Sister City: Monteverde, Costa Rica
Located in northwestern Costa Rica, the Monteverde district consists of three adjacent communities, Cerro Plano, Santa Elena and Monteverde, generally known together as Monteverde. The population is about 5,000. It is located on the western slope of the continental divide at about 4,600 feet elevation. Its seasons are limited to wet and dry and the climate is comfortable year round.
Monteverde is world-renowned for its cloud forests. These forests, perpetually in mist, harbor an abundance of plants, wildlife and other living things that are of significant scientific interest, as well as bringing tourists from around the world.
In the 1950s, Quakers from the United States emigrated to Monteverde. They quickly and deliberately integrated with the local Tico population. Only in December 2002 did Monteverde become self-governing, with an elected mayor and council. Until the 1970s, the economy was agriculture, mainly dairy farming. However, scientific interest in the Monteverde Cloud Forest spawned both conservation efforts and tourism. Today, although agriculture remains important, tourism is the primary economy. Museums, galleries, recreation and natural attractions, hotels, restaurants and shops host about 100,000 visitors per year. Promotional materials are on display at the Estes Park Visitor Center.
Why Sister Cities?
In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the People to People program, believing that citizen diplomacy was essential to international understanding. Sister Cities are a way of achieving that connection between Americans and citizens of other countries. Sister Cities International, a non-governmental organization, was formed in 1967. There are now over 3,500 communities in 67 countries with formal Sister City relationships. Estes Park is a member of Sister Cities International.
What is the Estes Park Sister Cities Association?
The Estes Park Sister Cities Association Inc. (EPSCI) is a non-governmental, non-profit 501(c)3 Colorado Corporation founded in 2002. Membership is open to anyone interested. Estes Park formally entered into a Sister City agreement with Monteverde in 2004. The purposes of EPSCAI are to foster international understanding through long-term mutual cooperation between communities in other countries and cultures, and to plan and organize Sister City activities. The monthly meetings are open to all. Currently, EPSCAI is working with the Town of Estes Park and other community organizations to develop youth programs. There are opportunities to develop music, visual arts and crafts, science, protected area management, tourism, medical and library exchanges.
For more information, to join EPSCAI, or make a tax-deductible contribution, contact: Estes Park Sister Cities Association, Inc., P.O. Box 403, Estes Park, CO 80517.