Sierpe in Osa: Very Special for Sighting Wildlife!Birds and moreCosta Ballena Lifeguards Savegre Biosphere ReserveHow Do We Get To Boruca? South Pacific Costa Rica, indigenous culture 7Costa Rica is the focusFrida is an owl moinkeyliving happily at the wildlife sanctuaryHumpbacks WhalesVista Ballena Hotel Uvita, poolHow Do We Get To Boruca? South Pacific Costa Rica, indigenous culture 8Post navigation Manu Prefab, New Building MethodsHow Do We Get To Boruca? South Pacific Costa Rica, indigenous culture 9The Whale Resort at Osa PeninsulaTotal traceability of your shipmentHumpbacks Whales

How Do We Get To Boruca?

How Do We Get To Boruca? South Pacific Costa Rica, indigenous culture

Entrance to Boruca town by Dagmar Reinhard

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Throughout the year, but especially in December, there are many events and festivals in the village of Boruca. The directions below will take you straight to this beautiful village where you can experience a world of art, culture, and history.

From San José, take the highway known as Autopista del Sol Route 27, exit Tárcoles - Jaco. Follow Highway 34 to Dominical and from there continue driving down the Coastal Highway to Palmar Sur, about one hour and 15 minutes.

When you reach the junction with Palmar, turn left, taking the Pan-American Highway toward Buenos Aires. After approximately 25km, you will see a sign on you left hand side indicating the town of Boruca.

It is a slightly steep road and requires a 4x4 vehicle. The uphill road is approximately 8km, and it offers a spectacular unobstructed view of the two valleys on either side; you will also admire the Térraba River and the Cordillera on the horizon. Nearest airport: Palmar Sur.

Read more information on Indigenous Culture:

Indigenous Culture in Costa Rica

South Pacific Costa Rica Free Magazine, Ballena Tales #85


Ballena Tales #85,  South Pacific of Costa Rica Free Magazine 

Dear reader,

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Costa Ballena is a land with lush nature, the infinite ocean on one side of the coastal highway (Costanera Sur), and the colorful ara-macaws crossing the skies. The temperature is refreshingly cool now during what we call our winter from May to November. There was no "Veranillo de San Juan" for the second year in a row, which should happen around June 24th, San Juan's day. It used to interrupt the periods of rain for ten days, the sun was shining like on the best days of summer and the temperatures were rising. Now, don't think residents stay at home in "winter." We prefer the sunny mornings to be out and around and, if possible, work from home in the afternoons.
Costa Ballena, the latest treasure discovered in Costa Rica, gives shelter to people from all over the world. Each has a story, falls in love with the area, and wants to give back in puravida vibrations. That's how initiatives are created.

Ballena Tales #82, Free Magazine, Costa Rica

Grettel Castro, on the cover page, found her project Sun Braids, when years ago coming to Uvita, inspired by the resplendent light of the South Pacific. "While I braid their hair, my clients can connect with the glow we all carry inside; it is an empowerment ritual."
In June, Tinamaste celebrated its 6th edition of the Seeds Event. Plant and seed exchange, fresh organic food, great music, and many visitors. More than a social event, it was calling attention to the danger of the seed privatization in Costa Rica. Guest-speaker Henry Picado from the capital spoke. Guadalupe Urbina, Paloma Coronado, Chino Mora, and DJ Cor-a-son lit up the hearts with their evocative music.

Ballena Tales #85, Free Magazine Costa Rica, Le French Cafe,

Le French Café in Uvita initiated in June a series of Four Hand menus, and we had the visit of a nearly real circus. The excellent community ensemble presented the Greatest Showman on Earth in Uvita Bahía.
Multicultural Festival

In July, the Multicultural Festival's appealing program attracted many visitors from nearby and far.

A must when you come to the South Pacific is a visit to the Museum of Finca 6 close to Palmar Sur.
You can book tours to get to know the area's attractions at Enjoy Osa. You can even go on a whale monitoring tour with a hydrophone to listen to the whales songs.

Dagmar Reinhard, Editor Ballena Tales Magazine and Travel Guide
Dagmar Reinhard, Editor
Ballena Tales Magazine and Travel Guide

Ballena Tales is an essential free guide and digital comprehensive magazine for travelers, residents, and investors covering Costa Ballena in the Canton of Osa in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. It is a fully bilingual, bi-monthly, and full-color digital magazine. 

The magazine introduces the reader to the life of the local community, with interviews of pioneers, writers, and artists, as well as extensive information on restaurants, hotels, experiences, natural attractions, and wildlife of the South Pacific of Costa Rica.

Dare to Discover and Enjoy…

Check out…

Need help planning your next trip? Let us help you with your Costa Rica vacations!

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +(506) 8946 7134 or +(506) 8914 1568
Skype: ballenatalestravel

The Culture of Boruca

by Susie Atkinson – photos: Isabelle Aubin

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Hidden within Costa Rica are different cultures and ethnic groups. There are eight indigenous groups in the country, and Costa Ballena’s closest community is the Borucans.


Boruca’s history has been extremely challenging as they live on a reserve high in the Talamanca Mountains.

Farming alone was not enough to sustain their tribe and people were experiencing extreme poverty. They were losing their pride quickly in their decaying culture.

With the completion of the Inter-American highway in the late 60’s, tourism began to trickle in with renewed interest in the annual ‘Fiesta de los Diablitos.’ This is when the local economy began to shift from agriculture to tourism. Daily life in Boruca now has changed to a focus on cultural preservation. Today eighty percent of the Borucans are artisans, either carvers or weavers.

The history and traditions of Borucan masks began hundreds of years ago. ‘Diablito’ masks, were originally created and worn with the intent to scare unwelcome invaders. When the Spaniards arrived with advanced weapons, the Borucans only had animal spirits to guide them. The conquistadores, seeing uncircumcised men with devilish looking masks, assumed that they worshipped the devil. The Borucan people were triumphant in keeping the Spanish from conquering their land and their spirit.

boruca 2

Every year since the Spanish Crusade, the annual ‘Danza de los Diablitos’, (December 30 to January 2,) has traditionally occurred in remembrance of the Borucans’ fierce resistance to colonization.

So, if you want to add that cultural experience to your Costa Rican trip, why not take a day trip to their village?

With advance notice, you can see demonstrations of weaving, dyeing, and carving. Also you can have lunch and a guided tour of the village (limited English spoken). Or view authentic carvings and weavings locally at the Borucan Gallery Gift Shop.

Christophe Gstalder: Boruca – A Vanishing Race and Culture

Christophe Gstalder: Boruca – A Vanishing Race and Culture 1Birds and moreHumpbacks WhalesHumpbacks WhalesVista Ballena Hotel Uvita, poolTotal traceability of your shipmentSierpe in Osa: Very Special for Sighting Wildlife!Christophe Gstalder: Boruca – A Vanishing Race and Culture 2 Savegre Biosphere ReservePost navigation Manu Prefab, New Building MethodsFrida is an owl moinkeyliving happily at the wildlife sanctuaryCosta Rica is the focusThe Whale Resort at Osa PeninsulaChristophe Gstalder: Boruca – A Vanishing Race and Culture 3Costa Ballena Lifeguards

Christophe Gstalder photographer, Boruca – A Vanishing Race and Culture

Christophe Gstalder, Boruca – A Vanishing Race and Culture

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“The most beautiful landscape of the Boruca community is the humbleness of its people”

I have never worked in my life!  (Christophe´s passion for photography, does not allow him to call it work).  He is originally from Marseille, France; he grew up traveling across the world with his father.

[singlepic id=140 w=320 h=240 float=right]

20 years ago, he began working on his film “Los Diablitos – Por Encima De Las Nubes” (The Little Devils – Above the Clouds), a documentary about the Boruca Culture, their Traditions & People.  The Film´s original soundtrack is directed by Christophe and Guillain Joncheray (Deep Forest.)  Christophe´s sensibility, his respect for the ancient culture, and the beauty he sees in the Indigenous world through his camera, helped him to give birth to an incredibly beautiful 52-minutes documentary.  “I did not expect anything different; it’s a true 100 % self-made film, during a long journey, without deadlines, with no producer demands, free as a bird, in a length that brings maturity of feelings …” he told us.

“I miss Costa Rica and my dear friends, anchored in my thoughts and heart.  My mission in life is to complete this film.  (If SIBU wants it…  I think so!  SIBU wants it!)

Christophe Gstalder is a notorious free-lance photographer for Fashion Magazines such as Marie-Claire, Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and he recently visited Zanzibar (East Africa).

Christophe Gstalder photographer Facebook Page

LOS DIABLITOS Au dessus des nuages Bande Annonce

Milking of the Murex snail at Ventanas Beach

Humpbacks WhalesVista Ballena Hotel Uvita, poolFrida is an owl moinkeyliving happily at the wildlife sanctuaryThe Whale Resort at Osa Peninsula Savegre Biosphere ReserveTotal traceability of your shipmentCosta Ballena LifeguardsMilking of the Murex snail at Ventanas Beach 4Milking of the Murex snail at Ventanas Beach 5Birds and moreCosta Rica is the focusMilking of the Murex snail at Ventanas Beach 6Post navigation Manu Prefab, New Building MethodsSierpe in Osa: Very Special for Sighting Wildlife!Humpbacks Whales

Milking of the Murex snail

Boruca people, milking of the murex snail

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By Susie Atkinson  y Ellen Hoel

The art of milking of the Murex snail has its origins in the 4th century B.C.
Cleopatra used that procedure to dye in purple the sails of her boat with the intent of flattering Caesar. The gathering of those fluids is a practice that has passed from generation to generation. The Murex snail discharges a milky-white secretion that changes colors once it is exposed to air and light. This transformation starts with a shade of yellow, followed by a pastel green, and finally, under the direct exposure to the sun, it turns into a lovely shade of purple, also called imperial purple.

Boruca people, milking of the murex snail

The women of Boruca use this unique extract to dye the cotton yarn they will use in their weaving. During the waning moon, the Borucans make a special trip to the rockiest of Ventanas beach in Costa Ballena in the months of January and February, knowing that they will find the Murex snails hiding and mating along the rocks.

Ventanas beach, Boruca people, milking of the murex snail

It is a dangerous and treacherous work to find and “milk” the snails. Doña Marina and others, pull the snails off the slippery rocks at Ventanas beach, they proceed to blow on them very carefully to cause the snails to release the fluid, letting it drip over the yarn they are holding. This fluid cannot be stored; therefore, the yarn has to be dyed on site.

The Borucans are one of two indigenous groups left in the world using this process. They preserve the life of these snails by returning them back to the rocks after taking the fluid.
Doña Marina goes to the Farmers´ Market in Uvita almost every Saturday morning. Her weavings and carved masks are also available at Pacific Edge Cabins in Dominicalito.

Boruca Gallery Gift Shop

Boruca Gallery Gift Shop

happy shoppers

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~ by Susie Atkinson

Looking for a unique souvenir of your trip to Costa Rica – something that is a true representation of the local folklore and does not have that “Made in China” stamp on it?

Look no further; Boruca Gallery Gift Shop has handcrafted products that were made by the Borucans, our local indigenous.

Boruca Gallery Gift Shop, handcrafted products  - Uvita, Bahia Ballena, OsaThe Borucans are the only tribe of Costa Rica that was not conquered by the Spanish conquistadors in the late 1400s-early 1500s.

They defended themselves in a unique way: by carving and wearing very scary masks in the form of the face of a devil, which chased the Spaniards away; thus, becoming known as the "diablitos" (little devils).  

The Gallery has a wide collection of the best detailed carved masks/wall hangings, as well as hand-woven, naturally dyed 100% cotton products, such as placemats, table runners, tote bags, and yoga mat carriers.

Each year, our shop has grown.

In 2016, we increased our sales of the carved masks by 30% in just the first 11 months of 2016; 330 masks were sold. Our woven sales of 260 pieces
remained about the same as last year. 

Our store wants as many sales as possible to keep the money flow going into the Borucan village, since 80% of their income comes from their handcrafted products.

Therefore, our prices have a very little markup.

Our stock is changing constantly. At any given time, there are 25 - 40 unique masks ranging in price from $10 to $125, along with all the woven goods. 

Tourists love learning the history about the masks and weavings, knowing they are  getting an authentic souvenir from their visit to Costa Rica. 

Please stop by The Gallery or make a day trip to the village and learn about our indigenous folklore artwork! 

INFO: Susie Atkinson – [email protected]


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