Maleku Art
"Kapi Kapi"

A Maleku Greeting and also a welcoming phrase

Once you enter the Maleku indigenous reserve you will see some wonderfull art. The beauty of each piece will depend on the skill of the person that created it, and almost everyone on the reserve will do some pieces, even the little children. They are colorful and naive, and they represent their believes and way to see the world.

Most of their art pieces are made out of Bambu and Jicara, which is a fruit that when it dries it gets hard. Although their art is no longer as ostencios as it once was, all members of the tribe work together to paint and sell these pieces to art lovers.

Some of the animals that you will most frequently see on the Maleku art work are:

Thanks to the special help given by Maleku Tafa.

El jaguar or Tafa is the most important animal on the Maleku culture. It is the stronger animal and it represents the person that comands and guides the tribe.




The Black Peacock, called in Spanish Pavón is an important animal in the Maleku Culture.

This animal is beloved to be designated by God as a protector of the Maleku hunter.

You may see the pictorical representation of the bird TUFI om the typical rain sticks made by the Maleku artists.

There are many birds representated on Malekus art since they are so important for their culture and are part of their daily living.
















Ola (Lapa Roja in Spanish)

It is the Maleku word for "Lapa Roja" (Spanish), or Macaw in English. This bird represents the Sacred and the untouchable aspects of Nature.

The beautiful feathers of these birds are used in buries also. The meaning of this bird on Maleku art has relation to fidelity since the Maleku people really precious monogamy.













Pajaro Maleku

Rana Maleku










Tucan MalekuPili - It is the Maleku word for a Toucan (Tucán in Spanish). They are also pictured around big leaves (called Aru on Maleku) and other colorful birds.

The meaning of this bird among the Maleku people is the tranquilizing force of Woman over the natural aggressiveness of Man. It also means the inner and outer beauty of a person and it is related to their beautiful color.

This beautiful and colorful brid is also a very romantic bird. Depending on the way a Maleku artist paint a Toucan or "Pili", it represents something specificly.

For example if a toucan is looking upward is representing a peaceful and happy time, as if it were looking toward God. On the other hand, if the toucan is looking downward it reflects a dangerous and chaotic situation.















Oso Hormiguero




Anteater / Oso Hormiguero / Oron


Bobo Maleku






Other animal that is widely depicted on Maleku are is the Coral Snake. In spanish it is called Culebra Coral and the Maleku word for this animal is Jalhanh or Jalan. Because of its ways and inteligence this animal represents the person with most experience or an experpt on the shaman's medicinal arts.

In the Maleku art there are a lot of different birds depicted. The little bird is also called Jumping Bird or Pajaro Saltarin in Spanish. In Maleku language this brid is called "Piluctuc". The name of this bird refers to its natural inclination to jump from branch to branch or from tree to tree. It is a very small but beautiful and colorful bird and can be found on the wetlands bird.

The Blue Morpho or Mariposa Azul in Spanish is the national butterfly of Costa Rica. In the Maleku language this butterfly is called "fufu". Its gorgeous blue wings flutter gracefully through fields and forests throughout the country. For the Malekus, the bright blue of the Morpho represents the color of love or love itself. It is a whole leyend that was created from this mystical creature.

Another important animal is the Trogon, called in Maleku language Ancoc. It is mostly important because of its colors: The green represents the forest, the red represents potential destruction of nature which serves as a warning to mankind to treat Nature with respect, and the white represents purity and cleanliness.

The Hummingbird or Colibri, called Piji in Maleku represents the curiosity of the Maleku people and also the peace. In some Maleku house spiderwebs are left to attract hummingbirds since they bring with them peace.

The owl is called Mucmuc, and it represents the vision of the future.

uri uri


Uri uri is the Maleku name for monkeys.









For more information about the Maleku culture, visit their site:

  1. In february, the town of Palmares hosts one of the biggest "Fiestas" in the country. There are concerts, "corridas de toros" (bulls), food and bars. First two weeks of January.
  2. Every second week of October (October 12), Puerto Limón hosts a festival called carnaval. The event's start is credited to local community leader and activist, Alfred Josiah Henry Smith (known as "Mister King"), who helped organize the first carnaval in October 1949.
  3. On August 2 (August 1), a big portion of the population (almost 2 millions) pilgrimade to the Basilica de la Virgen de los Angeles to celebrate the special day of the Virgen aparicion.
  4. August 31, "Pasada de los Santos de San Ramon Nonato" en San Ramon
  5. El desfiles de los Faroles on September 14, the day before September 15, Costa Rica Independence day.
  6. On December 11th, at Nicoya taes place the celebration that combines the Christian and the indeginous culture, en homenaje a "la Senorita de Guadalupe".
  7. In January 15 "Las Fiestas Patronales" Santa Cruz of Guanacaste de Santo Cristo Negro de Esquipulas. Baile de los indios promesanos.
  8. October 31 is the National Day of the Costa Ricas Macaradas.
  9. In the middle of January La Copa del Cafe at the Costa Rica Country Club (Tenis).
  10. The "mascaradas" at Santa Barbara de Heredia.
  11. Holy wednesday, at Cot in Cartago, there is the celebration of "El Cristo de las Cintas".
  12. On the second sunday of march is the National Day of the "Boyeros" in San Antonio de Escazu.
  13. During the end of the year, each December 25 to January 4, is the beginning of "Fiestas de Zapote".
  14. Carnavales de Puntarenas on the last week of february.
  15. The celebration of La Virgen del Mar. The closest saturday to July 16.
  16. During January most catholic people celebrate the "Rezo del Nino".
  17. September 28, Feria del Pejivaye in Tucurrique.
  18. The last sunday of May (May 15), on the day of San Isidor Labrador takes place la Bendicion de los animales.
  19. Semana Santa takes place in march and april.
  20. Día de la Anexión de Guanacaste - 25 de Julio.
  21. In the middle of march if the national exhibition of orchids.
  22. Festival de la Luz takes place on december.
  23. Carnaval at San Jose takes place on December 27.
  24. El Tope, takes place on December 26.
  25. October 12 celebrates at Tres Rios de La Union, dia de la Virgen del Pilar.
  26. December 8, Fiesta de Negritos in Boruca.
  27. Each two years is the "Festival de las Artes" (FIA)
  28. FID "Festival Internacional de Diseno takes place every year in February.
  29. La Fiesta de los Diablitos takes place the last week of february in la aldea del Boruca del rey Curre, south of San Isidro del General.
  30. On October there is la feria del Maiz in Upala.
  31. La Vuelta ciclistica de Costa Rica.
  32. In november 5 to 7, La Ruta de los Conquistadores. Most importan Mountain biking event and also the most difficult rout for mountain biking in the world.
  33. Festival Envision new age event in Dominical takes place in March.
  34. Costa Rica open of Surf takes place on December 6 and 7.
  35. On the last week of August takes place the Festival Flores de la Diáspora Africana.
  36. Every saturday or sunday, depening on the area, takes place the Feria del Agricultor.
  37. On december Las Posadas.
  38. Desove de Tortugas.
  39. At the end of June and the negining of July is la Feria del Queso at Santa Cruz de Turrialba.
  40. La Feria del Jocote takes place at La Uruca de Aserri, which takes place at the end of July.
  41. On April, Feria del Palmito and small vegetables takes place in Tucurrique Cartago.
  42. In May, Feria del Chayote, takes place in las Ruinas de Ujarras.
  43. On september takes place la Feria del Maíz de Mollejones de Platanares.
  44. Dia de la Madre
  45. Dia del Padre
  46. Agosto, Festival de Musica Creodmatic.
  47. February 12 - Dia de los enamorados.
  48. Feria Verde takes place evry saturday from 7 am to 1 p.m. to sell organic vegetables and handcrafts.
  49. Embrujarte takes place in December.
  50. Valorarte shows the best of the Contemporary Art in Costa Rica and takes place in November of each year.
  51. Feria de Bellas Artes in December which takes in UCR.
  52. EXPOTUR 2015 Costa Rica Travel Mart takes place in May 7 and 8.
  53. From March 1 to March 4 takes place la Feria de las Fresas at Vara Blanca, Heredia. Among the activities planned are the strawberry fight and the desert match.
  54. La Feria Internacional del Libro
  55. Feria del Cafe takes place in LA Aduana, at San Jose city on January 15 for three days.
  56. La Feria de las Frutas en Orotina.
  57. El Baile de la Polilla takes place on October 11 at the main park of Alajuela to celebrate dthe founding of the city.
  58. El Tope Nocturno de Atenas, and Coronado.
  59. Feria de la Naranja takes place at Tabarcia de Mora in San Jose Province, Last week of January and first weekend of February.
  60. Festividad San Luis de Tolosa takes place in Aserri in August 25.
  61. Feria America Tropical (Mayo 22 - 23) at the University EARTH in Guacimo, Limon.
  62. Corpus Cristi (Junio 4) at Pacayas, Cartago. Streets decorated with flowers.

  1. The municipality of Grecia is home to the Iglesia de la Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercy Church), a church constructed almost entirely of sheet metal, brought from Belgium. Today, it is painted dark red.
  2. Ujarrás contains the ruins of one of the oldest churches in Costa Rica, Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción, which was built in the 1580s during early colonial times.
  3. The Tempisque River Bridge (known locally as El Puente de La Amistad) that connects the mainland to the Nicoya Peninsula was a gift from Taiwan.
  4. Casa Amarilla located in San Jose. It is the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. Its Neocolonil architecture is a combination of colonial architecture with the new trends.
  5. Escuela Metalica. It is the first public school in Costa Rica divided into the school of girls and the schools of boy. It was brought from Europe during the Feria Universal de Paris.
  6. Cartago Ruins or Ruinas de Cartago was built three times, and the three times several earthquakes brought it down, so they left it like it is today.
  7. Iglesia de Coronado. Built on 1940 by the architect Teorico Quiros. One of the very few representations of the Neogothic in Costa Rica. It was finance by farm people and boyeros.
  8. National Theather (Teatro Nacional). It was build in 1947, one of the most important buildings of the Capital San Jose. It was financed by the coffee farm owners. It is a small copy of the one of the theathers in Paris.
  9. Museo de Jade Jose Fidel Tristan (Jade Museum). Founded in 1972 in the INS building, it was remodelated on 2014 and now shows the biggest collection of precolumbian art and jade pieces in Costa Rica.
  10. Teatro Melico Salazar. Founded on 19. It was first the Thether Reventos to show activities for the middle class of Costa Rica. It was burned and restored on 1990 and transformed in what we know now as Teatro Melico Salazar
  11. Estadio Nacional (National Stadium). The modern National Stadium we have now was reoppened on 2012. The old one was demolished. It was built with the help of China Government.
  12. Parque Morazan (Morazan Park). The location where the park is now used to be the site of rich people on San Jose. It was also the location where first was the Presidential House and nowadays it shows the Templo de la Musica.
  13. Parque Central (Central Park). In front of the park is the Metropolitan Cathedral which is one of the most important churchs in San Jose.
  14. Parque Nacional. It is important because of its location close to the government buildings and embassies, as well as the train station to the Atlantic site and the aduana (costums). It used to be the entrance to San Jose. It also shows the National monument which was made honoring the Costa Rican soldiers protecting the country.
  15. Basilica de la Virgen de los Angeles. Located in Cartago city, was built (1930s) by the spanish architector Luis Lhanc over a colonial capel. It is the site of Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, where she first appear.
  16. Gran Hotel Costa Rica. It is the first and oldest hotel in Costa Rica.
  17. Correos & Telegrafos de Costa Rica. Built by Luis Lhanc with eclectic style.
  18. Museo Nacional. It was the former Militar base of San Jose. By 1948 it was taken by the Liberationist (Jose Figueres Ferrer) and the army was abolished. It later became the history museum of Costa Rica.
  19. Fortin de Heredia. It was built by Fadrike Gutierrez (painter, sculptor and architect) on the 19th century.
  20. Iglesia de Orosi. Founded by the Fraciscan frailes that first built the Ujarras Church. There later was founded the Schools of Arts and Skills. It is one of the fewest colonial buildings in Costa Rica.
  21. La Casona de Santa Rosa. It used to be a private property and it is located close to the Nicaragan Border. There took place the Battle of Santa Rosa where the national heroe Juan Santamaria died defending the country from the american Willim Walker in 1856.
  22. Iglesia de Nicoya. It was built over a indigenous cementary to honor the Virgen of Guadalupe. It was restored various times because of the earthqueakes. It is one of the oldest churchs in the country.
  23. Iglesia de Cañas. It is a contemporary church and it depicts the mosaic art work of Otto Apuy.
  24. Iglesia de Quircot de Cartago. 1584. It is a small capel that used to be a Franciscan convent. One of the oldest and most simple church in the country. It is located on the road to Irazu.
  25. Iglesia de Zarcero - Parque de Zarcero. It is dedicated to San Rafael Arcangel. It was built in metal. It is recognized by its gardens with animals forms.
  26. Museos del Banco Central. Located under the Plaza de la Cultura and the National Teather. It was built in the 1980s. It has the biggest collection of gold and numismatics of Costa Rica, as well as the biggest pinecoteca.
  27. Museo de los Niños - Antigua Penitenciaria. It was a former jale, built in the middle of the 19 century. It was destroied by prisioners in 1970 and it was the remodelated during the government of Calderon Guardia and transformed in a Childrens Museum.
  28. La Casa de los 7 Ahorcados. It has a leyend.
  29. Teatro Variedades. It was built by the Urbini Family and it was a thether for the middle and low class of Costa Rica.
  30. Castillo del Moro: San José, Costa Rica (edificio de valor patrimonial). It is located on the Otoya neighborhood and it has a arabic influence in its architecture.
  31. **Edificio de Correos en Heredia. It was built in the 19th century.
  32. Colegio San Luis Gonzaga located in Cartago. All the buildings in Cartago are connected through tunels under ground. This School is connected with the Dona Cleta Lagoon.
  33. El Colegio Superior de Senoritas. It was founded to fullfill the necesity of shools for girls and the teachers in its mayority were french.
  34. Ferrocarril del Atlantico. Built on the 19th century with a clasical style.
  35. Casa Jimenez de la Guardia. One of the fewest houses with Art Nouvo built by the spanish architec Francisco Tenca in 1900. It was a strategic place in the city so it took an important place on the war of 1948 because of a meeting place. It was restored on 2013.
  36. ***Botica Solera.
  37. ***Puente de Piedra
  38. ***Mercado Municipal de Limón.
  39. Monumento Nacional Guayabo. It is the most important archeological site in Costa Rica right now opened to the public. It is very important becuase of its ingenery for water distribution and stone roads that are thought to be bigger than what has been discovered until now.
  40. ***Iglesia de Sitio Mata. Turrialba, Cartago.
  41. ***La Ermita de La Inmaculada Concepción del Llano de Alajuela
  42. El antiguo Sanatorio Durán. It used to be a hospital built in 1970s specially for the treatment of tuberculosis and other incurable diseases. It is know a hunting site.
  43. Liceo de Costa Rica.
  44. Museo de Arte Costarricense. It used to be the first international airport of Costa Rica until 1955 and it became later a museum of Arts. It was desing by the Tico architect Jose Maria Barrantes in 1937 and the building was opened in 1940.
  45. Catedral de Puntarenas. Located in Puntarenas city it is a church made out of stone.
  46. Conservatorio de Alajuela - Edificio de la Casa de la Cultura de Alajuela, ubicado frente al parque central de Alajuela. It used to be the first school in Alajuela. During the war of 1948 it was used as a cuartel and it has underground tunels that connect the whole city of Alajuela. It was founded in 1847.
  47. Steinvorth Building.

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