The Bri Bri Village Tour will transport you to a place where time has barely altered ancient traditions. This captivating experience includes visiting two indigenous families living in separate villages within two different reserves. Each family will delight in showing you their way of life and sharing their customs with you. The first family will surprise you with their passion for iguanas. The second will take you on a tour of a self sustaining farm where you will have the added benefit of learning all about chocolate cultivation.
You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Cahuita or Pueto Viejo and driven to the Bri Bri reservation approximately a half hour from Puerto Viejo. With your specialized bilingual guide you will visit your first family and their unique iguana farm. When they began to notice the disappearance of the iguana population due to over hunting, they decided to create a habitat for farm raising the endangered iguanas. Over time they have successfully reintroduced thousands of iguanas back into their natural tropical rainforest habitat. You will see how the farm operates from eggs to maturity working to maintain the iguanas’ rightful place in the forest.
Located just north of the Panama border in Limon Province, the Bri Bri reservation is home to one of Costa Rica’s approximate eight indigenous tribes. Many are believed to be descendants of the Mayan civilization. Most speak Spanish yet some continue to speak the original Bri Bri language as well. The villages typically have running water, but electricity is scarce. Living in relative isolation has enabled the Bri Bri to maintain their culture, largely unaffected by the outside world. Not only do they grow their own food and housing materials, but prepare their own medicines from the land. What they cannot grow, they attain by bartering or selling goods to the tourists.
After leaving the first farm you will continue on to a second family living in a different Bri Bri reservation. Here you will see for yourself how the Bri Bri grow cacao, bananas, oranges and plantains which they sell to provide for their families. Other produce grown in this area includes rice, beans, corn and other native crops that they grow to eat. These highly successful self sufficient people believe in the old ways of listening to and respecting the balance of nature.
One of their most sacred beliefs is that chocolate, from the cacao plant, is a divine gift which they use for natural medicine and purification rituals as well as for a source of food. On this part of the tour you’ll be shown their natural farming techniques and taken on a very special journey showing the process of growing and cultivating cacao and turning it into chocolate. You’ll learn their various uses and be invited to sample the tasty results!
You’ll also be taken to a magnificent waterfall where you will have the option to go swimming in a beautiful grotto deep in the rainforest jungle. Be sure to pack your bathing suit. Fresh fruit and water will be provided as refreshments. You’ll want to be sure to bring your camera along to record so many interesting people and places.
This tour is a chance of a lifetime to see a lifestyle that you’ll likely not soon forget. Visiting the Bri Bri Villages makes for an exciting and memorable experience as you delve into a world that has changed very little over the centuries.
Before you return, a freshly grown typical lunch will be served to you consisting of: a meat choice, vegetable, beans and rice, salad, fried banana, coffee and dessert. Bottled water will be offered during the tour to help you stay hydrated, and a bilingual tour guide will assist you to ask any questions you may have. It is suggested you wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes plus bring: sun block, insect repellent, binoculars, camera, hat and rain gear.