indigenous,

  • Archeology

    Archeological sites of Costa Rica

    Costa Rica is knonw for its biodiversity, marvelous landscapes and adventure tours, but there is much more than that. Costa Rica is a land of passing, a connective site from people that came from South and North America. There where more than 8 major indigenous groups, including the Huetars, Guaimies, Cabecars, Guatuso or Malekus, Borucas or Bruncas, Terrabas, Bri Bris, Chorotegas, and Teribes among others, and they left their foot print on stones, art, and other interesting elements that are now our beloved archeological sites.

     

    National Monument Guayabo

    GuayaboLocated in Turrialba, Cartago (12 miles from the city of Turrialba), it is the most important archeological site of Costa Rica. Getting there is easy but the road is not good for small cars. It is advisable to enter to the town of Guayabo with a 4 x 4. However, there is a public bus that leaves from Turrialba once a day.

    The site is believe to be 3000 years old. The main development occurred between 400 and 1,400 AD when the stone structures on the site were built. It is one of the oldest pre-Columbian archeological sites of Costa Rica.

    It is mostly unexplore but what is known is very interesting. The importance of this archeological site is based on their ingenery with which the large bridges and dwellings are made.

    It is believe to have been home of more than 1500 people in a land of 49 acres. The base of the constructions were built on wood and stone.

    There were also found petroglyphs with the shape of birds and other zoomorphic themes.

     

     Guayabo Archeological Site - Costa Rica

    Las Lilas Archeological Site

    Petroglifos las lilasLocated on the skirts of Rincon de la Vieja Volcano at Las Lilas de Quebrada Grande de Liberia, and it is an archeological site inside a private farm that belongs to Gonzalo Diaz. Visitors are welcome for a small fee and petroglyphs could be seen on stones close to the main river bank. There is also a butterfly farm and a guide that explains the meaning of these stone representations.

    The petroglyphs are interesting because they are belived to be the site where women came to give birth. Also, the type of figures represented on the stones are zoomorphics and andromorphics.

     

     Las Lilas Archeological Site - Costa Rica

    "El Farallón" of Cañas

    "El Farallon" archeological site is located on Las Lomas farm of the Lopez family. It is an enormous rock wall of Rio Cabuya, of about 60 ft. long, full of indigenous engravings. it was declared National Monument in 1998, but no many people know it. According to several studies, the petroglyphs were made by indigenous people during the early years of the Christian era and 800 BC.

    In order to get there, you must enter the roads that heads to Cañas and follow the sings to Sandillal. From there the road gets a little gravy and at many places it is little more than a trail.

     

     

    Archeological site Rincón de la Vieja

    "Sitio arqueologico colorado". These petroglyphs are found on the road to Curubande of Liberia on the left margin of Colorado River.

    The petroglyphs in these area are very complex and there is a great variety of them. However, there is very few knowledge about the importance of these sites, and with time they are being forgotten and some are even destroyed or covered again.

     

     

     Petroglifo Costa Rica

    Diquis Stone Spheres

    Located on the Delta del Diquís. One of Costa Rica archeological sites was included on the list of World Heritage of UNESCO: stone spheres.

    The greatest amount of stone spheres found in Costa Rica are located in the south part of the country on Finca 6. Recently this area have been develped into an archeological park. The specific location of this park is around 10 km from Palmar Norte, in the Delta del Diquis.

    Actually, a new technology is being used by the Museo Nacional and the Laboratorio Nacional de Materiales y Modelos Estructurales from Costa Rica University (Lanamme), to find more of this stone spheres still buried in the territory. The Delta del Diquis is a territory formed by the sediments of Terraba River and in this place most of the stone spheres have been found and there are many signs that assure investigators that they will found more of this interesting pieces.

     

     

    Other archeological places:

    • Caño Island
    • Petroglyphs from Orosi Volcano
    • Ciudad Cutris

     

    Banana Adventure Tour can help you plan your vacation in the country and add a tour to an archeological site, so that you get the complete experience abroad. Please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

     
  • Bri Bri

    The biggest indigenous Reserve in Costa Rica

     

     The town has all the services that a visitor may need. Just outside the town, there is a river that connects with a smaller river called Yorkin that divides the land between Costa Rica and Panama. The indigenous reserve Yorkin is a small group of houses, with a primary school and a small Pulperia. It has a couple of touristic very rustic lodges as well.

    The indigenous Bri Bris are also called the the people of cocoa, because their economy lies on the production and commercialization of chocolate.

    Arriving there is all an adventure. The ride in a boat through the Yorkin River is a wonderful adventure, and then the walk to the rustic lodge. In there, the visitors enjoy the experience of living like the indigenous people do. The food, the music and everything is just different.

    Among the tours offered in the site, are the chocolate tour and the hike through the forest to the other reserve in Panama, where the Guaymis live.

    Visitors should plan a visit at least for two days and one night. The trip is long but worthed.

     

    Banana Adventure Tours offers you a custom package for any location in Costa Rica. We plan according to our visitors budget. Write us to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

     Bri Bri Indigenous Reserve
  • Culture

    Costa Rica Culture

     

    Costa Rica was conquered by Spanish in the 16th century, so from the beginning it was heavily influenced by the Spanish culture. Limon and the Cordillera de Talamanca are the exception with the predominance of Black Jamaicans and indigenous people. The Ticos and Ticas (the way Costa Ricans denominate themselves) are generally of mixed origins. There were a great number of immigrants who came to Costa Rica during the construction of the railroad; mostly the immigrants came from Jamaica and from China, and stayed in the Caribbean side of the country on Limon Province.

    Costa Ricans speak Spanish, although there have been a great effort from the government to teach English in most schools due to the world necessities nowadays. Normally Ticos and Ticas speak in the respectful manner of "usted", and in the familiar form of "vos" rather than "tu", used in other Latin American countries. The term Ticos and Ticas came from the way Costa Ricans talk using diminutives with the suffixing -ito and -ita.

    The official religion of Costa Rica is Catholicism, although there are other religions practiced in the country. It is very common to see each town in Costa Rica, no matter the side, with a Catholic Church in from of the park or soccer field. In big cities such as San Jose, there are dozens of Catholic Churches everywhere, some are even icons of the Costa Rican Culture and of the city they lie in. The "Patrona" or official virgin of Costa Rica is the Virgen de Los Angeles, also known as "La Negrita", and its main Catholic Church is located in the city of Cartago. One of the main religious festivals in the country is the tradition of "La Romeria", which takes place on August 2 of each year. During this religious festival, thousands of Ticos and Ticas from everywhere in the country, walk to the Cartagos Church, Basilica de Los Angeles.

    Costa Rica is a country without army, so the money that would have been given to maintain the army is invested in education and public health. School is free for every child, and there are 4 well developed huge public Universities in the country (Universidad de Costa Rica UCR, Universidad Nacional UNA, Instituto Tecnologico de Costa Rica ITCR and Universidad de Educacion a Distancia UNED). According to the UNESCO, 96% of the population is literate.

    Costa Ricans use the expression PURA VIDA to state that something is good or ok. It truly represents and differentiates them from other Latin-Americans. As for the cuisine, it is a mix among Spanish, Caribbean, and American food style, with the intense usage of beans, rice, plantains, vegetables and some kind of meat (chicken, fish, meat or pork), all in the famous "Casado". In recent years it has opened to include cuisines from other countries increasing their culinary culture. Costa Rica is an agricultural country, which based its economy in the "Golden Bean" or Coffee. The main agricultural products are Coffee and pineapple among many others. Tourism is Costa Rica´s biggest economic activity, so it has developed a touristic culture to serve and take care of its tourists. Costa Rica has also taken care of it natural resources and have a lot to offer for tourist seeking nature and adventure activities.

    Among Costa Rican culture icons are the Carreta, colorfully decorated with geometric patterns and organic shapes, the official Virgen de Los Angeles, the instrument Marimba, the national flower Guaria Morada (orchid), the national bird Yiguirro, and the national hero Juan Santamaria, among others.

     Oxcart

    Costa Rica´s Central Market

    When visiting Costa Rica, don´t forget to visit any of the numerous city markets present in each big city of Costa Rica. The most important is the Central Market, located in San Jose Downtown and where tourist may experience the real daily life of Costa Ricans. It is one of the most representative places in old San Jose and an icon of Costa Rican Culture.

    On colonial times, the small town of San José was called "La Boca del Monte", because it served as the main entrance to the central part of the country. With time farmers settle down with their families on the area founding want later would be San Jose.

    Costa Rica´s Central Market is visited for over 20 thousand people every day, giving the place a life of its own. It was founded in 1882 and it has been remodeled several times, but it keeps its labyrinth like structure and many exit doors. It is also a place where you can enjoy typical Costa Rican food, like the "Casados" (rice, beans, salad, cheese, plantains, tortillas and meat), "gallo pinto" (rice with beans) and the deliciously sweet drink "agua dulce" (water with national sugar candy).

    The fruits, vegetables, meats, and merchandise are sold on good prices, and while you walk through the hallways, you will enjoy the smell of fresh made tortillas. Like San Jose Central Market, also other cities like Cartago, Heredia, Alajuela, Limon, and Liberia have also a city market. Smallest cities like Grecia have a small market with lots to offer, very clean and with art murals to decorate the place. When you come to Costa Rica, don’t forget to visit one of the markets and experience the Costa Rican culture and history.

     

     

     

  • Indigenous

    Maleku Indidenous Reserve

     

    The Maleku are an indigenous people of Costa Rica which live in the Guatuso Indigenous Reserve near the town of Guatuso (San Rafael de Guatuso), located 1 hour from La Fortuna. There are around 600-1000 aboriginal people still living in Costa Rica and around 500 live on the reserve, but outsiders have come into the community as well. Before the Spanish colonization, the Maleku territory extended as far west as Rincon de la Vieja, and included the volcano Arenal to the south and Rio Celeste (Tenorio National Park) as sacred sites.

    Today their reserve is concentrated south of San Rafael de Guatuso, Alajuela, and there is a little settlement for touristic purposes on La Fortuna. The reserve has 3 "palenques" or villages:

    • Palenque Sol
    • Palenque Tonjibe
    • Palenque Margarita

    Their economy primarily relies on indigenous art that are sold to tourist in the area. The art made by the Malekus includes carvings, paintings, and musical instruments, which are their most popular items. Most members in the villages (including children) make some type of art or help out, by cutting and preparing the necessary balsa wood trees or fruit (jicaras) needed for the projects. The most popular themes of their decorations are animals, which have a special meaning and name.

     

    Maleku Cuture

    In that reserve they have a still a big leader name Alfredo de Jesus. 70% of the tribe speaks Maleku language and the rest just some words. Many of them speak spanish too. Actually the Maleku language: The guatuso or malécu lhaíca (also maléku jaíka, which means "el habla de nuestra gente" - "so speak our people"). Very few people still speak the native language, and it is in danger of dying out.

    Some of the Maleku words are:

    • kapi kapi = means Hello or Welcome
    • afe-pakian = hi
    • hebet = no
    • fufu = morfo butterfly (Italian)
    • niskak = bird
    • pili = toucan
    • pek-pen = frog
    • gnou-ek = red-eye frog
    • ti-fakara = waterfall
    • irri miotem? = what is your name?
    • mioten... = my name is...
    • arrachapi kahole = I would like a cup of coffee
    • errekeki kerakou = let's go (to a place)
    • ereke malehila =let's go swimming

    The Maleku still invite tourists to visit their villages, although most tourists prefer to see them perform ceremonies in the nearby town of La Fortuna. The tour lasts 2 hours and it is very informative. The tourists who visit the villages, learn about healing plants and animals, and also about the Maleku culture.

     

    Banana Adventure Tour can help you plan your vacation in the country and add a different travlling experience, please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Maleku

    jicaras pintadas Maleku

    Artesania Maleku