The Contrasts of Monteverde

Posted: March 7, 2014

So we have officially been in Costa Rica for three weeks! It is crazy to think that it has been almost a month. We’ve been keeping very busy here at The Center for Sustainable Development Studies! On Saturday we returned from an amazing trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. As we drove up the narrow and winding road from the bottom of the mountain to the top, we saw some beautiful views of the rolling mountains. It was a bittersweet view because, while the grassy fields with cows grazing peacefully meandering up and down the hillside was beautiful, we have also learned enough to know that these fields used to be dense rainforest.

This reality hit home for me the next day when we hiked through the Cloud Forest Reserve to a location called La Ventana, which translates as the window. It gets this name because the point is high enough to see above the trees across the mountainous vista of the continental divide. One side extends towards the Pacific and the other to the Caribbean. On the Caribbean side, the rainforest extends as far as you can see — a stark contrast to the dry fields of the Pacific side. It is field trips (in Spanish, giras) like this that bring to life what we learn about in class, the tense intersection between development and nature preservation.