Walk Five Days Through the Jungle and Get to Know the “Harvard” of Indigenous Medicine in Costa Rica

    A unique and exciting option for all who visit the land of “Pura Vida”

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    Carrying out a cultural eco-tourism is possible thanks to the Koswak Usure agency, a group of indigenous Bribri who decided to show a little of their culture, the natural beauties of Talamanca, always with respect for traditions.

    With them you can stay at Koswak Lodge and spend nights in harmony with nature, always with the best comforts in Amubri, Talamanca. The most spiritual tour, and the greatest physical challenge is the walk to the town of Alto Urén, this is the last town that can be entered by land through the mountain.

    It lasts for four nights and five days and you have to cross rivers and walk through trails. Located on the slopes of Cerro Kamuk, four important rivers are born there, where the settlements of the first settlers of our territory were.

    Traditional Indigenous medicine

    “In Alto Urén are the places where the best indigenous healers were trained, it is the Harvard of the Bribris. You have to do a four-night, five-day tour with the desire to connect,” said Roger Blanco, an indigenous Bribri and a tour guide. There you can learn about plants such as Gavilana, also known as Bitter Drop, used by the natives to cleanse the blood.

    Also others such as “Big Man”, which helps to treat diseases of the digestive system and kidneys, or Sorosi, which is believed to have hypoglycemic abilities, that is, to lower the level of sugar in the blood. The expedition is recommended to people who do physical activity on a regular basis. They assure that rain is not a problem, neither is the sun.

    “Before doing this or any other hike, we first have to see the messages of nature, therefore, a shaman will always give an inductive talk, they sing songs so that we have a good trip and enter the forest. Shamans communicate directly with spiritual beings,” said Blanco.

    “It is very normal to see colored hummingbirds fluttering on people’s faces, you don’t have to scare them, you have to leave them and the baqueanos already know that this is a sign that Sibö (indigenous deity) is there,” he added. It ensures that its tourism is different from the traditional one.

    Outreach of native traditions

    “It is not the money, we are farmers, but tourism is a way to reach our traditions, the idea is that people can buy cocoa from the guardians, buy handicrafts from here; but it is not traditional tourism, we differentiate ourselves that we are tourism that is closer to the people, more authentic, it is not just arriving and processing the cocoa and that’s it,” said Blanco. In Koswak Lodge they offer food and lodging service in traditional ranches.

    Other Tours available in the area

    Organic Farm: They teach about what to eat, and the spiritual connection with Iriria (Mother Earth in Bribri), as well as respect for nature.

    Conical House: Tour to the spiritual temple, narrated by a kekepa (sage of culture), the people closest to Sibö. They have a ceremonial council with the teaching of tradition.

    Cacao Guardian: The position of the guardians is of utmost importance, they prepare the cocoa for the ceremonies. Cacao is the sacred drink of the bribris and they teach how chocolate is seen as the blood of the entire indigenous population. By drinking it, they purify your blood.

    Waterfalls: The Culture and Sacred Falls Tour is one day. They walk the roads where spirits from the other world once passed. It is known as an area of high energy since the waterfalls are understood as the blood of mother earth. It lasts four hours round trip.

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