Life in the Cloud Forest
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Monteverde is a unique rural community nestled deep in the tropical cloud forest in the beautiful Tilarán Mountains of Costa Rica. Originally settled by five pioneering Costa Rican farming families, the town became home to a group of Quakers who arrived in 1950s and began dairy farming there. They recognized the need for conservation of the biologically-rich cloud forest and took the first steps toward protecting the magnificent ecosystem around them by establishing a reserve.
Now, researchers, students, and tourists from around the world visit Monteverde and study its extensive network of protected lands, which includes the famous Monteverde Reserve, the Santa Elena Reserve, and the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, as well as numerous smaller private reserves. Among the spectacular flora and fauna found in the area are toucans, quetzals, monkeys, coati, sloths, orchids, and strangler figs. Issues of sustainability are front-and-center in the Monteverde zone as eco-tourism brings more visitors, vehicles and businesses to the region, putting pressure on its natural resources.
Our Partner School in Monteverde
The Centro de Educación Creativa (CEC), also known as the Cloud Forest School, is a pioneer in environmental education, inspiring youth from the community not only to understand and appreciate their cloud forest home, but also to seek innovative solutions to the problems of development their community must confront.
The CEC is a bilingual Pre-K through 11th grade school located in Monteverde. Founded in 1991, the independent school offers creative, experiential education to students from the local community, with an emphasis on integrating environmental education into all aspects of school life. The CEC also hosts a volunteer and intern program that has been running for over a decade, giving groups and individuals the opportunity to volunteer at the school and live with host families from the school community.