The Cloud Forest School is located in Monteverde, a community in the picturesque Tilarán Mountain Range in northwestern Costa Rica. We are at the doorstep of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve and the Arenal-Monteverde Conservation Network, measuring more than 90,000 hectares (220,000 acres). The Monteverde community is an average of 1,300–1,500 meters above sea level (4,200–5,000 feet) and is home to roughly 6,000 permanent residents. This area was first settled in the late 1930’s and 40’s by pioneering Costa Rican families whose main economy was subsistence agriculture. In the early 1950’s a group of sixty Quakers arrived from Alabama, named it Monteverde, took the initial step toward cloud forest conservation and began dairy farming as a means of livelihood.
In recent years, the growth of eco-tourism has provided economic alternatives, and fewer local people are making a living from dairy farming. The area is still very rural and the majority of the roads are unpaved. Many residents do not have cars, so walking, motorcycles and taxis are the most common forms of transportation. There is a daily bus service to the seaport town of Puntarenas (2 hours away) and to the capital city of San José (3-4 hours away).
Many people find Monteverde a dynamic and interesting place in which to live and work. The remarkable cloud forest ecology and climate have drawn scientists, educators, artists, writers, and musicians from around the world to its mountaintop for years, adding a unique and diverse cultural element to the community. Local conservation efforts and ongoing biological research provide a stimulating and dynamic community environment to residents both short- and long-term.
More information about Monteverde Life.