Cultural Manifestations
in the Northern

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San Carlos Livestock Show

The current site of this livestock show is the community of Platanar de Florencia. The show takes place in April, and showcases the best livestock in the region as well as from the rest of the country. Awards are given to the best animals. Various activities complement the event, including topes (horse parades), concerts and auto shows.


Several towns maintaining very rural lifestyles offer cafes and restaurants, while others, such as Quesada City and Tilarán, feature municipal or city markets where traditional Costa Rican food may be sampled. Some lodging establishments also offer typical fare.

Maleku Indigenous Reservation

Centuries ago, the Malekus – a branch of the Chibchas – were divided into 23 villages. Approximately in the last 100 years the population has been depleted and today there are only the palenques of El Sol, Margarita and Tonjibe, all settled six kilometers from San Rafael de Guatuso. Today, there are about 600 Malekus distributed in the palenques. Its main needs are: land to continue with the cultivation of medicinal plants, the arrangement of the access roads to their community and the repair of their bridges.

In general terms the main characteristics of the Guatusos are: they preserve their language, have their own burial system, chants, ways of preparing food and raising children, way of carrying the load, use of the drum, the bow and the arrows, As well as the use of hammocks and bags made of vegetable fibre fabrics.
Within this ethnic group there is a tradition related to the hunting of turtles in the lagoons of Caño Negro.

They have the "Java" God that is that of the turtles, this one will give them the food and will protect them, he guides the boat on the right path during the voyage, but they hunt nothing is because Javaa had arranged it thus. This activity is carried out between the months of March and April; In it are going to participate young people and elders of both sexes. This activity lasts about fifteen days, they carry nets and food like coffee, sugar, rice, among others. They leave in the morning and on the way they go fishing and hunting turtles, iguanas, tepezcuintles, red monkeys, tigers, mainly. At nightfall they make palm-leaf ranches for sleeping.

Back some indigenous families wait for them with chicha and music, which makes this trip a real party. In these activities the meat brought with the neighbors is shared.

In addition, there are other artistic manifestations such as napuratengeo dances and Nakikonarájari. In them participate both men and women and are danced in the same way, the accompaniment is made with flutes, drums, maracas and chants, there being a singer, principal who carries the tune and the rest of the participants are responding in chorus. To perform these dances all are taken from the hands forming a long line, give three or four steps forward, lift a foot and hands up, then back to its original place. So on, the same movements continue to be given. The flutes used for these dances are different from those used in funeral activities.

In another ceremony, Malekus Indians cry out to their god for nature and the future, including dances, prayers, and deep devotion.
They perform it once every three months or in special dates almost always coincides with the full moon and takes place in the afternoon, but only men participate, not a single woman.

In it, the members invoke the Great Spirit, and ask for their specific needs. Ten of them led the rite and the rest of the present remained standing all the time, but at certain moments, all the knees bent with profound solemnity.

Why, Great Spirit, have you allowed us to make so many mistakes against our Mother Nature?
Oh, Great Spirit, you can no longer hear the Jaguar's Roar or the Hawk's whistle.

The dew of dawn does not fall on our face, nor do we feel the smell of the flowers of the field. No longer are our brothers the animals, nor our sisters the birds. Why did they go?

Medicinal plants are gone, too. Why? Why are the waters no longer running through the river beds?
Oh, Great Spirit, that you have held us in these lands for so many centuries. That is why we sing and dance in your honor, we bow our faces to the Earth and raise our voices to hear our pleas.

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