Monteverde is one of Costa Rica’s most well developed and popular attractions, drawing some 250,000 tourists annually, with 70,000 visiting the Cloud Forest Preserve. It has a fascinating history as well as an amazing wealth of plant and animal life. The area is also on the cutting edge of sustainable and organic agriculture.
What is now considered Monteverde was founded by Quakers from the United States whose pacifist values led them to defy the American draft during the Korean War. These Quakers chose Monteverde for its cool climate, which would facilitate dairy farming, and due to Costa Rica’s non-violent, army-free constitution. The Quakers stewarded and farmed a large tract of land, which they eventually set aside for conservation.
This reserve, which was named the Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde (Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve), has become a major tourist attraction. The bulk of Monteverde’s rain forest and cloud forest can be found in the Cloud Forest Preserve, a private nature reserve created in 1972 by scientist George Powell and Quaker Wilford Guindon. Nine main trails, which total 13 km, are well-kept and easy to access. The reserve features a large network of less accessible trails and a number of rustic research stations.
The Cloud Forest Preserve boasts the largest number of orchids in the world, with 34 of its 500 species newly discovered. Over 60 species of amphibians, including the extinct Monteverde-endemic golden toad, have been found in Monteverde. This area is also a stop for 91 species of migratory birds. The famed quetzal resides here seasonally. The mammals of Monteverde include representatives from both North and South America as endemic species. The mammalian fauna of the region includes six species of marsupials, three muskrats, at least 58 bats, three primates, seven edentates, two rabbits, one ground hog, three species of squirrels, one species of spiny mouse, at least 15 species of long-tailed rats and mice (Muridae family); one species of porcupine, one species of agouti, one of pacca, two canids, five mustelids, four species of procyonids, six species of felines, two species of wild pigs, two species of deer, and one species of tapir. [W] There’s so much to do and see in Monteverde, we can only offer a taste here. Keep in mind that it’s right next to Arenal, and tours can easily incorporate both places. Of course, as with other places, we can set up a full tour or just book lodging and transportation- or just help out with some friendly advice.
Here’s a structured day tour, just one of many possibilities:
• 6:30 Pickup
• 10:30 Arrival in Monteverde
• 11:00-12:30 Hanging Bridges guided walk
• 12:30-13:30 Lunch • 13:30-14:30 Visit the hummingbird gardens
• 14:30-15:30 Visit the serpentarium
• 19.30 Back in Flamingo
Also check out this tour which combines Arenal and Monteverde, on the Arenal page.