Many people visit Boruca village daily on their own, however others prefer to have a guide which can translate Spanish to English and take you into the houses of some of the artists. There is not a general workshop area that you can go to see the mask carvers working and people doing self guided tours sometimes are intimidated not knowing which houses they can enter.
It is very eye-opening to see what conditions the Borucans live and work in, pure simplicity, some houses still are thatched roof and a dirt floor and others more modern with metal roof and tiled floor. The artists all work in the comfort of their home, working when the time appeals to them, not a 9 - 5 job.
Marina, who's house mentioned on the "home" and "location" page, next to the Musuem with the Sphere, has a small co-op gift shop offering both masks and woven products, this is generally visited by people walking around and with prior notice she can do a farm fresh lunch and demonstrations of making yarn from cotton grown on site, yarn dyeing from natural sources such as leaves growing in her garden, seeds and bark and weaving on a back strap loom.
Prior notice can be done either by phone calls or email, see that information at the bottom of the page.
Lunch is $10 a person, children under 5 no charge.
Demonstration by Marina $20 per group.
Demonstration of mask carving $20 per group, or the purchase of a mask from that particular artist.
Payment in colones or dollars is accepted, no credit cards.
Having worked 25 years promoting the Borucan artwork in my Gallery and selling since 2015, 1700 masks and nearly 1200 woven items, I (Susie) am retiring and selling the Cabin rental property that houses the gallery gift shop. So with free time on my hands, I decided to offer my services as a tour guide and translator.
I would go with you in your car leaving Dominical about 8:30. It is about a 2 hour drive, in rainy season a bit longer. Arriving in Boruca, we will visit the museum, where there are displays of life in the past and a small gift shop. Then will go next door to Marina's house for a refreshment and she will then set up the demonstration of dyeing and weaving, I would translate what she is explaining. This takes about a hour, and lunch will be served after. After lunch we will take a short walk thru the village to a mask carvers house and watch him carving. Then onto another house that there is a co-op ran by the only woman carver, she has set up various work stations. Workers that prepare the wood for carving, carvers, a person sanding the mask after carving and a person painting. Please understand that these people do not work 9-5 shifts, so some of the workers may not be available. The more advance notice, the more people we can gather to show you their crafting. I would help with the price negotiating of your purchases. We would then leave the village about 2-2:30 and head back to Dominical, stopping on the road leaving the village for a panoramic shot of the territory of Boruca, on top of the world, not a house to be seen in a full 360 degree view. Basically it is a 8 hour day. For this service I charge $100. I am not available all year long, so best to let me know as far in advance as possible, as I may be out traveling the world!
Photos are permitted only with cell phone.
The Borucan’s, are very proud to have survived the struggles between the native tribes and Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s with their village and sense of identity intact. While many indigenous tribes consider themselves to have been defeated by the Spanish, Boruca demonstrates that a tribe cannot be defeated if its culture is still alive today. Boruca is very much alive and fighting to preserve their identity.
Don Ismael, one of the elders, was the only living person to have been declared a 'cultural patron of the country'. In the early 70's he revived mask carving, as it was a dying art. Don (an esteemed title similar to 'sir') Ismael devoted his life to keeping the cultural heritage of their ancestors alive and also developing a means to generate income for the community.
Boruca is built on faith in the wisdom of elders and the Borucan legends they tell, passed down for centuries. The identity of Boruca reflects a deep respect for the stories told, the nature that surrounds them, and the community they share. Thru their crafts, daily life in Boruca is focused on cultural preservation.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL:
SUSAN ATKINSON (ENGLISH)..011-506-8381 4369 (COSTA RICA)
OR.... MARINA LAZARO (SPANISH)..011-506-8704 8179 (BORUCA DE COSTA RICA)
BOTH NUMBERS ARE ON WHATSAPP +506