Monteverde is not only the name of a small mountain town but the perfect description for the whole area as in spanish this means “Green Mountain”. Monteverde is divided into three main areas: Santa Elena, Cerro Plano and Monteverde. Santa Elena is the most populated area, with a banks, city buildings, souvenir and grocery shops and the local high school. Cerro Plano is where most hotels in the area are located. Finally, Monteverde is where the cheese factory, the Quaker community and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve are located.
There are two routes that can be followed to get to the Monteverde area. The first and most recommended one is located near kilometer 134 of the Panamerican Highway and goes through Sardinal paved until Guacimal where a gravel road will lead you to Monteverde for the last 18 kilometers. The other route begins near kilometer 149 of the Panamerican Highway just before the bridge over at the Rio Lagarto. The two routes join near Guacimal for the final climb. The bumpy road gives occasional breathtaking views of the lowlands below as you climb on roads that border the mountains. As you wind through thin clouds, cattle across deep valleys below appear as brown or white dots scattered on the steep pastures. The climb through the rocky road gives the visitor plenty of time to enjoy of the beautiful landscapes.
Besides the natural beauty of the place, the tiny, progressive community of Monteverde is itself worth a visit. Pacifist Quakers from North America came here in 1951, drawn by Costa Rica's natural environment and the fact that it had recently abolished its army. They set up a cheese factory business which now produces some the finest cheeses in the country. The Quakers bought milk form neighboring farmers and invited them to become shareholders. Today, the Monteverde Cheese Factory is composed by roughly 430 shareholders which include milk producers, employees and neighbors of the community.
Weather in Monteverde varies through the year between its dry and wet season. The main temperature ranges between 56ºF and 68ºF (16ºC-20º). The average annual rainfall is about 118 inches (3,000 mm) but it can get up to 236 inches (6,000 mm) in the forest areas. There is a growing number of options for the nature travelers in the Monteverde area. These include butterfly gardens and insect exhibitions, reptile and amphibian exhibitions, guided hiking tours through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or the Santa Elena Reserve, Canopy Tours zip-line, hanging bridge walks in the forest, and horseback riding among many others.