Monteverde and the Quakers

The first 11 Quaker families first came to Costa Rica in 1951 from Alabama because four Friends had been jailed for refusing to serve in the Korean War and the families were seeking somewhere they could live in peace.

Costa Rica had abolished its army and the government was encouraging foreigners to come and develop the land. The Monteverde area was only accessible by oxcart when they first came.

The families purchased over 3700 acres of land to be divided between the families. The Friends helped each family build a house.

They set up Monteverde Friends School, completing the main school building in 1957.  Today it is a bilingual school serving the local community – both Quakers and local Costa Ricans – from pre-school through to high school. There is also at least one foreign exchange student who also lives with our HomeStay family.

The Quakers set up a dairy farm and the Monteverde Cheese Factory, which today produces over a ton of cheese a day. They were also farsighted enough to set aside an area on the mountain slopes as virgin cloud forest – high altitude forest cooled by moist air from the Pacific.  The preserved area was the beginning of conservation in the area which now has a number of reserves including the Children’s Eternal Rain Forest (Bosque Eterno de los Niños) which was started by a Swedish child who had visited the area and went back home to raise money to purchase land for a reserve. That has grown to 54,000 acres of land.

Area reserves are

  • Monteverde Cloud Forest (original Quaker land)

    Hummingbird in a nest
  • Curi-Cancha Reserve
    Male Quetzal with long tail

    Male Quetzal Showing Long Tail Feathers
  • Bosque Eterno de los Niños  Fascinating story about how this reserve was started by some children from Sweden in 1987 and has grown to the largest reserve in Central America!
    Orange kneed Tarantula Looks Scary But It Is Harmless
    Motmot Are A Common Sight-Really Blends Into the Trees

    In addition to these large reserves, there are other commercial businesses that are preserving the area with tours and ziplines, etc.

One thought on “Monteverde and the Quakers”

  1. I love seeing your postings. It is totally interesting to me. Have you been to Nicaragua yet and back to Costa Rica? It’s fairly quiet here-it’s very dry and there was a brush fire over by the Wal-Mart distribution center on Old Lucerne Park Road. I guess it was pretty exciting–we didn’t even know until after the fact–the wind was blowing the smoke south, so we didn’t smell anything. We’ve had clouds all day, but so far no rain–need it really badly! Love to you both, Pat and Bob

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