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 immediate 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 museum. The Monteverde Institute and Stella’s Bakery also offer space for evening talks and musical events within walking distance of the school.
Despite our very small local population, as many as 200,000
people visit Monteverde each year, as it has become an internationally famous
eco-tourism destination. At times, we at MFS get lots of requests for information
about travelling or moving here. We need to keep our focus on our school, and
thus cannot assist those whose travel is not connected to the school, but here
are a few resources that we have found helpful:
Newspapers: Tico Times in English and largely aimed at ex-pats, while La Nacion in Spanish, is more of a Costa Rican paper.
Facebook: Lots of groups for those visiting, thinking of moving here, or have
been here a while. One example is Gringo Expats in Costa Rica
Scientific/environmental interests: The Monteverde Institute
Local language school: CPI, a private language school with a campus in Monteverde if you need to learn Spanish while here.
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.
You can subscribe to these organizations on Facebook to get their updates and news:
- Monteverde Friends School / Escuela de los Amigos Monteverde
- Monteverde Institute
- Monteverde Cloud Forest- Monteverde Tourist Bureau
- Monteverde Conservation League U.S. (MCLUS)
- Children’s Eternal Rainforest / Bosque Eterno de los Niños
- Ars Monteverde
- Monteverde Wholefoods
- RioChante cultural center
These organizations also send out community news to email lists: