“Snug in the misty greenbelt of two cloud forest reserves, this slim corridor of human habitation consists of the Tico village of Santa Elena and the Quaker settlement of Monteverde. The area was first settled by loggers and farmers in the 1930s. The Quakers arrived in 1951, emigrating from the US to avoid being drafted to fight in the Korean War. In order to protect the vital watershed, the Quaker community established the private reserve that is now Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde.”
Excerpt from the Lonely Planet guide to Central Amerca.
A 1983 National Geographic feature described this unique landscape, and subsequently billed the area as the place to view one of Central America’s most famous birds – the resplendent quetzal. Suddenly, hordes of tourists armed with tripods and telephoto lenses started braving Monteverde’s notoriously awful access roads, and tourism has not waned since.
The cloud forests near Monteverde and Santa Elena are one of Costa Rica’s premier destinations for everyone from budget backpackers to well heeled retirees. Donning rubbery rain gear and mud boots is a rite of passage for those visiting in search of resplendent quetzals, hummingbirds, howler monkeys, sloths, snakes and more.
I got to see a couple of quetzals but that was about it – the wind and the rain didn’t stop the whole time I was in Monteverde. Home from home one might say!