Pineapple — Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica
Take an off-grid exploration deep into the heart of indigenous Bribri territory in Costa Rica - and discover an astonishing collection of superfruits and medicinal plants that thrive in the rich volcanic earth.
This unique eco-system is preserved as part of La Amistad Talamanca Biological Reserve, and is unlike elsewhere on the planet.
Achiote, the Lipstick Tree, Bixa orellana — Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica
Go Off-Grid Into The Jungle
On an off-grid exploration into the Bribri community of Yorkin, you'll take a canoe up the Telire River between Costa Rica and Panama, and embark into the rainforest that is the heart of the Talamanca.
Follow your guide on a path through the jungle and learn about the wide variety of trees and plants that make up Mother Nature's own medicine cabinet.
Damiana flowers — Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica
Ancient Tradition of Protecting the Earth
First, visit the Stibrawpa Lodge to meet a group of community leaders. These women will teach you why cacao is so important to Bribri culture, show you how to make chocolate from scratch, and finally sit with you to enjoy a traditional Bribri family meal.
Mimosa pudica, the Sensitive plant — Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica
Superfruits and Medicinal Plants of Costa Rica
Look out for these notable fruits and flowers on your eco-tour. The Bribri have used them for centuries for traditional remedies - and they're worth trying in your own life too.
- The soursop (guanabana) is a spiky green tropical fruit. You'll see the dramatic fruits dangling from upper branches of the graviola trees. It's regarded as an alternative cancer treatment, although studies have not proven its effectiveness.
- Cacao pods emerge directly from the tree's colorful trunk, like little green fingers. They ripen into red and yellow pods full of sweet white fruit surrounding dark purple seeds. Those seeds are the crucial ingredient in chocolate, a delicious and essential element of the Bribri culture.
- Mimosa pudica, known as the Sensitive plant, has a delicate purple spiked flower and leaves that shrink suddenly upon being touched. These leaves are placed in pillows and used to treat insomnia. The roots of the mimosa plant are purported to contain DMT.
- Damiana (Turnera diffusa) has bright yellow flowers that stand out against serrated green leaves which are consumed as an aphrodisiac and said to contain high levels of flavonoids.
- Starfruit, also known as Carambola — Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica
Take This Tour
Book this full-day eco-tour at Life & Culture Adventures, Etnotourismo Talamanca in Playa Chiquita by calling 506 27502129, or online at Life & Culture Adventurs. Rates are approximately $100 per person, with a two person minimum. This off-grid tour involves a significant amount of walking, and is suitable for anyone over the age of three.
Where to stay
Stay at the Tree House Lodge, a set of sustainable houses on 10 acres of lush forest in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and just steps from Punta Uva beach. Rates start at $200 per night.
How to get here
Fly into San Jose (SJO) International Airport. Drive, take a private taxi, or take the bus to Puerto Viejo de Limon. Playa Chiquita and Punta Uva are a few kilometers south along the same main road.