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Five centuries of blending and history
a society with many faces and many people


The society living in Osa today and all the southern population of Costa Rica, is the result of over 500 years of history. These lands saw the gathering of peoples from various locations: original natives based there thousands of  years earlier,  probably descendants of the people constructing the spheres, former settlers  of Chiriquí - Panamá, settlers from the  Central Valley  migrating in search of lands to cultivate, and Chinese traders.


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The térrabas, bribris, cabécares, borucas, and ngöbes are the

indigenous peoples located to the South of Costa Rica.

The most related to Osa are the borucas and the ngöbes


Mapa Sitios de Grupos Indigenas




It is possible that upon arrival of the Spanish the name Boruca was used to refer to an ample extension of southern Costa Rica. The boruca people currently live in two territories: Boruca and  Curré. Boruca is located 12 Km. from the Interamerican highway, starting on the place called El Brujo. Curré is found 30 Km southeast of Buenos Aires, on the Interamerican highway.


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Formerly known as guaimí people, they prefer to be called “ngöbe people.” In Costa Rica there are five ngöbes territories, all located in the southern region:  Coto Brus, Conte Burica, Alto Laguna de Osa, Abrojos de Montezuma, and San Antonio. The rest of the ngöbe population lives in Panamanian territory. One of the ngöbes’ territories is located in the canton of Osa. It is the Indigenous Ngöbe Territory Alto Laguna. It limits with the Corcovado National Park and to get there is through the route La Palma, (Golfito). It has around 2713 hectares, and a large proportion of its area is primary forest or almost not disturbed. The “Guaymí of Coto Brus Territory” (as still reads in official documents) was the first formally established ngöbe territory in Costa Rican lands. Part of this territory is in the canton of Coto Brus and another part in Buenos Aires. 

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The inhabitants of the Panamanian province of Chiriquí

The Chiricanos constitute one of the most important ethnic groups in the cultural conformation of the Osa population, Buenos Aires, Golfito and southern Costa Rica. Their presence has not been adequately visible for diverse reasons; their culture has not been taken into account as deserved, but in the region everyone identifies the family names Pinzón, Beita, Quintero, Atencio, Caballero, Lezcano and Pití, of Chiricano origin.


The inhabitants from the Central Valley arrive to the South

The meseteños contributed guitar music, their sometimes melancholic songs, coffee and coffee plantations, when they could grow them, sugar mills, aguadulce (water and molasses), guaro de caña (alcoholic beverage) and carts. It is said that persons of this group were more oriented to the Central Valley, linked to technological changes, and prone to consumption of products and services deemed “modern” (Carmack, 1994).


Banana Company and transformations in the South

In the decade of the 30’s, the Banana Company started transferring from the Caribbean to the South Pacific of Costa Rica. This transnational company, with plantations in diverse countries, from Honduras to Colombia and Ecuador, abandons the Caribbean amidst countless claims. In the 20’s, the company started to acquire lands in the southern Region.


The inhabitants from Guanacaste

Thousands travelled from their savannah in the North to “the Zone,” fleeing misery and “deprivations.” Many had heard stories of boys returning with new clothes and shoes, telling adventure stories of a world where you could live better.

The inhabitants from Nicaragua

In 1950, 15 % of Osa, Golfito and Aguirre’s population came from Nicaragua (5,572 Nicaraguans). These were in turn, 77.45 % of the foreigners residing in the zone (Cerdas; 1993: 152). These data confirm the genetic and cultural heredity of Guanacastecos and Nicaraguans in the configuration of the canton of Osa and the southern banana plantations in general.


The Chinese and their descendants

The Chinese and their descendants constitute another important ethnic group in the region. Their presence dates back to the nineteenth century at El Pozo, today Ciudad Cortés, where mention is made of Wong and the Sing from those times.


Among the adjacent communities to the Arqueological sites are Palmar Sur, Palmar Norte, Ciudad Cortes, Comunidad de Finca6-11 and the community of Cañaberal INDER. 

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The process of social and cultural development and the consolidation of the canton of Osa and its surroundings is very rich and complex. Its progress responds to historical dynamics dating back to a pre-Columbian past and the flourishing of complex chiefdom settlements, to the creation of colonial settlements and the growth of present communities.

The southern region’s settlers, as from other areas of the country, reflect some of the characteristics of the historical process, interpreting and reinterpreting the cultural myths and traditions depicted as arts and crafts.   


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