Rural Tourism in Caribbean Coast PDF Print E-mail
Three cultures sharing a corner of paradise.

Surrounded by exuberant nature and a vibrant culture, this region plunges you into the rhythm of the tropics. Time seems to slow down as soon as you leave Braulio Carrillo National Park, heading for the Southern Caribbean. Nature lovers will enjoy the rainforests of Cahuita National Park and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge as well as one of Costa Rica's best coral reefs. Each year thousands of sea turtles nest on the country's Caribbean beaches. For many years different ethnic groups have shared the region harmoniously, each one maintaining its own identity.

Calypso Caribbean Costa RicaCommunities like Kek�ldi, Yorkin and Shirloles represent the indigenous Bribri culture, whiffle Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo are inhabited predominantly by people of Afro-Caribbean descent. Mestizos from all over the country have sought refuge and work in the area, and more recently, people from all over the world have bought land near the coast, seeking an alternative lifestyle. There have been many attempts to tame this land, but so far the power of its nature and the feistiness of its people have made that impossible. Approaching the Caribbean requires the same respect you would accord a magic place of power.

Visit the Caribbean at a relaxed pace, without prejudices, and be ready to savor each unexpected happening. One of the most enjoyable ways to tour the area is to rent a bike! Community organizing has been very intense in this area and has given rise to a variety of rural community tourism initiatives lead by associations that work for sustainable development and conservation. Most of them are part of the Talamanca Caribe Biological Corridor. In order to preserve their natural treasures, these organizations have had to confront land speculation, overdevelopment, the monoculture of the banana plantations and attempts at oil exploration.

To find out more about the fascinating history of this region from the time of the Spanish conquest, read Tatiana Lobo's Assault on Paradise or Carlos Luis Fallas's masterful description of life on the banana plantations, Mamita Yunai. To learn about more recent environmental struggles, read La Loca de Gandoca by Ana Cristina Rossi. And for the classic oral history of the black community in their native English, read Paula Palmer's What Happen. Juanita Sanchez has written and illustrated several books of indigenous legends, some in bilingual editions. You can buy them at the entrance to the Kek�ldi Reserve.


Black workers who came from the Caribbean islands to build the railroad between San Jose and Lim�n brought instruments like the quijongo, the ukelele, the four string guitar and the banjo. The introduced calypso music to Costa Rica, it evolved and has been kept alive until today as a major part of the colorful Lim�n carnaval. Through their music, the calypsonians transmitted the history and current events of their people, helping them survive by making them laugh. Their ability to view life with their unique sense of humor made them the spokesmen of the poor and kept people's spirits up. Calypso talks about exploitation but also of freedom and hope Sung in Caribbean English or Mekatelyu, it was transmitted orally. Now some of Costa Rica's most famous calypsonians have made CDs.
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