The Bribri on Yorkin River

A few shots of the Bribri indigenous people during our 4 days at Casa de las Mujeres Yorkin

Our guide’s son and his cousin sucking the “white stuff” off Cacao seeds as
we had done earlier. It is a sweet milky stuff surrounding the bitter seeds that
become chocolate later. Jungle kids don’t get candy or junk food, but pull neat
stuff to eat off trees all the time!

Later they were eating this red fruit that I don’t remember the name of.

We made two morning hikes (before and after breakfast) and one afternoon
hike always passing by different homes or farms on our way into the forest.
All homes are off the ground to avoid flooding and the constant mud in rainy
season and to keep out their own animals as well as wild animals.
No roads to the village but some ride horses around the community or to the
tiny town of Bambu (in Bribri language), called Bratsi by the government.  🙂
No cowboy boots, just mud boots like I wished for every day!
We traveled to and from the village in
dugout canoes with outboard motors which
is their bus and supply system, though there
is a walking trail from Bambu which is about
an 11 or 12 mile hike. Horses use it too!
Boat is the fast way at about 45-60 minutes.
The guy in front of boat used a long pole to
get the boat around rapids and sand bars.
Another guy works motor in back.

I’m still tired from the trip. My new maid comes on Tuesdays, so she helped with my laundry of muddy clothing today. If I ever go there again I will take knee high mud boots. That side of Costa Rica gets more rain year around with I guess muddy trails year around. The Bribri all wear rubber boots outside and go barefooted inside as we did. My hiking shoes were great except not high enough for stream wading and mud that comes up over the ankles. Yuk!

  1. The Bribri are an indigenous people of Costa Rica. They live in the Talamanca (canton) in Limón Province of Costa Rica. They speak the Bribri language and Spanish. There are varying estimates of the population of the tribe. (Wikipedia)
A great article about all 8 Indigenous People Groups in Costa Rica who, like most indigenous peoples everywhere are in danger of disappearing or losing their culture. The Bribri have done a better job than most here maintaining their language and culture. 
The main cash crop for the village we visited is cacao pods used to make chocolate. I will do a post on cacao later. They live off the land with no grocery stores, no refrigeration, no electricity, and we ate several vegetables and fruits I had never eaten before. They farm and have chickens for added protein along with fish of course. No beef or pork. They use powdered milk. This village was hurt when the price of cacao fell a few years ago. The women suggested tourism for cash flow and the men said it would never work and be a big intrusion. The men were later surprised at how well the women’s project has worked and a few men now help with it along with some teenagers. Read about what they do with tourists at this website of one tour operator featuring the name of the women’s project: Casa de Mujeres Yorkin 

The Yorkin River is the boundary line between Costa Rica and Panama and is in thick forest.

Well, I’m still sorting photos, so more later on this adventure including some birds!  

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