The Spanish conquest was effective in eradicating most indigenous practices in Costa Rica, and now indigenous groups are struggling to rescue and preserve remnants of their pre-Colombian culture. Costa Rica was not the center of any massive civilization, nor is there an overwhelming presence of indigenous culture in contemporary society, and so it is easy for visitors to overlook the groups that persist today. Still, nearly three per cent of Costa Rica’s population associates as one of the eight recognized indigenous groups that can be found in one of the 24 different indigenous territories that currently exist in Costa Rica.
For the Borucas of the south Pacific, nestled in the coastal mountains about an hour off the Interamerican Highway, efforts in cultural preservation have endured for decades. Fortunately, the fruits of their labor are beginning to manifest. Borucan arts, language, and tradition have become dominant elements throughout their indigenous village. From the three-day New Year celebration to an off-season view of daily life, a trip to Boruca can satisfy the needs of those visitors looking for history, art and culture. Of course, to draw as much as possible out of a Borucan visit, it helps to know some things in advance.