• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Bullring Brings Tradition to Beach

May 28, 2004

TAMARINDO BEACH, Guanacaste– With an international reputation for ecologicaltourism, many flock to Costa Ricato partake in its natural wonders. Yet, thelesser known cultural treasures – such asthe folk traditions of the Santa Cruz,Guanacaste area – are sometimes forgottenby traveler looking for sun, golf or surf.Determined for Guanacaste visitors tolearn the beauty of the area’s customs,Hotel & Villas Cala Luna spearheaded theCultural Rescue and Tourist Developmentof the Folkloric Village of Santa Cruz as apartnership effort with the Municipality ofSanta Cruz.As a result, Cala Luna constructed abullring on its Tamarindo beach property –organizing a series of thematic festivalsdemonstrating Costa Rican bullfights,rodeos, Santa Cruz customary dances,regional crafts and food.This project is important because it willentice tourists to partake in opportunitiesSanta Cruz has to offer and it will raisemoney to continue to preserve its traditions,said Daniel Chavarría, head of salesand marketing for Cala Luna.“RIGHT now, Santa Cruz is not anattractive product, so it is understandablethat tourists shy away from there,” he said.“Most of the visitors who stay at the beacheswould be interested in going for a culturaltour or visit during their stay if theyknew what was offered. The experienceCala Luna offers is only a small sample ofa few of the traditions, but it is organizedwith the real actors, so it is enriching forthe tourists.”Ultimately, this exposure will motivatetravelers to take Santa Cruz tours, therebygenerating more employment and incomefor the local community. At the very least,the money donated from the events willcontribute to furthering the arts in SantaCruz, Chavarría added.The idea is catching on. Cala Lunastarted its program eight months ago andnow other area facilities are collaboratingon their own cultural events. Traditionalfiestas and bullriding can be seen atReserva Conchal, Hacienda Pinilla, ElDiriá and Amberes, with others inLangosta, Flamingo and San José about tostart up their own activities.WHAT exactly would one find at CalaLuna at today’s traditional fiesta at 5 p.m.?The night begins with a rodeo, bullfightingand roping. Local cowboys will ride the bullsas long as they can, while others wave aleather vaqueta at the animal to get it to buck.Between demonstrations of craftsmenand women decorating pottery and jícaras,the children of Santa Rosa ElementarySchool will present folk dancing whilewearing traditional Santa Cruz costuming.“The typical food is based on the gastronomyof the area using pork, beef, corn,rice and different vegetable picadillos,”said Chavarría of the buffet that precedesthe evening’s dance party.THE specialties also include tamalesand enyucados (prepared from corn stuffedwith meat and vegetables and cheese).The cost of the party, everything included,is $48 per person ($1 per guest is donateddirectly to the Cultural Rescue and TouristicDevelopment of the Folkloric Village ofSanta Cruz). For more info, see the Web siteat www.santacruzcultural.com.

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