A Break in Blogging

Yep! I just went 6 days without blogging which is not my usual habit which is to write posts 3 or 4 days ahead then break from the routine while posts keep coming out. No health problems or catastrophes, “just tired of blogging.” But with another trip coming tomorrow, I’m in the mood and here’s a few nature photos made during this “down time.”

Two Bee or Not Two Bee

I’m still not getting many butterflies in my garden yet other than the fast-moving Yellows that never seem to land for a photo. But here’s two bees in my garden this morning:

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Indigenous People in Garden Art

Some manufacturer here is depicting Central American Indigenous People in concrete garden art that is not necessarily accurate of what the early people looked like or blessed by the few indigenous people still left here in Costa Rica. And I’m pretty sure not made by the indigenous people. Yet I like the historical or almost archaeological “look” of this garden art found in several hotel gardens like these 4 photographed at Cristal Ballena Hotel in Uvita which are similar to what I saw at Bosque del Cabo on the Osa Peninsula in July and even the one piece I’ve added to my garden. They remind me of what you see more of in Guatemala and Mexico where the indigenous had bigger cities and left more archaeological ruins & art than the simpler, early agricultural peoples of Costa Rica who are still very important to the history of this country. I will be visiting one of the indigenous people city ruins in April as noted in yesterday’s post, Guayabo. And in my earlier writings you can find several articles on visits to different Bribri villages on the Caribbean Slope or see links at bottom of post.

Uvita is in the South Pacific area which is where the Boruca People lived and still have at least one traditional village. Their Boruca Artisans are famous for the brightly colored animal masks available in all the souvenir shops. They are too bright and unrealistic or “touristy” for me, but I like the “antique” or archaeological look of these concrete depictions of indigenous people, especially when older and weathered or covered in moss. Here’s 4 such “statues” in the gardens of Cristal Ballena Hotel in Uvita . . .

Indigenous People Garden Art
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Indigenous Meditation?

Ever since the gardeners broke my fragile pottery bird in my garden I have intended to replace it with a more substantial or concrete art and finally did that this week. This particular meditating indigenous man statue is one I’ve seen in some of the lodges I visit and liked, but not available in Atenas or even in the viveros (plant nurseries) of La Garita. My gardener sent me to an outdoor arts business on the outskirts of Naranjo de Alajuela and there I found depictions of the indigenous people of Costa Rica.

I haven’t found out yet if he is intended to be “the thinker” or someone in “some kind of meditation,” but the art style (copied of course) is similar to the Pre-Columbian Diquís Culture statues as a part of the Meso-American Pacific Culture. I like it and think it adds a touch of calm and history or maybe even spirituality to my garden. It is made of concrete, thus not as likely to be broken! 🙂

Pre-Columbian Meso-American Style Statue, Costa Rica
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Indigenous woman?

Maybe – or maybe not – just art that my second dentist (Ureña) likes or maybe a relative made. He has these in his lobby and 3 appear to be the same indigenous woman from behind but in different clothing and accessories. Whatever the story behind them, my first impression was good and I snapped photos with my phone. The other appears to be an early migrant from the Caribbean Islands to the Caribbean (Atlantic) Coast of Costa Rica, where most of the Afro-Costa Ricans live and have roots in Jamaica or other Caribbean Islands, originally brought here by Spaniards to work their banana and other farms. We have the largest Jamaican population outside of Jamaica.   🙂    Anyway, I think it is good art and I enjoy art!


The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” 

~Francis Bacon

¡Pura Vida!


And a local sense of humor at Tico Times Digital Newspaper:

Since all the people are staying at home, the native animals are reclaiming our Costa Rica parks, even Jurassic Park!   🙂    Or is that the lake in downtown San Jose’s Sabana Park?

Native animals return to Costa Rica as coronavirus forces humans indoors
The Tico Times – Mar 21, 2020


Pre-Columbian Art Retrieved

See the amazing artifacts retrieved from illegal collector in Venezuela
in this Tico Times article (one of their photos)
San Jose, Costa Rica

I imagine all the items will be on display here in time
The National Museum of Costa Rica  (my photo)
San Jose, Costa Rica

More and more around the world it seems that archaeological treasures are being returned to their nations of origin which is a big correction of colonial and money/power robberies of past history and arrogant countries. These artifacts of Costa Rican history belong here for the Tico children to learn from and not in a rich man’s private collection in Venezuela or any other country. Thanks to the UN and international laws for helping this important correction to be made. Occasionally there is justice!

See more interesting photos in my gallery Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA

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!  

Church Bingo, Stuffed Grapefruit, and Indian Village!

David invited estudiantes del español to the church bingo Sunday afternoon.
Not many of us showed up to practice our números in a fun way. Our table.
We were given corn kernels with our cards to lay on the numbers.
A card cost 1 mil colones ($2) as fundraiser for the church.
None on our table won a prize, though Corinna had a winning card.
Plus food was for sale! We shared tortillas with cream cheese.
Ticos use cream cheese instead of butter for lots of things.
Bingo & Lunch for sale was right after 11 AM Mass.
That is not when this older photo was made.
That Mass is a packed house!
Stuffed Grapefruit!
copied from web
I forgot to report the other day my experience eating a stuffed grapefruit, a Costa Rican specialty! The whole grapefruit is cooked and somehow candied and mine was stuffed with cream cheese, a dearly beloved by-product of milk or the cream here, which is why it is hard to find local butter. They use most of the cream for cream cheese! I told you that Ticos have more of a sweet tooth than me!  🙂

Here is one online recipe that doesn’t use cream cheese but a condensed milk and sugar filling. That is all I could find online. I guess it is just too local!”The place where I bought it used the name “Ronja Rellenos” for them, which I can’t find on the web. Another new experience!

copied from Google images

SERENDIPITY TRIP TOMORROW! Caribbean Coast and 3 nights in BriBri Indian Village.

The birding club had this trip planned for awhile with limited space in the humble lodging. I was on the waiting list. Well, last night there was a last minute cancellation and I decided to take it without any of my usual long range planning! Am I getting impulsive?

I have a 4W Drive vehicle reserved for in the morning. I’ll drive to the coast and to a hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca called Cariblue, very nice and on the beach! Meeting some club members for dinner there.

copied from Casa de Las Mujeres site

Then friday morning we caravan drive through the jungle through Bribri to Bambu on dirt and gravel roads, fording streams. At Bambu we pay someone to watch our cars and we take our “pack light” bags on a small boat for an hour floating trip to the village on Yorkin River in the Bribri Yorkin Reservation where we will stay 3 nights with no electricity at night (limited in day).

The Bribri are our hosts and will serve all meals, take us birding in the mornings and evenings with free time in the village and surrounding area with a waterfall and a hot springs. It will of course be a cultural experience with some of the few indigenous peoples left in Costa Rica. It is intentionally not promoted as a tourist destination. There’s only a half page in the Lonely Planet Costa Rica travel guide book about Yorkin. It is where people live and work and not equipped to handle tourists. Birders are different of course!  🙂

copied from Google images

The only websites on the village are by the various tour companies who take small groups there. I’m linking to Casa de Las Mujeres Yorkin because they have this good map. We are not using any tour company. Our birding guide has worked directly with the village elders and they are providing our boat transportation, meals, housing and guides into the forest in search of birds. So we are totally supporting the indigenous community.

A dream trip for me! How often do you have indigenous people taking you into an ancient forest looking for birds?

copied from Google images
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” 
― Augustine of Hippo