Monteverde - History

Montverde Costa Rica has always been a point of convergence for the different cultures that have inhabited it, therefore it cannot be thought as strange that Montverde Costa Rica was founded by a group of quaker and Costa Rican families who, in search for a better future for thier families, decided to venture towards the cloudy mountains of Monteverde Costa Rica, to begin a true labor of colonization of the place.

In its beginnings, Monteverde Costa Rica started as a milk producing community. This activity was carried out with the single purpose of creating the basic sustenance of the families in a very humble style that was shared by both the quakers and the Costa Ricans of the time.

At that time, families were dedicated to growing crops and milk cattle and thus having a sustenance for their families. Also they would often sell their products in markets like those of Guacimal (the mining town that was located before arriving to Monteverde Costa Rica), Chomes (A growing town towards the north) and Puntarenas the province capital. The latter the two places being several days away.

During this stage there was a period of controlled deforestation in which the families constructed to their properties and farms, cleaning the land of trees and other plants to plant grass for their cattle and vegetables for their families. Nevertheless the intention never was indiscriminate deforestation. And although the forests around Monteverde Costa Rica were very prominent, the precious wood commercialization was not profitable at the time.

Soon after the quakers settled in Monteverde Costa Rica, they built a school for their children and a "Meeting Hall", which consisted of a building with capacity to seat the quaker community to meditate in silence and to treat communal problems after the silent meditation.

After this and once they settled down in their farms, the quakers decided to concentrate their production efforts in a cheese factory which as time went by grew and encouraged the Costa Rican families of that time, to also build their own farms and sell their milk to the cheese factory.

This development continued steadily until the factory grew sufficiently to begin commercializing its products outside of Monteverde Costa Rica. Currently products of the Monteverde Costa Rica Cheese factory can be found in most mayor supermarkets of the country.

Once the factory was fortified and the economic security of the quakers was established. They decided to preserve a portion of the virgin forests that they had bought to dedicate it to the preservation of our environment and thus make up for what they had deforested for their subsistence. This is how the Biological Reserve of Monteverde Costa Rica was born.

As time went by the Tropical Science Center, a non-profit organization with aims to the conservation of the environment, found out about the preservation efforts of the quakers. The representatives of the Tropical Science Center spoke with the quakers and explained their conservation philosophy to them, in one of their "meetings" the quakers decided to donate the Reserve to the Tropical Science Center so that they would continue the labor of conservation of the land.

The Tropical Science Center constructed footpaths for its investigations and thanks to their connections soon after the reserve was accessible, articles were written and documentary films were recorded on the biodiversity of Monteverde Costa Rica and the existence of some endemic species to the zone like the Golden Toad that presumably got extinct in 1982.

This kind of exposure caused that Monteverde Costa Rica suddenly became a very popular hot spot for ecological tourism and birdwatchers who began to arrive to Costa Rica. This way, the people of the Tropical Science Center began to use the footpaths of the reserve for the passage of tourism. This tourism brought fame to the reserve which increased its sales due to tourist entrances and caused a flow of donations for the organization which began to acquire more lands bordering to the reserve for their preservation. Currently the Reserve of Monteverde Costa Rica has bought more than 30.000 hectares of land becoming the greatest private reserve of Costa Rica and one of the only protected cloud forests of Tropical America.

When the Biological Reserve was consolidated the town of Monteverde Costa Rica began to transform from a milk producing town to a tourist destination, and its people began to develop other activities of commerce such as hotels, restaurants, and activities of adventure and recreation.

Nowadays Monteverde Costa Rica is consolidated as one of the three most important tourist destinations of Costa Rica, and as an international symbol of the conservation of tropical forests. This legacy still is preserved by the founding families who still live in Monteverde Costa Rica and make of this their home and the home of future generations. On their organization and persistence depends that Monteverde Costa Rica will continue to be the natural paradise that is today and will be tomorrow.


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