Selva Negra

Nature Reserve in Reserva Natural Cerro El Arenal

If you’re looking for comfort with your virgin cloud forest experience, then Selva Negra – part family resort, part coffee farm and part rainforest preserve – could be for you. The 850-hectare estate blooms with bromeliads and rare orchids year-round and is home to nesting quetzals in April and May. Founded in the 1880s by German immigrants – who were a part of the original German coffee invasion that created the industry – it's named after Germany’s Black Forest.

Their descendants still manage the reserve, which is webbed with several kilometers of lush jungle trails. Visitors can go on nature tours (US$15 per hour, at 7:30am), coffee tours (US$22 per person, at 9:30am and 2pm), sustainable agriculture tours (US$15 per person, at 10am and 1:30pm) and night walks (US$10 per person, at 6pm), and enjoy horseback riding (US$5 per hour). Alternatively, you can simply hike the 20km of trails at your leisure or relax at the restaurant, which overlooks a lake backed by cloud forest. Given the setting and abundance of activities, it’s no surprise that North American families and package tourists flock here, which means that it doesn't always have the most authentic flavor.

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