Monteverde & Santa Elena

Considered to be the second most popular tourist destination in Costa Rica, the Monteverde area is one of the most naturally breathtaking places in the country. Encompassing not just the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, this area also includes two tiny settlements of the same name; namely Monteverde and Santa Elena.

This region’s principal claim to fame is that some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful cloud forests are found in this area. A private reserve, Monteverde plays home to Costa Rica’s Quaker community that migrated here from the US in the 1950’s. This was mainly because the Quakers refused to register for the war draft of 1949. One of the reasons why the Quaker community chose to stay in Costa Rica was because of this country’s peaceful philosophies. Easily adapting to their new home in Monteverde, the initial Quaker settlers entered into the dairy farming and cheese making business. Today, the cheese from Monteverde is some of the best in the country and is sold far and wide.

The Quakers have played a huge role in developing Monteverde into the region it is. Firm believers in conservation, the community together with the help of organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy, were able to raise money and started buying off huge hectares of the cloud forest in 1972, to protect this habitat from being destroyed or overdeveloped. This initial effort is what started the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, which today is over 17,000 hectares of pristine jungle.

Showcasing a plethora of unique and exotic animals and plants, the Monteverde area is home to resplendent quetzal, ruby red poison dart frogs, over 300 species of orchids and the rare and endemic golden toad. With an almost mystical environment due to the cloud cover in the area, this region is a lush and dense place with unparallel greenery. The ideal ecotourism destination, there is plenty and see and do out here including, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, canopy tours and skywalks.