Monteverde, Costa Rica

The Ecological Refuge the Quakers Bequeathed the World

Tilaran in the mist
Mist from the Caribbean side of Costa Rica covers the forest of the Cordillera de Tilaran.
wet motmot
A motmot standing in the rain.
walk in the rain
Visitors follow one of the many trails in the Bosque Nuboso de Monteverde Biological Reserve.
Suspension Bridge
One of the suspension bridges that cross the forest on the slopes of the Tilaran Mountains.
spider monkeys
Spider monkeys jump from branch to branch in the Bosque Nuboso de Monteverde Biological Reserve.
Young elder
Don Juan, owner of a coffee farm in Monteverde.
Lianas sway in the wind near the entrance to the Bosque Nuboso de Monteverde Biological Reserve.
A quetzal rests on a mossy trunk from the Bosque Nuboso de Monteverde Biological Reserve.
sunset over the pacific
Sunset gilds the panorama of the Pacific side of Costa Rica.
Exuberant specimen of tarantula, an abundant species in Costa Rica.
forest veins
Mossy trees heavily irrigated by constant moisture from the forest at the top of the Tilaran Mountains.
Bright bromeliad sprouts from a trunk of the Bosque Nuboso de Monteverde Biological Reserve.
stick insect
One of the most eccentric insects present in Costa Rica.
Another Sunset
Monteverde visitors photograph the lush sunset over Costa Rica's Pacific side.
rung to rung
Hikers descend one of the many trails in the Bosque Nuboso de Monteverde Biological Reserve.
Disillusioned with the US military propensity, a group of 44 Quakers migrated to Costa Rica, the nation that had abolished the army. Farmers, cattle raisers, became conservationists. They made possible one of the most revered natural strongholds in Central America.

The journey from the western foothills of the Arenal volcano would have taken half the time if it weren't for the jungle that stretches south from the mountain, for hundreds of kilometers from the province of Alajuela.

Until today, the asphalt is still touching. If they exist, unpaved roads are barely visible on the map.

It is the reason why we inaugurated the journey to the north of the lake, to the ups and downs that the relief of the banks subjected us to.

The rurality of the scenarios intensifies, here and there, intersected by villages out of touch with modernity.

Detained in a stop operation, driving ice cream melting in our hands, we felt how shy the young agent was for confronting outsiders who knows where. "go ahead!” dispatch us in three steps, checking the exoticism of the passports.

We continue to undulate through the meadows, sometimes green, sometimes dry, golden with the imminence of sunset.

We came across peasants on big tractors and Costa Rica's cowboys, their picturesque soaps.

As we get closer to Santa Elena – the town that preceded the final destination – we also get closer to the imagination of the era of its pioneer settlers.

The Abandonment of the Military United States

At the turn of the second half of the 1950th century, a few families lived in the region. Far from guessing, in XNUMX they were joined by a group of Quakers.

During the 40s, faced with the spread of World War II, the United States developed its arms industry to an unprecedented level.

Against their will, they forced the Quaker men into military service, even imprisoning some of those who refused.

As a result, at a meeting in Alabama, a community of 44 members from a village called Fairhope deliberated that, as conscientious objectors, they should leave the US

By that time, they had learned, via the press, that the President of Costa Rica was inviting motivated foreigners to develop the country, which would be attractive to the Quakers, if we take into account that Costa Rica had abdicated its army.

After six months living in the capital San José, looking for a place to settle, they discovered the area of ​​Santa Elena and Cerro Plano, the same area where we continued to zigzag, at times, through roads covered with dry and reddish mud, disseminated by floods.

Monteverde, the Pacifist Refuge where the Alabama Quakers settled

From the successive ups and downs, we started to rise to the serious. More and more, towards the 1400m altitude of Monteverde, towards the lands the Quakers acquired above those of the pioneer landowners, some bought from them.

The Amigos slashed around 1400 hectares of family farms, linked by community properties, such as the school, the Casa de Reunion (built in 1957) and a cheese factory in which they invested.

Many of them weren't even farmers in Alabama. Still, their solidarity efforts ensured them a longed-for success.

Monteverde, Costa Rica, Quakers, Bosque Nuboso Biological Reserve, Don Juan

Don Juan, owner of a coffee farm in Monteverde.

They didn't stop there.

Highways 606 and 620 above, we cross Santa Elena.

Then, we ascend to Monteverde, today, a village tucked away in a deep valley, with unprepossessing houses that, justified above all by the vigor of tourism, expands along the surrounding slopes.

Monteverde Eccentric of Our Days

We settled in a hotel surrounded by forest. There we can see toucans, motmots (in Brazil, udus), hummingbirds and many other birds.

still visit us raccoons, determined raccoons that, at breakfast time, roam the terraces and balconies, attracted by the different aromas.

From our balcony, from other parts of the village, we learn about the orological and meteorological peculiarities of Monteverde, Santa Elena and the area between them.

We installed ourselves in a humble esplanade. we taste one more married, the national dish of Costa Rica, consisting of rice, beans, roasted banana or croutons, in this case, sliced ​​fried banana.

During the repast, we appreciated how caravans of clouds flowed at great speed along the crest of the Tilaran Mountains and how, at intervals, the gusts of wind seized their drops and, despite the distance, sprayed us.

Tilaran Mountain Range and the Crest that Separates the Caribbean from the Pacific from Costa Rica

We realized, better, that we were to the west and a little below that same crest that, in practice, separates the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Pacifico.

We witnessed how the mountains of Tiraran held back the humid winds blowing from the Atlantic, transformed into cyclonic storms or mere rain.

With the arrival of the Quaker community, this meteorological pattern had already proved to be decisive.

In such a way that, despite clearing vast areas of vegetation for pasture and cultivation, the Quakers understood that they had to preserve the forest at the tops of the mountain range.

It was from there that the watercourses they used in their properties and houses flowed into the Guacimal River. They couldn't afford to lose them.

Watershed Property: the Quaker Reserve forerunner of the Costa Rican Reserves

Accordingly, they established that about a third (554 hectares) of those they had acquired would form part of a Watershed Property, at the time, one of the first reserves of the many existing ones in Costa Rica. PN Manuel Antonio is the smallest but one of the most reputable

The Watershed Property and the Tilaran ridge in those parts were to be of additional interest.

Determined to go straight to what was most interesting in Monteverde, the next morning, we entered its Bosque Nuboso Biological Reserve. There, Juan Ramón Cano Corrales, a young guide, welcomes us.

Until almost reception, the time remains stable. When we go inside and go up the slope, the wind and rain that we had seen from a distance intensifies.

Incursion into the Nuboso de Monteverde Biological Reserve

Chatting, we plunged into the misty rain forest, full of soggy mosses, swaying lianas, and the lush roots with which the huge prickly pear and other gigantic trees clung to the saturated ground.

We stop at one of the balconies installed in places where the reserve's star bird is often revealed, one of the most sought after in Costa Rica.

Experienced in this mission, Juan Ramon sees and reveals a quetzal, with exuberant plumage and beak almost entirely covered by abundant feathers. We photographed it, even shaking off the water that accumulated on it.

Then, we continued to the Mirador da Ventana where the trail ended, on calm days, revealing the vastness of the eastern mountain range, the Arenal volcano and even the contours of the Caribbean Sea.

On the way, we passed under a curious gang of spider monkeys that jumped from branch to branch on one of its abundant arboreal routes.

We came across red-crested mariquitas that followed our steps for tens of meters on end, the reason why the ticos treat the species by Friend of the Hombre.

arrived at such window final destination, as expected, the panorama boils down to fog. Conversation starts, Juan Ramón is surprised by our interest in ancestral settlers.

Explain to us everything you can about the Quakers, including the preponderance they had in their beloved profession.

From Watershed Property to Monteverde Conservationism

From 1960 onwards, encouraged by the presence of English-speaking residents and by the biological richness of the Serra de Tilaran and Costa Rica, biologists and other scientists flocked to Monteverde, hoping to see rare, exotic or simply sought after, cases of quetzal and golden toad.

Years later, biology students and conservationists settled in Monteverde.

The couple realized how quickly, despite the establishment of the Watershed Property, the surrounding forest disappeared.

Harriett and George started raising money from the USA, in partnership with a scientific research organization in San José and even with World Wide Fund for Nature.

Their aim was to buy what was left of the forest, before the settlers could cut it down.

This and other efforts resulted in a new reserve of 328 hectares.

The Powells and Quaker turned conservationist Wolf Guindon were keen to sensitize and involve the Quaker community and other government and private actors.

When they did, the reserve increased substantially. Today, the Bosque Nuboso Biological Reserve that we walked along is much more extensive.


With about 22.500 hectares, the vastness they managed to protect was named Bosque Eterno de Los Niños.

It is, no more and no less, than the vast untouched rainforest that forced us to circle Lake Arenal.

Article written with the support of:


JUMBOCOSTARICA code = -10% on all bookings, until 31-12-2022

PN Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Little-Big National Park

The reasons for the under 28 are well known national parks Costa Ricans have become the most popular. The fauna and flora of PN Manuel António proliferate in a tiny and eccentric patch of jungle. As if that wasn't enough, it is limited to four of the best typical beaches.
miravalles, Costa Rica

The volcano that Miravalles

At 2023 meters, the Miravalles stands out in northern Costa Rica, high above a range of pairs that includes La Giganta, Tenório, Espiritu Santo, Santa Maria, Rincón de La Vieja and Orosi. Inactive with respect to eruptions, it feeds a prolific geothermal field that warms the lives of Costa Ricans in its shadow.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
Montezuma, Costa Rica

Back to the Tropical Arms of Montezuma

It's been 18 years since we were dazzled by this one of Costa Rica's blessed coastlines. Just two months ago, we found him again. As cozy as we had known it.
Caño Negro, Costa Rica

A Life of Angling among the Wildlife

One of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica and the world, Caño Negro dazzles for its exuberant ecosystem. Not only. Remote, isolated by rivers, swamps and poor roads, its inhabitants have found in fishing a means on board to strengthen the bonds of their community.
manaus, Brazil

The Jumps and Starts of the former World Rubber Capital

From 1879 to 1912, only the Amazon River basin generated the latex that, from one moment to another, the world needed and, out of nowhere, Manaus became one of the most advanced cities on the face of the Earth. But an English explorer took the tree to Southeast Asia and ruined pioneer production. Manaus once again proved its elasticity. It is the largest city in the Amazon and the seventh in Brazil.
Henri Pittier NP, Venezuela

PN Henri Pittier: between the Caribbean Sea and the Cordillera da Costa

In 1917, botanist Henri Pittier became fond of the jungle of Venezuela's sea mountains. Visitors to the national park that this Swiss created there are, today, more than they ever wanted
Iriomote, Japan

The Small Tropical Japanese Amazon of Iriomote

Impenetrable rainforests and mangroves fill Iriomote under a pressure cooker climate. Here, foreign visitors are as rare as the yamaneko, an elusive endemic lynx.
Cahuita, Costa Rica

Dreadlocked Costa Rica

Traveling through Central America, we explore a Costa Rican coastline as much as the Caribbean. In Cahuita, Pura Vida is inspired by an eccentric faith in Jah and a maddening devotion to cannabis.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
Lion, Elephants, PN Hwange, Zimbabwe
PN Hwange, Zimbabwe

The Legacy of the Late Cecil Lion

On July 1, 2015, Walter Palmer, a dentist and trophy hunter from Minnesota killed Cecil, Zimbabwe's most famous lion. The slaughter generated a viral wave of outrage. As we saw in PN Hwange, nearly two years later, Cecil's descendants thrive.
Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal,

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.
hacienda mucuyche, Yucatan, Mexico, canal
Architecture & Design
Yucatan, Mexico

Among Haciendas and Cenotes, through the History of Yucatan

Around the capital Merida, for every old hacienda henequenera there's at least one cenote. As happened with the semi-recovered Hacienda Mucuyché, together, they form some of the most sublime places in southeastern Mexico.

Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
good buddhist advice
Ceremonies and Festivities
Chiang Mai, Thailand

300 Wats of Spiritual and Cultural Energy

Thais call every Buddhist temple wat and their northern capital has them in obvious abundance. Delivered to successive events held between shrines, Chiang Mai is never quite disconnected.
Candia, Tooth of Buddha, Ceylon, lake
Kandy, Sri Lanka

The Dental Root of Sinhalese Buddhism

Located in the mountainous heart of Sri Lanka, at the end of the XNUMXth century, Kandy became the capital of the last kingdom of old Ceylon and resisted successive colonial conquest attempts. The city also preserved and exhibited a sacred tooth of the Buddha and, thus, became Ceylon's Buddhist center.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
MassKara Festival, Bacolod City, Philippines
Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Chefchouen to Merzouga, Morocco

Morocco from Top to Bottom

From the aniseed alleys of Chefchaouen to the first dunes of the Sahara, Morocco reveals the sharp contrasts of the first African lands, as Iberia has always seen in this vast Maghreb kingdom.
Meeting of the waters, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Manaus, Brazil

Meeting the Meeting of the Waters

The phenomenon is not unique, but in Manaus it has a special beauty and solemnity. At a certain point, the Negro and Solimões rivers converge on the same Amazonas bed, but instead of immediately mixing, both flows continue side by side. As we explore these parts of the Amazon, we witness the unusual confrontation of the Encontro das Águas.
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 1)

And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.

The theme of light in photography is inexhaustible. In this article, we give you some basic notions about your behavior, to start with, just and only in terms of geolocation, the time of day and the time of year.
One of the tallest buildings in Valletta, Malta
Valletta, Malta

An ex-Humble Amazing Capital

At the time of its foundation, the Order of Knights Hospitaller called it "the most humble". Over the centuries, the title ceased to serve him. In 2018, Valletta was the tiniest European Capital of Culture ever and one of the most steeped in history and dazzling in memory.
Montserrat island, Plymouth, Soufriere volcano, path to volcano
Montserrat, Lesser Antilles

The Island of the Volcano that Refuses to Sleep

In the Antilles, volcanoes called Soufrière abound. That of Montserrat, re-awakened in 1995, and remains one of the most active. Upon discovery of the island, we re-enter the exclusion area and explore the areas still untouched by the eruptions.  
Geothermal, Iceland Heat, Ice Land, Geothermal, Blue Lagoon
Winter White

The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

Most visitors value Iceland's volcanic scenery for its beauty. Icelanders also draw from them heat and energy crucial to the life they lead to the Arctic gates.
On the Crime and Punishment trail, St. Petersburg, Russia, Vladimirskaya
Saint Petersburg, Russia

On the Trail of "Crime and Punishment"

In St. Petersburg, we cannot resist investigating the inspiration for the base characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky's most famous novel: his own pities and the miseries of certain fellow citizens.
Capelinhos volcano, Misterios, Faial, Azores
Capelinhos Volcano, Faial, Azores

On the trail of the Capelinhos Mistery

From one coast of the island to the opposite one, through the mists, patches of pasture and forests typical of the Azores, we discover Faial and the Mystery of its most unpredictable volcano.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Cahuita, Costa Rica, Caribbean, beach
Natural Parks
Cahuita, Costa Rica

An Adult Return to Cahuita

During a backpacking tour of Costa Rica in 2003, the Caribbean warmth of Cahuita delights us. In 2021, after 18 years, we return. In addition to an expected, but contained modernization and hispanization of the town, little else had changed.
M:S Viking Tor Ferry-Wrapped Passenger, Aurlandfjord, Norway
UNESCO World Heritage
Flam a Balestrand, Norway

Where the Mountains Give In to the Fjords

The final station of the Flam Railway marks the end of the dizzying railway descent from the highlands of Hallingskarvet to the plains of Flam. In this town too small for its fame, we leave the train and sail down the Aurland fjord towards the prodigious Balestrand.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
Tarrafal, Santiago, Cape Verde, Tarrafal Bay
Tarrafal, Santiago, Cape Verde

The Tarrafal of Freedom and Slow Life

The village of Tarrafal delimits a privileged corner of the island of Santiago, with its few white sand beaches. Those who are enchanted there find it even more difficult to understand the colonial atrocity of the neighboring prison camp.
Pilgrims at the top, Mount Sinai, Egypt
Mount Sinai, Egypt

Strength in the Legs, Faith in God

Moses received the Ten Commandments on the summit of Mount Sinai and revealed them to the people of Israel. Today, hundreds of pilgrims climb, every night, the 4000 steps of that painful but mystical ascent.
End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

Once a mere mining outpost, Talkeetna rejuvenated in 1950 to serve Mt. McKinley climbers. The town is by far the most alternative and most captivating town between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Flock of flamingos, Laguna Oviedo, Dominican Republic
Oviedo Lagoon, Dominican Republic

The (very alive) Dominican Republic Dead Sea

The hypersalinity of the Laguna de Oviedo fluctuates depending on evaporation and water supplied by rain and the flow coming from the neighboring mountain range of Bahoruco. The natives of the region estimate that, as a rule, it has three times the level of sea salt. There, we discover prolific colonies of flamingos and iguanas, among many other species that make up one of the most exuberant ecosystems on the island of Hispaniola.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.