About Monteverde

Overlooking the gulf of Nicoya and straddling the continental divide at 1,440 meters (4,662 ft), Monteverde is an approximately three-hour drive from San Jose, the capital and largest city in Costa Rica. Monteverde is world renowned for its natural diversity. The area is home to more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species and 2,500 species of plants, including more than 500 species of orchids. The Monteverde Cloud Forest is one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

Approximately 750 people live in the Monteverde community, which has a distinct feel due to the mix of North American and Costa Rican cultures. Monteverde is not so much a town but rather a series of rural houses tucked into the woods. The centers of activity in Monteverde are  the Monteverde Friends Meeting House and Library, Monteverde Friends School, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, the Monteverde Cheese Factory, and Monteverde “Centro,” which includes the CASEM women’s arts cooperative and restaurant, a small whole foods grocery store, several restaurants and a bat museumThe Monteverde Institute and Stella’s Bakery also offer space for evening talks and musical events within walking distance of the school.

The surrounding area, also often referred to as Monteverde and locally referred to as “the zone,” includes the communities of La Lindora, Cañitas, La Cruz, Cerro Plano, Santa Elena, and San Luis and has a population of approximately 7,000. These areas are more predominantly Costa Rican compared to Monteverde proper.

The people of Monteverde are as diverse as its natural environment. Old and young, foreigner and national, Quaker, Catholic, Adventist, scientist, farmer, environmentalist, and artist all find common ground in Monteverde. Weather and roads are frequently challenging, yet community life is, by many accounts, unequaled. Yoga classes, choral and instrumental groups, soccer and ultimate frisbee at the school, talks at the biological station or the Monteverde Institute, art classes, square dances and English country dances, the weekly farmers’ market, and frequent musical events provide opportunities for entertainment and socializing.