It was settled by Quakers from the USA (Alabama) who came to this Central American country after defying the Korean War draft back in the 1950’s.
These Quakers and other American pacifists decided to establish themselves in this area because of the favorable climate for dairy farming.
Nowadays, the population (about 6,500) of this town is a mixture of locals and foreigners.
The first whom started to arrive gradually here looking for jobs due to the increasing number of foreign visitors; and now it is estimated that 250,000 people visit Monteverde on a yearly basis, as it is one of the top ecotourism destinations in Costa Rica.
Monteverde still retains a rustic vibe since there is little development, and locals are happy with things the way they are.
However, if you want to stay here for a few days; there are a couple of small places that offer excellent accommodation and also a couple of restaurants with local and international cuisine.
Getting to Monteverde
If you are driving from downtown San Jose, to get here you must take the Pan-American Highway and continue to follow the signs for Liberia until kilometer 133.
There you’ll find the signs for Sardinal; then you need to take the road to that town, which will take you to Monteverde. This is a 3-hour trip.
Buses are also leaving San Jose for Monteverde on a daily basis; though there are only 2 departures, one in the morning and one in the early afternoon, so take this into consideration when planning a trip there.
Alternatively, if you happen to be at La Fortuna in San Carlos, you can also take a boat; and then by taxi or horseback at the other end.
And the trip can also be done in the reverse direction, so make sure you ask at the place where you’re staying for this service. This is a trip that can take up to 3 hours.
What to Do in Monteverde
Taking a hike throughout the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is what we recommend you to do first while in there; as you’ll find yourself surrounded by a large variety of Flora.
Including 500 types of Orchids (the largest in the world) and 878 varieties of Epiphytes (a plant that grows within another plant).
And when it comes to Fauna, the variety here is also quite large, with more than 161
species of reptiles and amphibians, 6 varieties of Marsupials, 58 of Bats and more than 400 species of Birds (just to mention a few).
The trails in here are combined with suspension bridges which allow the visitor to check on the upper level of the forest.
And there are programmed tours; which we seriously recommend as the guides will be giving you constant information on the different varieties of plants and animals present in the reserve.
The aforementioned reserve can get a bit crowded, so if you want to visit a place that is just as stunning but with fewer people around; you should go to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.
Which is located just three miles away, and where you’ll be able to watch the same natural beauty than at Monteverde.
Important Numbers and Websites:
- Municipalidad: 2645-6909
- Buses: 2222-3854
- Hospital San Rafael de Alajuela: 2436-1001