LIVING / RETIRING IN MONTEVERDE
Monteverde offers the perfect balance of Nature and Culture. I came to Monteverde on vacation with my son, about a week into our trip I asked him if he wanted to move here, he said yes- we had fallen in love. I went back, handed my resignation and two months later I was back for good. I have not regretted it. It was the best move ever!
The Quakers settled in this area in the early 50’s looking for beauty and the peaceful ways of Costa Tica. They created the Monteverde Cheese Factory which produces rich and delicious ice-cream, cheeses and many other products for national and international consumption.
There is more to do in Monteverde than one can do. The Quakers founded the bilingual Monteverde Friends School which is attended by local children and which also draws families from all over the world, either to teach, volunteer or study. The Cloud Forest School also provides similar opportunities for community involvement. These schools often put on plays, talent and pizza nights, movies, etc. The original community members mostly speak English, but now the second and third generation of settlers are bilingual. It is a nice blend of some of the locals and some transplants. On Fridays, there is a Scrabble’s night, other nights there are free concerts given by local musicians or those who come from San Jose. There is the “kitchen sink orchestra” that you can either join if you play an instrument, or you can enjoy their debuts.
Rio Shanti is one of two yoga studios. You can take all kinds of yoga classes or go for a massage or a reflexology session or see the chiropractor. There is a group that meets on Thursdays to discuss inner peace, world peace and happiness. The Monteverde Institute draws a great deal of professors and researchers as well as students and volunteers. They often host speakers to talk about health, conservation, etc. The University of Georgia San Luis campus similar to the Institute is committed to research and education, to improving the lives of the people around. They have activities for the elderly and often give talks about nutrition, tours of their medicinal plant gardens, etc. On Saturday mornings you can get delicious fresh produce and other items like milk and cheese, freshly baked bread, etc.) directly from the local farmers. Other days you can stop by at the Monteverde Whole Foods store to stock up on items hard to find elsewhere.
The Quakers (Friends) have monthly potlucks open to the whole community, they hold very fun events for the major holidays, so you always feel part of a larger family. And of course, their meeting for worship on Wednesdays and Sundays are open to all. There are also local churches you are welcome to attend.
Emergency and routine medical services in English are provided by Emergencias Medicas, a 24-hr clinic. I had them go to my house one night and they only charged $50, they charge $37 for a regular visit. Nowhere else have I seen such service and one that I can afford. Of course, if you are registered with the public health system, you can go there too, but I prefer the extra special care from a private provider. When you go for a regular visit and you don’t get better, you can go again free until they resolve the issue! There are also two private dentists.
Monteverde is rated the second most sought-after vacation spot and is world-famous for its pristine Cloud Forest reserves. There is so much to do and see. The butterfly gardens, the hanging bridges and canopies, the zip-lines, horse-back riding tour, hiking in the unrivaled forests looking at resplendent quetzals, ruby red poison dart frogs, toucans, bell-birds, gorgeous heliconias, over 300 species of orchids, etc. You can also relax in the spas, swimming pools, etc.
The weather remains pretty much between 65 and 75 degrees all year round. But month of October is very rainy (and it feels colder than 65) and many of us make trips to visit relatives in the States. Some of us opt for the beach 1.5 hours away. It is only a 3-hr drive to San Jose. Once the newly approved highway is finished, the drive time to San Jose will be less than 2 hours. There are two daily buses to San Jose and back, the cost is $5 per trip. But there are also many private transport agencies like Interbus. The town of Santa Elena is 5 minutes away and you can get all the services and items you need there (3 banks, church, grocery stores, restaurants, the local clinic, municipality, ICE offices to hook up your internet, cell phone, phone, electric and water, appliance stores, local schools, gym, etc.)
I feel so safe here. I live amidst people, animal and nature lovers. The first year I arrived, I remember walking back home after staying up all night playing games at the Friends’ School along with many others waiting for the New Year to arrive. I had not walked alone at night like that ever in my life!
The only draw back in moving to Monteverde is the high land and rental prices and the cold that accompanies the rainy season if you live in the heart of the cloud forest. I opted to live right outside in the town of La Lindora. I enjoy all the benefits of Monteverde and its culture, but it is warmer and dryer and the sunsets are awe-inspiring, I have a medicinal plant garden and some vegetables, I live in peace, healthy and happy.
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