"La Amistad" means "friendship" in Spanish, and this serves as a perfect description of the relationship between nature and humans in the Reserve.
La Hacienda La Amistad is located in Las Mellizas, Costa Rica, near the Panamanian border. While some land is used for farming, its main job is acting as a natural reserve. This Reserve conserves approximately 10,000 hectares (just under 24,000 acres) of virgin rainforest. The forest ranges from Premontane Rainforest through Alpine Paramo. The land is divided into small areas for coffee growing and organic agriculture, with the majority of it devoted to conservation and ecotourism. The coffee hillsides are interspersed among patches of forest, rivers, springs and waterfalls to ensure that the farm has minimal, if any, impact on the diverse ecosystem that exists within the enormous plot of land. 95% of this land is dedicated to being a natural reserve, while 5% is utilized for coffee and fruit production. "La Amistad" means "friendship" in Spanish, and this serves as a perfect description of the relationship between nature and humans in the Reserve.
La Amistad Reserve is considered to be one of the most extraordinary forests in all of Costa Rica. Many endangered and rare species make their home there including: quetzals, macaws, toucans, jaguars and a variety of butterfly, insect and reptile species. La Amistad is also home to many types of tapirs and monkeys, including the only nocturnal monkey native to Costa Rica. The United Nations and UNESCO declared La Amistad a biological corridor, a World Heritage Site and a biosphere reserve. La Amistad acts as a gate keeper for the 2.3 million acre biosphere.
Hacienda La Amistad has operated an organic, direct shade-grown coffee estate since 1940, set deep in the rainforest that they actively conserve. The coffee and fruit project is one of the largest and oldest continually certified organic projects in the Americas. Established in 1937, the farm has been growing organically long before there was even a certification process. The owner of La Amistad's lodge and reserve, Roberto Montero, was recognized 22 years ago by The Smithsonian for efforts to protect La Amistad's biosphere. In the past 12 years, Mr. Montero has enacted changes in his coffee and fruit production in order to ensure that he leaves a zero-carbon footprint.
For over 67 years, the La Amistad Eco-lodge, Rainforest Reserve and Coffee Estate has been showing the world how to practice sustainable development, long before the term even existed. Their philosophy on sustainability and balance is, "Every day, we demonstrate how to integrate sound economic development with the best sustainable environmental and social practices." Shade raised coffee is known for its superior taste and symbiotic relationship with its surrounding environment. In La Amistad, the coffee plants are shaded by banana trees; this fruit is then harvested, some is sold fresh in Costa Rica, and the rest is dried and exported to the United States. The efficiency of this method is amazing - using banana plants provides the farm with another means of income, has a lesser impact on the environment, and the trees produce minerals and compounds that enrich the soil - yet another example of the harmonious nature of Hacienda La Amistad within its ecosystem. It is truly a one of a kind gem and we feel so fortunate for our 23 years of business and personal relationships with both the farm and Roberto Montero.