Known for its environmental leadership, Costa Rica is a popular eco-destination. The nation’s determination to preserve natural resources greatly influences their lifestyle – including design and decor – and it’s not unusual to come accross some intriguing sustainable innovations such as treehouses or biogas-powered lodges.
Discerning visitors are attracted to the rich cultural heritage of this lavishly green country hailed the "Switzerland of Central America". So if you travel through the capital city of San Jose, do visit the National Museum of Costa Rica and explore the fascinating past of this former Spanish colony; then stop at the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, one of most important of its kind in Latin America.
The Galeria Namu deserves some special attention, since it focuses on fair trade for products made by local artisans. The art gallery also facilitates Eco-Ethno Tours, giving you a chance to meet with, and experience the culture of, indigenous communities.
The art gallery specializes in tribal art along three defining styles: traditional objects used for everyday-life purposes or ceremonies; contemporary artwork; and reproductions of Pre-Columbian artefacts. Handmade pottery produced by indigenous artists often reflect their ancestral ways of living harmoniously with nature. The original polychromefinish vase, shown above, showcases the elegance of the jaguar, an animal much revered in Mesoamerican culture.
Art history aficionados will enjoy the reproductions of museum treasures available at Galeria Namu. This shamanic ensign made in gold plating over bronze represents the transformation of the medicine man into a crocodile, reminiscent of the special mystical powers associated with religious leaders since ancient times.
In addition to celebrating Central American folk arts & crafts, Namu offers unique adventure trips to native villages, ideal for those who want to experience off-the-beaten-path Costa Rica while learning more about the country’s first nations. A sure way to get into Pura Vida mode – the national motto suggesting to enjoy life and stay optimist, whatever your circumstances.
Corinne’s travel tips : Visiting Costa Rica from December to April is more pleasant than during the sticky rainy season… if you can handle crowded hotels and beaches. For a more peaceful stay, fly in during the buffer months – why not attend the next edition of the international design festival or the fashion week in August? Visit the Costa Rican Tourism Board web site to plan an inspiring vacation in a country truly committed to green living.