Get ready for a special adventure and go and stay with the Bribri Indians! You visit a protected area and the territory of the indigenous tribe of Bribri Indians. They warmly welcome you as their guest and will explain you in more detail how they live their lives in a small village near the border between Costa Rica and Panama.
Your destination is the small community of Yorkin, that is named after the nearby Yorkin river. This river is very important because it not only functions as a natural border between Costa Rica and Panama, but it is also the main channel of transportation of people, goods and food to and from the community.
You travel by canoe to the Yorkin community, accompanied by an English speaking guide. En route, he will tell you more about the river and the nature reserve. After some 45 minutes, you arrive at the village and you visit the nearby cocoa plantations. Back in the village, the Bri Bri inhabitants welcome you with a local snack and then it is time to settle down in your room. Once it is lunch time, you’ll enjoy an authentic, local lunch.
In the afternoon, you explore the village. Some 50 families live in Yorkin and the village, although small, has schools, shops, churches and a not to forget a football field. There’s also a public phone, an important communication medium with the world beyond the jungle.
In addition to the life in the village, you also hike to a nearby waterfall and the Bri Bri families will explain in more detail how their society works and will show you local arts & crafts, agricultural techniques and building technology. They also share their cooking skills with you and you’ll learn in a traditional way how chocolate is made.
In the evening a local dinner will be prepared and afterwards, you will stay in traditionally built huts with thatched roofs and walls and floors of chonta (palm heart) and pejibaye (kind of palm tree). You’ll leave the community the next day after lunch and your guide will drop you off at the pick-up location in the town of Bratsi again.
It was a special experience for us to stay in this community. The children enjoyed themselves and learned a lot from life without electricity and hot water. They liked the local dishes and joined the locals hunting and playing on the river banks.
On the way to the Bribri! When we arrived we met with our guide Orlando, the only one in the community who speaks a little bit of English. We travelled by canoe to the remote village, a trip of about an hour. The river we crossed was literally the border between Panama and Costa Rica. Once we arrived we got a small tour of the village. It is all pretty primitive. There is no electricity here and the families live their lives in a traditional way. They are largely self-sufficient in terms of food and materials, etc. Contact with the outside world is therefore minimal. It was a nice experience, but we would rather have made a day tour. Why? Read more in our travel blog.
Our boat trip to the Bribri Indians was so beautiful, it seemed like an episode of Discovery Channel. Never seen anything so beautiful !!! The boat trip is already a highlight during your stay (tip: make sure your phone and passport are in a waterproof package!). The local families speak only Bribri and Spanish. In the evening you’ll taste the local liquor and listen to music. Life is simple here, but really nice.
Our Bri Bri experience was unforgettable!
We visited the Bri Bri Indians (a must to our opinon!) where a small community still follows a very traditional lifestyle and has few contacts with the outside world. We also learned more about the world of cacao and chocolate, tasting everything was great!
Make sure you bring dirt resistant shoes and do not forget your swimming gear. Do you want to do something for the community? School supplies and educational games are always very welcome.