Developing in the Clouds

One of the biggest alluring features of Costa Rica is its simplicity of living and easy access to natural regions such as green mountains, volcanos, the ocean, and waterfalls. Costa Rica is a beautiful country in itself with a lot of promise in areas that attract a lot of people, many of which are tourists due to the increased availability in excursions and developed areas in these lush places. It also helps that Costa Rica is in the center of Central America and along the equator bringing constant nice, warm weather and predictable rain.

Before many of these places could become the tourist spots they are today, there needed to be people to develop the land and make it inhabitable. Many natives lived in the more valleys which were further developed by the Spaniards when they came, however, developed the land even more in searching for gold and other valuable items. It was less common to develop in the mountains due to the terrane beside those natives who lived there.

One of the biggest developments was started by a group of United States Quakers from Alabama who were trying to leave the country during World War II after being arrested for not enlisting in the military. Marvin talked about how upon their release, they were in search of a less militarized country to move to. Countries like Canada would be too cold, New Zealand and Australia were too far. Looking to Central America A group took an excursion throughout all the Central American countries and considered Costa Rica due to their land (volcanic soil was good for farming), climate (close to the equator and warm), and stable economy.

This group of people took the journey to Costa Rica and finally settled in the mountains with what is now known as Monteverde due to the appeal of its climate, elevation, and terrain. The primary goal of the Quakers were to build a farm to grow crops to be exported as a mode of income. Moteverde was already a lush area of land, so the Quakers decided to settle here. While they began to develop their farms of cattle to make cheese and other crops, they were able to create connection with the local Ticos that had already lived in the area. One of the major things they seemed to bring was a local doctor. Marvin had received medical training so he could provide services to locals in Monteverde since the closest doctor was a long drive away. His contribution was positive to the area because it allowed the natives to have access to medicine locally and get treated more rapidly in case of an emergency. There was also a small change in agriculture in Monteverde when they brought cattle up to make cheese since they were not originally living in the area.

In addition, the Quakers were not the only group to settle in the area. As more groups came, there was a push to preserve some of the land that was in the area and allot it as natural preserves that could not be developed since some of the land was being cleared out due to farming, raising cattle, and to live. The Children’s Forest and Cloud Forest were two products of this movement. The preserves added to the ecosystem of Monteverde and allowed environmental growth and sustainability by not killing, harming, or altering any of the natural processes that would occur in those areas. These were established though sponsors and donations. Even Marvin said that 1/3 of the land they bought was set aside to be a preserve. Now, the amounts of preserved land has grown, increasing the lives and habitats for indigenous creatures.

When mixing a spectacular view and amazing indigenous life, tourism increased in the area and it was more common for foreigners to come and explore to see what the environment has to offer. Marvin had mentioned that he became a tour guide for 12 years all around Costa Rica. These new excursions brought revenue into the country and increased the amount of tourism in the area.

Their contribution to agriculture was negative because they cleared out a lot of land in order to have food. Although they did allow some of the land to be sectioned off to be preserved and not developed, the clearing out of some sections did not help any of the existing agriculture, however, they did bring in new species such as cattle. In terms of ecotourism, I think they were helpful because as a group they were able to create more land preserves of the forests and exposing people to the natural areas and showing the importance of keeping wildlife safe and not destroying it.

Visiting Monteverde and being able to see its wildlife was amazing and very rare to find in other places.

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