Pasión Costa Rica: An Exceptional Education in Monteverde

“Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.”

-David Suzuki-

Pasión Costa Rica 

At our simplest level of global appreciation, we walk thru nature.  We admire a looming canopy, listening to the symphonies of wildlife conversation and the love songs of birds.  We respect the most obvious views before our eyes such as a deer grazing in the meadow or the palette of a setting sun.   We feel the path beneath our feet and relish the air as it passes thru our lungs and refreshes our soul.  But we often pass up those chance moments that would take us deeper.  We walk passed much of the life of the forest without a second thought, completely missing the opportunity to discover the very core of a life sustaining earth.  We pass quietly beyond the mosses of the floor, we miss the breathing of the leaves, and we fail to notice the hard working ants as they perform a predestined duty or the snake sleeping in his fortress of shade.

When you meet someone like Marcos, of Pasión Costa Rica, you are given the gift of education and natural revelation.  Marcos is so much more than a guide, his passion and knowledge an experience in itself, leaving you with a feeling of having shared the secrets of a deeper world that needs our attention and protection.  A charming and friendly Monteverde local, a plethora of information and history, and a whistler of the tunes of the forest, he is a natural born storyteller.  Five minutes in the presence of Marcos, his wife, Susu, and their adorable daughters makes you wish for more time together.  They are some of the kindest, most welcoming people we met in Costa Rica, and it is this type of connection that changes your perceptions and allows a country to capture a piece of your heart.

Marcos, Pasión Costa Rica . An exceptional Guide in the forest of Monteverde.

Pasión Costa Rica offers catered tours to suit your needs.  With a variety of options, reserves and bridges to experience, Marcos and Susu take the time to fully understand what you have come to Monteverde to witness.  Do you wish to catch a glimpse of the elusive and mystical Quetzal?  Perhaps you dream of crossing the hanging bridges above the forest, peeringing down into the canopies and clouds. Maybe your adventurous side has you stepping into the dark of a Monteverde evening to view the nocturnal world coming to life.  Marcos will not only ensure the best possible experience, you will leave with a deeper appreciation for nature than you ever knew possible.

Elephant Ear Plant, Monteverde Cloud Forest


We started our 3.5 hour, half day tour, at the Hummingbird Gallery, a quiet area just before the gates of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.  We were fortunate enough to view 8 of the 14 different species as they hovered around the feeders.  Marcos knows these colorful residents like family, describing them in detail, his eyes lighting up as he introduced us to such varieties as the ‘violet sabre wing’, the ‘purple throated mountain gem’ and the endemic ‘coppery headed emerald.’


The main portion of our guided tour was spent at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, a magical slice of our earth that houses 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity including over 3000 known species of plants, 755 types of trees, 920 types of birds, and so much more.  Founded in 1972 by George Powell, a Biologist of the Tropical Science Centre in San Jose, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is considered one of our globe’s best examples of sustainable tourism.  100% of income collected is designated for education, preservation and research programs.  Here you can step onto the Continental Divide, cross the Wilford F. Guindon Hanging Bridge and spend a lifetime discovering the secrets of this 3500 hectare forest.

A single note.  That is all it took Marcos to name the bird initiating a conversation or serenade, his eyes darting to a specific tree in the distance, setting up his scope for a closer look.  He revealed the secrets and names of plants, testing the girls periodically, in which they enthusiastically called out answer such as “hot lips”, “elephant ear” and “sleeping hibiscus”.  Finding bugs became an exciting task that led to a patient explanation of their discovery.  Entwined roots and layers of moss took center stage, becoming intriguing in their co-relationships with eachother.  Quite simply, Marcos turned the ordinary elements of a nature walk into extraordinary pieces of Mother Nature’s brilliant puzzle.


That elusive, vibrantly colorful mystery of which serious bird watchers cross miles of oceans and mountains to catch a glimpse.  Considered to be one of the most beautiful birds in the world, the iridescent green and brilliant red feathers have been noted throughout history as sacred, worn by royalty and priests of the ancient Maya and Aztec peoples.  Males can grow tail trains as long as one meter, growing twin feathers during mating season.  Living in rain forests from Southern Mexico to Panama, the protection and paths of the Monteverde Rain Forest makes this dreamy bird easier to spot, especially during late February to July, and when wild avocados are in abundance.

So did we see one?  Due to the time of year, unfortunately not.  BUT, thanks to the trained ears and eyes of Marcos, we were able to fully view the splendor of the quetzal’s near cousin, the Orange Bellied Trogan.  Thanks to the high powered spotting scope, we were able to catch an up close and private glimpse, the photo below taken through the lens.  Another perk of traveling with an informed and observant guide!

Our most heartfelt gratitude goes out to Marcos and Susu for turning our Monteverde education into an exceptional experience.  Marcos embodies those key elements that set a true guide apart.  He is passionate about his home and his surroundings, knowledgeable about not only the flora and fauna, but the history of Monteverde, and he makes you feel a part of something so much larger than yourself.  Walking with him provides a sense of wonder, a deep rooted desire to do more, and care more, about the earth.  In a world where we are so focused on the bigger and better of the future, it is refreshing to be in the presence of someone who brings forth an appreciation for the moment, a new respect for the ancient and a love for the interconnected.

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”



Susu;  For patiently answering each of my questions with the care of a dear friend.  For your suggestions, your attention to detail, and for your warmth and welcome.  Thank you.

Marcos; You turned a cloud forest into possibility, a dirt trail into a revelation, a millipede into a wonderous being and a single flower into a beautiful element worthy of attention.  You made two little girls marvel at the canopy above and carefully search for the tiny details below, inspiring us all to care and protect.  Thank you.




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17 thoughts on “Pasión Costa Rica: An Exceptional Education in Monteverde

  1. That sounds like an idyllic tour. Exploring nature is one of my favorite things, too. I love bird watching and would be absolutely thrilled to see 8 species of hummingbirds!

  2. A tour guide can make or break an experience and it sounds like Marcos really made this a wonderful experience. If we head to Costa Rica I will be signing up as nature tours are one of the things I like to do when I travel.

  3. Pasion Costa Rica sounds like an amazing guide to have. Every traveler is different, and having guides like them create the perfect experience for you that suits exactly what you need is certainly awesome! They really play a key role to make your experience fun and memorable! I love the way you describe you tour, btw.. It makes me miss hiking and the feeling of being with nature! 🙂

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read! Hiking in nature is absolutely one of my most favorite things to do, and having the girls with us, and seeing it thru their eyes is amazing. A guide who enhances that it ultra special 🙂

  4. Wow. It does sound like you had the right tour guide. I would so do this tour when I get round to doing Costa Rica. What an amazing experience you had.

  5. Seems like Marcos did a great job in making the trip educational and interesting! I find learning from locals is the best way to learn more about the destinations we visit and to truly experience the area! Costa Rica is really high on my bucket list, so I really loved your photos out in nature. I would love to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve!

  6. Too bad you didn’t see the Quetzal but the photo of the Trogan is beautiful. Sounds like your guide(s) are pretty special!

  7. I’m heading to Costa Rica in 2 weeks! This post comes right in time to help me plan the trip to Monteverde. You’re right, joining a guided tour is the best way to see the cloud forest. You were lucky to have spotted wildlife because of the guide’s trained eyes!

  8. I was right there with you, exploring everything underneath the canopy and it took me back to a time when we did something similar in the Amazon. I especially loved your special words to Marcos at the end. A truly wonderful experience can be amplified with the right person.

  9. Oh wow this is just magic – your first paragraph had me stopping me in my tracks to think about whether I truly appreciate all that surrounds me. And how gorgeous is the Orange Bellied Trogan! You may not have seen the Quetzal but that trogan is simply stunning! What a beautiful adventure.

  10. What a lovely and blissful experience. A great education for the kids. Love the fact that you are teaching your kids about nature and the environment. I would love to head out into the forests of Costa Rica in search of the Quetzal. I had not heard much about it but reading about it in your post has piqued my interest and I am totally enamoured.

  11. Loved this post! I live part time in nearby Boquete, Panama and seeing the resplendent quetzal is one of the most amazing experiences ever! Your trip sounds fantastic! The hummingbirds are so nice, too. My friend has about 100 on her deck every day and we have these 2 HUGE deep purple hummingbirds that come over from Costa Rica daily. 😉

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