The day Columbus landed on what is today called "Isla Uvita", in front of Puerto Limon, more than a quater of a million people and no less than eight different ethnic groups were living in the area.The northern cultures of Costa Rica (Chorotegas) had great influence from the Aztec and Maya culture, they were the southernmost culture of what is known as Mesoamerica. The Chorotegas spoke the Nahuatl language from the Mayas and Aztecs.
Other ethnic groups like the Boruca, Bribri, Cabecar, Guaymi, Huetar and Guatuso spoke a language that had its roots in the great continent to the south. This language became more complex as the Arawak and Caribe cultures moved into permanent settlements on the Caribbean Coast adding their sounds.
Very few words are left today for the common use, some of these words are: Talamanca (place of blood) this probably for the butchering of turtles on the Caribbean Coast. Poas (Volcano) is a buttery yellow flowers that grows near the volcano's summit.
The Bribris and the Cabecars are the only two cultures that have been able to keep religious myths pure, outside of major influences from social and cultural changes. The very strength of "Sibu", supreme god and creator of their universe is running strong through the minds of all those who call themselves Cabecar / Bribri after five hundred years of change and more than twenty generations of story telling in a world built around a more overpowering religion.
Today, the Chorotega's ceramics, the Bribri's jicaro, the Guaymi's textiles and the Guatuso's stonework are still telling us stories. Today's replicas or reproductions are as genuine as the originals. Lines and colors tell stories, show beliefs, relate myths, and warrant reverence for what's sacred. The only difference is age. Clay, paints, materials, methods of production are identical to those used a thousand years ago.
When you come to Costa Rica, start your visit by touring our museums: Museo Nacional, Museo de Jade y Museo de Oro. These three tours will prepare you to understand our country better in terms of archeological and historical overviews.