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Photos: A visit to a Costa Rican Cabécar indigenous community

July 20, 2014

SAN JOSÉ CABÉCAR, Limón – Visiting the San José Cabécar indigenous community, located in the mountains of Talamanca, Limón, is not something many people have the chance to do. This community is one of the few in Costa Rica that has maintained a significant part of its identity; they still use natural medicine, hunting and fishing techniques, traditional cultural activities and language.

Getting there is not easy. I started my trip in the tourist town of Puerto Viejo, in the southern Caribbean, took a bus to the town of Bribrí, another bus to Suretka, and from there a boat to the town of Amubri. Here I found a local radio station called La Voz de Talamanca, which offered me a place to stay overnight since it was already getting dark. They also helped me find a guide who could take me to San José Cabécar, my final destination.

I left Amubri early the next morning, took a boat to a small town called Sepecue, and then another bus to an even smaller town called Sibodi. There I met my guide, Rodrid García, a 19-year-old Bribrí who knew the area perfectly from trips he took with his father when he was a child. We walked for eight hours up the mountain, climbed walls and crossed rivers before making it to the Cabécar community, an area almost untouched, and where money is worthless. Local residents grow and hunt what they eat, and the sun is their clock.

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