Holding on to traditions . . .
As technology and communication expand and spread to all corners of the world, the tendency for the world’s cultures is to blend, to homogenize, and to lose age-old traditions. Even ancient languages are being lost. As an expansion of conservation in general, years ago Campanario embarked on planning programs to emphasize conserving cultural aspects of different corners of Costa Rica. These corners of Costa Rica include rural areas, small towns and villages, religious centers, Indian Reserves, and archeological sites. Some areas we visit are easy to access, some more difficult, but all are off the usual route and routine of mass tourism. By the very fact that we are visiting and are interested in the traditions, languages, and ways of living, we are giving value to maintaining them.
Touristy locations are avoided, students visit the rural Costa Rican in his/her home, place of work, and/or school. At times there are opportunities for joining a family for a home stay. For a better cultural experience, students practice their Spanish, play soccer with local teams, eat what the host family is serving, and even “shadow” workers to learn how a town functions.
Some of the areas we frequent with student groups are:
Boruca Indian Reserve
The Borucan Indians, while quite aculturated into rural Costa Rican life, are desperately working on resurrecting old traditions, crafts, natural medicines, and the Brunca language. Sometimes we are privileged to learn and practice some of their crafts.
Guaymi de Osa Indian Reserve
The Guaymi de Osa are more remote geographically and are not as integrated into Costa Rican life. They are still speaking Ngobe, their language, still practice many age-old customs, and women continue to wear their tradtional dress. We stay with a family that has added rustic bunk rooms for our stays.
This is the Association for the Conservation and Development of the Hills (Cerros) of Escazú, dedicated to the conservation of the watershed above the town of Escazú. In addition, through the association, some of the neighbors, who still practice tradional crafts and agriculture, offer us experiences in traditional ways of living.
Sierpe is the river village at the end of the road when boarding a boat for Campanario. Sierpe is the docking point for plantations and ranches on the river and for tourists on their way through to locations near Corcovado National Park. Fortunately, Sierpe is still small enough so everyone knows each other. We explore and experience small town life by living with a host family, shadowing a worker, and/or working in a local business.
Diquis Stone Spheres park
This site of a variety of originally placed stone spheres is now owned and operated by the National Museum. It is currently under evaluation by UNESCO to be designated a world heritage site.
Guayabo National Momunment
Guayabo is an archeological site located on the forested southern slope of Turrialba Volcano. It is believed to be an important cultural, political, and religious center, but many details have yet to be discovered, as only a small portion of the city has been uncovered and studied.
The National Museum is located in San Jose and offers several display rooms tracing the history of Costa Rica from the time if its first inhabitants to the present.
Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles
La Basílica is a Catholic temple in the city of Cartago and is the destination for thousands of pilgrims on the 2nd of August each year. The temple was established there in the 1600s after an image of Our Lady of the Angels appeared to the people there at the time. We spend some quiet time at the Basilica.
Lunch with doña Lola
Our day with doña Lola is a time of sharing and cooking lunch with a wonderful and elderly resident of Escazú who has seen the town grow up around her. Doña Lola still has a working mud oven and cooks with firewood. This is a wonderful step into the past with doña Lola as our “guide”.
Visiting the traditional Saturday morning farmers’ markets, which truly show the wealth of the country, is a wonder for all visitors. A plethora of fresh foods are for sale, and participants take advantage of this, practicing their Spanish as they purchase and taste new and different foods.
A class or two with a pro gets everyone moving.
Ox-Cart factory and Sarchi
More information coming soon.
Note: Campanario reserves the right to adjust or cancel portions of any itinerary due to bad
weather or dangerous sea conditions.