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.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Visitors in Jameos del Água, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
Architecture & Design
Lanzarote, Canary Islands

To César Manrique what is César Manrique's

By itself, Lanzarote would always be a Canaria by itself, but it is almost impossible to explore it without discovering the restless and activist genius of one of its prodigal sons. César Manrique passed away nearly thirty years ago. The prolific work he left shines on the lava of the volcanic island that saw him born.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
shadow of success
Ceremonies and Festivities
Champoton, Mexico

Rodeo Under Sombreros

Champoton, in Campeche, hosts a fair honored by the Virgén de La Concepción. O rodeo Mexican under local sombreros reveals the elegance and skill of the region's cowboys.
Chania Crete Greece, Venetian Port
Chania, Crete, Greece

Chania: In the West of Crete's History

Chania was Minoan, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Venetian and Ottoman. It got to the present Hellenic nation as the most seductive city in Crete.
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Kente Festival Agotime, Ghana, gold
Kumasi to Kpetoe, Ghana

A Celebration-Trip of the Ghanian Fashion

After some time in the great Ghanaian capital ashanti we crossed the country to the border with Togo. The reasons for this long journey were the kente, a fabric so revered in Ghana that several tribal chiefs dedicate a sumptuous festival to it every year.
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.
Boat Trips

For Those Becoming Internet Sick

Hop on and let yourself go on unmissable boat trips like the Philippine archipelago of Bacuit and the frozen sea of ​​the Finnish Gulf of Bothnia.
Impressions Lijiang Show, Yangshuo, China, Red Enthusiasm
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.
Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

days like so many others

Ulugh Beg, Astronomer, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, A Space Marriage
Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The Astronomer Sultan

The grandson of one of the great conquerors of Central Asia, Ulugh Beg, preferred the sciences. In 1428, he built a space observatory in Samarkand. His studies of the stars led him to name a crater on the Moon.
Solovestsky Autumn
Solovetsky Islands, Russia

The Mother Island of the Gulag Archipelago

It hosted one of Russia's most powerful Orthodox religious domains, but Lenin and Stalin turned it into a gulag. With the fall of the USSR, Solovestky regains his peace and spirituality.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Rancho Salto Yanigua, Dominican Republic, mining stones
Natural Parks
Montana Redonda and Rancho Salto Yanigua, Dominican Republic

From Montaña Redonda to Rancho Salto Yanigua

Discovering the Dominican northwest, we ascend to the Montaña Redonda de Miches, recently transformed into an unusual peak of escape. From the top, we point to Bahia de Samaná and Los Haitises, passing through the picturesque Salto Yanigua ranch.
Kongobuji Temple
UNESCO World Heritage
Mount Koya, Japan

Halfway to Nirvana

According to some doctrines of Buddhism, it takes several lifetimes to attain enlightenment. The shingon branch claims that you can do it in one. From Mount Koya, it can be even easier.
now from above ladder, sorcerer of new zealand, Christchurch, new zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand's Cursed Wizard

Despite his notoriety in the antipodes, Ian Channell, the New Zealand sorcerer, failed to predict or prevent several earthquakes that struck Christchurch. At the age of 88, after 23 years of contract with the city, he made very controversial statements and ended up fired.
Tobago, Pigeon Point, Scarborough, Pontoon
Scarborough a Pigeon Point, Tobago

Probing the Capital Tobago

From the walled heights of Fort King George, to the threshold of Pigeon Point, southwest Tobago around the capital Scarborough reveals unrivaled controversial tropics.
Braga or Braka or Brakra in Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Daily life
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Rottnest Island, Wadjemup, Australia, Quokkas
Wadjemup, Rottnest Island, Australia

Among Quokkas and other Aboriginal Spirits

In the XNUMXth century, a Dutch captain nicknamed this island surrounded by a turquoise Indian Ocean, “Rottnest, a rat's nest”. The quokkas that eluded him were, however, marsupials, considered sacred by the Whadjuk Noongar aborigines of Western Australia. Like the Edenic island on which the British colonists martyred them.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
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.