Southwest of Lake Arenal, in the mountain range “Cordillera de Tilarán” at an elevation of about 1800 m above sea level, extend two of Costa Rica's most popular nature reserves: The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Sta. Elena Cloudforest Reserve. These cloud forest nature reserves have well-marked trails by which the visitor is carefully led through this humid and dusky world. The high humidity supports the growth of approx. 2500 different kinds of plants, among them many orchids and bromeliads; up to day, about 100 different mammals (i.e. the ocelot, jaguar and monkeys) have been sighted, however they can hardly be seen due to the dense vegetation, but encountering the various birds living here, is a unique experience: among the 400 kinds of birds of this region, we may - with some luck - also see the Quetzal, the most famous among the Central American birds. The vegetation is characterized by gigantic ferns and trees covered by epyphites and moss. Monteverde is often humid, misty and cloudy with annual rainfalls averaging 3000mm.