A Little Help from Foreigners 

The 6:30 am wake up call was worth it this morning because it meant I got to explore the beautiful cloud forest of Monteverde. As I toured the forest and at a lecture following the tour, I learned how this forest has been preserved and how Monteverde came to be in general. Foreigners and Quakers from America in general had a large influence on Monteverde. This influence from foreigners though was also felt throughout the country. 

Beginning with the Quakers influence, the Quakers from Alabama arrived in Costa Rica over 50 years ago. They were looking to start a new life out of America. The men that came here had just been released from jail after a military sentence. They decided they wanted to live in a less militaristic country with warmer weather. After hearing Costa Rica had a stable economy and an abolish army, they set off to inhibit the country. When they arrived, they were slightly shocked to see that Costa Rica did not have fully constructed roads and bridges. Although the country was underdeveloped, they continued on their journey through the country. They left San Jose and headed for the other land around Costa Rica traveling by plane, train, jeep and horses. Finally after arriving to the land in the mountains, the area that we now know as Monteverde, they divided it up into farms and land for preservation. This division of land was the first influence the Quakers had. The Quakers preserved parts of the rain forest because they wanted to conserve the water quality and quantity of the country. They continued their influence by advocating for bilingual schools. The Quakers from Alabama next focused on their way of income. They saw the degree of farming that went on in the country and decided to have cheese be their product of interest. Selling first to San Jose and later other parts of Central America, the idea of exportation grew throughout the country. The Quakers also helped Costa Rica with their hydroelectric energy in the mountains which again spread throughout to help the whole country . John Powell, one of the Quakers,  helped expand the rain forest starting with selling his land to become preserved. He helped transform it into the tourist attraction cloud forest it is today and fun fact his son is now a tour guide there! The Quakers also brought the hotel business to the mountains first taking backpackers and students as the hotels were affordable.  All of these influences brought more and more people to the country of Costa Rica.

Aside from the Quakers, other Americans and foreigners have influenced the industries of Costa Rica. Tourism has become one of the most important sources of income for Costa Rica. Costa Rica could not have attracted the amount of tourists they do today without the help of foreigners. The foreigners help speed along the process of developing the country. Although, the Costa Rican’s seemed to be doing well with their agriculture and farming before others came to help, they still benefitted from the innovations that came from other countries. Tourists would not know about Costa Rica without people from their original country visiting the place. The Quakers helped establish one of the country’s most renowned resorts that brings in people from all over the world every week. In general, I have yet to hear a Tico speak poorly about the developments foreigners have helped with in Costa Rica. 

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