During the Costa Rican adventure tour you will be visiting the Guaitil village, positioned in among the small cities of Nicoya and Santa Cruz. Guaitil is renowned for its pottery that keeps a pre Columbian grace. This entire town is devoted to the manufacture of clay pottery and keeps the same ancient traditions used from generation to generation by the Chorotegan Indians. This is a population that emigrated from Mexico to Costa Rica 800 A.C. The villagers here have shaped for more than 5000 years some of the finest specimens of craftsmanship in the world. The Chorotegan Indian tribes once lived across Costa Rica’s entire northern Pacific region where Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula are currently located. Nicoya is the name of the Chorotegan chief who administrated the area when Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1523.
This experience is certainly a once in a lifetime and Costa Rica Monkey Tours is proud to have added this for all of our guests to understand better the roots of Costa Rica and the impact the conquistadores had among the natives when they settled in their land. You will literally have front row seats to view the step by step process of this wonderful art along with a history class of this intriguing culture.
The process for creating the art is not easy and some pieces might even take up to a week of work to achieve the final result. It’s with great pride and love for their culture that they continue making the pottery. The pottery is crafted by first drying the clay, after this they pulverize it in a large wooden mortar with a huge wooden crusher until it reaches a dust form. The clay dust is then mixed with iguana sand; this is a type of very fine freshwater sand called this way because iguanas typically lay their eggs in it. After water is added to the mixture, the clay is molded by hand until it becomes soft and pliable. The artist then shapes the object to be created on a manual hand-operated pottery wheel, using such tools as wooden sticks, leather pieces, rubber pieces or a knife to shape and form the piece.
The specific parts are formed only by using just a small tool and the hands of the expert pottery maker. The shapes vary from large bowls and urns to ornaments, platters, and also very exotic whistles are made. Once formed into the desired shape, the piece is given the finishing touches using either knifes or spoons and is then positioned under the sun to dry. Once dry, the object is given an outstanding polish.
After this tour to Guaitil you will gain knowledge of how pre-Columbian people used to live and work and how they continue to do so despite of the troubles they face with an uncertain future due to a scars economy. If you purchase their pottery, you take home unique memories and souvenirs and encourage an occupation endangered by current times. This is especially the case for the young people who do not desire to abandon their village, but rather stay there and continue with the traditions of their respected descendants.