The Ngäbe-Buglé (referred to as Ngäbe from here on) people are more commonly known as Guaymí, a name given to them by the Spanish conquistadors. They refer to themselves as Ngäbe, which means "people" in their language. It is pronounced gnawbe, with a nasal sound on the 'gna'. The Buglé share the same physical culture as the Ngäbe, but have a different dialect. For this reason they are politically grouped togther. The majority of the Ngäbe people live in Panama, with a census of 157,000 individuals in the year 2010 (Geohive). Costa Rica has about 4,000 Ngäbe people (Govan & Carrera), spread amongst five territories in the southern zone of Costa Rica near the Panamanian border. The Conte Burica terrtiory is 12,000 hectares large, and was reported to have 1,500 people with half under the age of nine in the year 2000. It is located in the district of Pavón, providing an amazing cultural and ecological asset to Pavones.
The common toursit to Pavones may see the Ngäbe in town to buy their market staples of coffe, rice, and sugar, or perhaps selling their crafts under the mango tree, or waiting for the bus to run arrands in the "city". By visiting a Ngäbe home with Pavones Ecotours, one will experience the intimate home life of the Ngäbe. Katie is a trusted friend to many families, allowing for a unique visit and an authentic glimpse of a people that are seemingly shy to the unknowing tourist. You will learn about their daily lives, deeply connected to their rainforest home.
We guarentee an authentic, eye-opening, experience, no sugar coating here. That means that you, our potential guest, should be fully aware that Ngäbe homes are lacking in modern conveniences. While you do get a personal bed to sleep in, the shelter may not have full walls. Maybe a curtain or old dress hanging on a string for privacy. Homes do not have running water, but a trip to the stream to fetch water, bathe, or wash your clothes, may offer you the solitude you may need to ponder your new experiences. Toliets are almost unheard of, but the pit latrines do just fine. Meals are basic and traditional. We recomend packing in snacks, with enough to share if you want to eat them publicly.
There are many things to do while visiting the Ngäbe. To name a few: ethno-botany craft demonstrations, hikes in the forests, fishing at the beach, catching river shrimp for dinner, cooling off in the river, collecting coconuts, visiting the school, or just being with the people drinking sugared coffee and chatting.
It is our greatest pleasure to share this experience with you! The Ngäbe people are eager to expand tourism in Conte Burica, and I can only hope to contribute to a positive experience for everybody involved!