These families began constructing homes and farms, and eventually traveled to other communities – such as Puntarenas and Las Juntas de Abangares – to trade their food and wares. In the 1960s, two schools opened, regional roads were improved, and the coffee and dairy industries took off. Local dairy products – in the form of milk, cheese and ice cream – are produced here and exported for both national and international consumption.
Still, coffee has been the steadfast cash crop for the San Luis community. In 1986, a 20 year-old coffee plant was acquired by the Santa Elena Cooperative – or Cooperativa de Santa Elena – and has since been made into one of the area’s foremost coffee producers. Today, visitors can tour the plantation and learn about the growing, harvesting, roasting and marketing strategies of Café Monteverde.
Another main attraction of San Luis is its 100-meter (330-foot) waterfall. A trail winds through a bountiful rainforest before arriving at the waterfall. Here, visitors can enjoy the scenic environment or even opt for a dip into the cold, pooled water beneath the falls.
The San Luis community strives to retain both its cultural heritage and focus on environmental conservation. Within the framework of sustainable ecotourism projects, these goals are being arrived at and built upon year-after-year. The coming years will surely see San Luis continue to develop into an educational and environmental destination.