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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 practice 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 Reserve) was founded by a group of Quakers who came mostly from Alabama in the 1950s. It was their strong pacifist values that led them to defy the American draft during the Korean War and settle in Costa Rica, a country that had recently abolished its army. The Quakers were also joined by 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.

Local artisan Marcelo Oliveira developing pottery according to Monteverde cultureFurthermore, their initiative to preserve the watershed and set aside a portion of the land as a nature preserve would forever change Monteverde. This preserve became the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and inspired an era of conservation in the area.

Protection of Costa Rican culture at the Hotel Belmar

As part of our commitment to environmental and socio-cultural well-being, Hotel Belmar has allocated a space in its facilities to host monthly cultural exhibitions of Chorotega indigenous art. 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 indigenous Costa Rican art.


Together, the protected natural areas of Monteverde constitute an area of over 28,000 hectares, or 69,000 acres, and make up one of largest networks of private preserves in Central America, protecting some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems. The following are some of the major ones.


Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve
The Children’s Eternal Rainforest
Santa Elena Reserve
Curi-Cancha Wildlife Refuge


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