In 1948, Costa Rica abolished its military and the previous military budget has been dedicated to security, education and culture. This act of pacifism has attracted many to this small country for various reasons over the past sixty-six years.
During that same year, the United States passed the Universal Military Training Act, and as Quakers believing in pacifism, four ordinary American families who were faced with this intolerable threat to their religious freedom and antiwar beliefs, found the courage not only to stand up to the U.S. Government, but to leave behind their lives, friends and homes to move to a cloud forest in Costa Rica in 1950. At that time, there were no roads, schools or electricity and they built new lives from the ground up based on pacifism and an economy centered around dairy farming. These brave and pacifistic Quakers have continued until this day to share their lives, efforts and resources to protect the environment and teach peace in the community they founded; Monteverde.
Today, Monteverde continues to thrive with a population estimated to be in the hundreds and it is home to several schools, including the Monteverde Friends School, which was founded over 60 years ago by the Quakers. Other bilingual and bi-literate schools include the Cloud Forest School and Monteverde UNED.
Monteverde is a scientific natural wonder containing 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity and 10% of its flora is indigenous. There are two sustainable research facilities; the Monteverde Institute and the Monteverde Biological Station.
The town is also famous for its Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, which was originally established to protect the community’s watershed.
Since 1973 the reserve has been a living laboratory for hundreds of scientific researchers, as well as a destination for thousands of foreigner visitors who enjoy the abundant biodiversity. Monteverde has gradually grown into what National Geographic calls “the jewel in the crown of cloud forests,” and because of its biodiversity, the community is considered a model for sustainable eco-tourism.
Tourism has thrived in
Monteverde with the advent of eco-tourism and there are a variety of nature based activities to enjoy. The canopy tours are popular and breathtaking. Some of the most popular are; the Original Canopy Tour, Monteverde Extreme Canopy Tour and the Sky Trek Zip Line.
Even though there are many new tourist attractions in Monteverde, the community continues in the Quaker tradition of its founders, by sharing universal values of peace, love and respect for humanity and nature.
Currently, there’s a new film in production titled, “Sweet Home Costa Rica,” which is the story of this group of Quakers who abandoned the USA to settle in Monteverde and never looked back. Here’s a preview of the film; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pduUTP6d4I
The writer, Tom Rosenberger has lived and worked in Costa Rica since 1993 and from his travels throughout the country inspecting property and construction he has acquired a wealth of knowledge about living and doing business in Costa Rica.
If you have questions and would like to contact Tom, click here.