Reserve, as well as videos from trail cameras, illustrations, maps, and information collected across the various investigations that have taken place at JMARS over the years. JMARS has research alliances with various entities and organizations. Working with Costa Rica’s National Meteorological Institute (IMN), a branch of the Ministry of Environment, a weather station on the property monitors weather conditions in the cloud forest. This is an excellent example of cooperation between a government agency and a private business. The goal is to discover how the cloud forest is being affected by climate change. Greentique Certified Guides participate in community-based programs created by the government that involve the JMARS in research in the National Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which focuses on improvements in local communities as per Biodiversity Law 7788. Other important relationships include support of a control and protection group working to reduce wildlife poaching, illegal sport hunting, plant stealing for commercial purposes.
“There is a research center on site that is fun to visit and talk to a guide about the nearby nature.”
– jspencerphx, March 2015
A Haven of Central Pacific Coastal Wet Forest Biodiversity
The Greentique Wildlife Refuge protects 12.5 acres of secondary growth Pacific Coastal Wet Forest, harboring species native to the Manuel Antonio region. Featuring a Butterfly Atrium, Reptile and Amphibian Water Gardens, and a Crocodile Lagoon, the Wildlife Refuge offers visitors an immersive experience in local flora and fauna. For field researchers, it’s a base and working laboratory for their investigations of regional wildlife. It also offers the incredible experience of exploring the Central Pacific Coastal Wet Forest and its myriad of amazing creatures — at night, something that cannot be done at the National Park.
The Wildlife Refuge is a showcase of regional biodiversity, a safe haven for representatives of almost 50% of the local species of insects, reptiles, birds, mammals, amphibians, spiders, plants, and trees. The Butterfly Atrium features 25 species of butterflies, including the mesmerizing Blue Morpho; 150 bird species reside here, with some 70 species visiting during peak periods of the Central American bird migration; and Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth, Three-toed Sloth, Howler Monkey, Squirrel Monkey (Titi), and the White-faced Capuchin Monkey make their homes in the canopy. A number of Caimans and the fierce Central American Crocodile are protected here, as well as turtles, various snakes, exotic spiders, and particularly at night, the world famous Pacific Coastal Wet Forest Chorus – tree frogs, toads, and bull frogs, backed up a gazillion insects, all shouting for attention.
Research and Conservation
Each year, the Wildlife Refuge hosts research projects coordinated by resident biologist, Jimmy Mata. Working with Costa Rica’s environmental ministry (MINAE), the team assures the proper care and research of species within the refuge. It has also hosted studies with INBio, The Institute of Biodiversity, the Corcovado Foundation, and the Alliance for the Mono Titi, plus projects with the University of Costa Rica, the National University, and the Latin University of Costa Rica. A various times, students living at the WLR in dormitories that Greentique provides, earn credits for projects they compelete at the Refuge. Our staff also volunteers in regional wildlife rescues and support local firemen in removing and relocating troublesome wildlife from homes or businesses. Each year, at least 12 primary schools in the area participate in workshops offered by resident biologist, Jimmy Mata, and the guides that include classes in sustainable practices, including the proper gardening of local flora to support the natural balance with local fauna.
Delightful Resort, Great Service, and Abundant Wildlife
“The hotel has its own nature preserve – a large butterfly garden, reptile enclosure with crocodiles, caiman and turtles, and a jungle trail. I highly recommend the tours there.”
– Harold L.
Where Rivers Are Born
Owned and managed by Greentique Hotels, Cloudmaker Nature Reserve is over 1,000 acres of second-growth Central Pacific Mountain Wet Forest. Bordered by the Rio Cotos on the west and Rio Rodeo on the east, almost a third of the reserve is protected in association with FONAFIFO, the National Forestry Financing Fund. Meticulously attended trails and fully integrated infrastructure allow safe and unencumbered access along the jungle-covered mountain slopes, over streams that crisscross this private reserve, and to picturesque waterfalls, one of which flows into one of the most beautiful natural pools in the region. Access is exclusive to guests of Santa Juana Lodge and the Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure Tour. Cloudmaker is part of an overall 1,250-acre mountain area that is home to the Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure Lodge, the newest member of Greentique Hotels.
The newest of the Greentique Nature Reserves, this extraordinary sanctuary harbors more than 2,000 species, a truly impressive array of Central Pacific Mountain Wet Forest biodiversity. Cloudmaker is fast becoming a must-do destination for birders from around the world. Among its 150 bird species is the Red-capped Manakin, known locally as the Michael Jackson Bird for its amazing moonwalking mating dance. You’ll also spot white hawks, crested and yellow-headed caracara, gray-necked wood rails, southern lapwings, purple gallinules, black mandible toucans, fiery-billed aracaris, pale-billed woodpeckers, royal flycatchers, swallow-tailed kites, wood storks, king vultures, and crested guans. During peak migration, the Reserve’s count increases about 25% to 250+ species, as does the auditory resonance of their voices. Resident mammals include white face capuchin and squirrel monkeys, two-toed sloths, plus three species of Costa Rica’s exotic wild cats — puma, jaguarondi, and ocelot.
Cloudmaker is also home to a number of reptiles and amphibians. Frogs and toads include the Green and Black Poison Dart Frog, litter toad, marine toad, grainy Cochoran frog, glass frog, and the hour-glass tree frog. Among the 15 species of snakes are the boa constrictor, fer-de-lance, eyelash pit viper, bird-eating snake, vine snake, false coral snake, and the oriole snake. Always remarkable is the common basilisk and its not-so-common ability to run on the water, earning it the moniker “Jesus Christ Lizard.” Other reptiles include a variety of geckos, black and green iguanas, caimans, and American crocodiles.
Research and Conservation
Several Cloudmaker Nature Reserve conservation programs are supported by proceeds from the Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure Tour, the Santa Juana Adventure Lodge, and Sí Como No Resort & Wildlife Refuge. Guest donations are another important funding source. Programs include The Greentique Native Tree Nursery Reforestation Program, a reforestation initiative started in 2008, just prior to the first Santa Juana tours. The program involves guests in tree adoption, thus far resulting in the planting of over 11,000 trees.
Greentique Certified Guides work with Santa Juana residents, many of whom are hotel employees, to patrol and protect the reserve from poaching and sport hunting. Among the 26+ species of trees on the reserve are several species of exotic tropical hardwoods, plus wild cashew, Breadfruit, rose apple, sea almond, Ylang Ylang (Perfume tree) and the lychee (mamon chino) producing Rambutan.
“This was one of the highlights of our trip, combining learning about Costa Rican life, hiking in the cloud forest, swimming under a waterfall, fishing, horseback riding and Costa Rican cuisine.”
– MSC37, August 2013
Experience Greentique Tours
Greentique Certified Guides
Each hotel has a Greentique Certified Master Guide (GCMG) and a team of Greentique Certified Guides (GCG), each a specialist in the flora and fauna of their respective regions. They work hand-in-hand with our Concierges to accommodate any special requirements you have, make the logistics clear and easy, and get you sorted on what you need to bring and wear.
Greentique Wildlife Refuge
Si Como No
Jimmy Mata, Resident Biologist
Specialist, Central Pacific Coastal Wet Forest
Águila de Osa
Carlos Gonzales, GCMG
Specialist, Mangrove Estuaries
and Coastal Lowland Rainforest
Los Angeles Cloud Forest
Roy Valverde, GCMG
Specialist, Mountain Cloud Forest
Henry Sequeirach, GCSG
Specialist, Central Pacific Coastal & Mountain Wet Forests