A main access road to Monteverde, one of the most popular tourist sites in Costa Rica, will be paved in its entirety, Public Works and Transport Minister Pedro Castro announced on Sunday.
Castro said the ₡8 billion ($16 million) project awaits authorization from the Comptroller General’s Office. Once permission is granted, workers will replace 18 kilometers of gravel road with asphalt, from Guacimal to Monteverde, in the province of Puntarenas. Residents and businesses in the area, which is famous for its cloud forest, will benefit from the project, officials said.
President Laura Chinchilla and Presidency Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides joined Castro at the announcement, attended by local residents and business owners who gathered for the inauguration of a new fire station.
The current gravel road to Monteverde is narrow and difficult to transit because the original Quaker founders from Alabama have fought to keep it that way to limit the number of visitors.
The area’s most prominent landmark is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, consisting of some 10,500 hectares of tropical rain and cloud forests, visited by some 75,000 tourists a year.
The reserve has attracted many scientists over the years, as it has more than 2,500 plant species (including the most orchid species in a single place), 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species, and thousands of insects.