History & Culture

There is much evidence of the presence of pre-columbian native groups inhabiting Monteverde, but little is known about  the culture or even identity of these native groups. To most Monteverde residents, the history of Monteverde starts with the arrival of Creole populations in the area in the first three decades of the twentieth century.  These first inhabitants arrived in small numbers to do subsistence farming and agriculture and were in one way or another linked  to more wealthy employees of the Guacimal gold mines. Many also settled the nearby lower, warmer valley of San Luis.

1950s and onwards

What is now considered Monteverde (which is in fact only the section of town that is closest to the Monteverde Preserve), was founded by a group of Quakers who came mostly from Alabama in the 1950s. It was the strong pacifist values that led them to defy the American draft during the Korean War and settle in Costa Rica, a country that had just abolished its army. The Quakers were also joined by other non Quakers from Alabama, who were also pacifists and conscientious objectors. The newcomers started dairy farms, learning from the locals but also bringing many innovations and teaching the locals.

Furthermore, their initiative to preserve the watershed and set aside a portion of the land as a nature preserve that would forever change Monteverde. This preserve became the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve and inspired an era of conservation in the area.

Protection of Costa Rican culture at the Hotel Belmar

In response to our commitment towards environmental and socio-cultural well-being, the Hotel Belmar has allocated a space in its facilities to develop, once a month, cultural exhibitions of the indigenous art, chorotega. This program is curated by local artisan, Marcelo Oliveira, who has extensive experience in developing pottery that is 100% handcrafted through solely natural techniques. Mr. Oliveira shares valuable comprehensive information on this practice and will also be selling some of his pieces to visitors who wish to obtain a sample of our indigenous Costa Rican art.