Boruca Indian Reservation

From Buenos Aires, the Boruca Indian Reservation is best reached via Brujo and Terraba, or by the Paso Real along a dirt road. The center of the settlement is in a lush green valley 20 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, but only eight kilometers from the Panamericana. It serves various small settlements and scattered farms. Here, unlike many other Indian villages in Costa Rica, visitors are welcome.

This hospitality, however, is not without its motives; the Indians also want to sell souvenirs and handicrafts to the few visitors who make the trip to La Amistad. It is a way to earn a bit of extra income needed to supplement the meager living they make from their subsistence farms.

Both young and old women in Boruca sit in front of their buts, working at traditional looms that have changed little since pre-Columbian times. They weave tablecloths, fabric for dresses and belts. Some also produce decorated wallets made of leather.

The men carve balsa wood masks and engrave intricate landscapes (some quite artistic) on gourds (jicaras). In comparison to the way they lived before the arrival of Columbus, it doesn’t seem that the highly touted white civilization has had much to offer the Boruca Indians. They live their lives in a quiet and unspectacular way. Their work rewards them little and feeds them more poorly than well.

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