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Destination Details

Monteverde, Costa Rica

 

Areas with poor drainages support swamp forests, while other parts – dissected by deep, expansive gorges – have numerous streams tumbling through, creating rapids, waterfalls and standstill pools. It is, however, not merely the forest and landscape that are so diversified.

The variable climate and large altitudinal gradient have helped to produce an amazingly heterogeneous set of creatures that live here. Some of these include the jaguar, ocelot, Baird’s tapir, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the famously elusive resplendent quetzal.

History: In the early 1950s, a group of Quakers from the United States left their homes in Alabama and arrived in Monteverde at a time when the region was just beginning to be settled. The Quakers, fleeing the United States to avoid being drafted into the Korean War, established a simple life in Monteverde centered on dairy and cheese production. Some of these families helped establish the Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves some 20 years later.

In 1972, the Monteverde rainforest was threatened by local farmers looking to expand their property and homestead on certain forest sites. With this prospect in mind, visiting scientists George Powell and his wife joined forces with longtime resident Wildford Guidon to promote the establishment of a nature preserve. The Tropical Science Center, a non-governmental scientific and environmental organization, proved receptive to the efforts of the Powells and Guidon, and accepted institutional responsibility for ownership and management of the protected areas. An initial land purchase of 328 hectares formed the core of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.

Following the preserve's creation, the Tropical Science Center continued to secure the financial and human resources necessary to expand, consolidate, and properly protect the preserve’s current 10,500 hectares.

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