By: Gabe Thornton
This past weekend we visited Cahuita in the province of Limon. The difference is like night and day. Where we reside with our host families in San Jose it is cool at night and full of bustling city dwellers. The houses are all barred up and tightly packed together and there is hardly any natural grass or foliage along the streets. In Cahuita however it seems to stay hot and unbearably humid most of the time.
The people in San Jose all speak Spanish and occasionally some basic English and are mostly tan or white in skin color. There is a certain conservative dress code that is established in and around the city meaning men will wear pants in most public areas and women cover below their knees with either pants or skirts. In cahuita however it is clear that the weather dominates the dress codes. Men walk around shirtless and in shorts and women can wear whatever they feel most comfortable wearing. The people of Cahuita are mostly of Afro Caribbean descent however all skin colors are present. The language is predominantly Spanish but it is much more common to hear English there than elsewhere in Costa Rica due to tourism and Afro Caribbean heritage.
This was our first real trip to another form of society within Costa Rica. Similar to the USA, Costa Rica is far from a single culture. Like all nations there is a mixture of various dialects, languages, and heritages all living under one nationality. Our society and culture lessons have been focused on analyzing this trait of nations and determining how this came to be. To actually go to Cahuita and experience first hand such a change in culture within just a few kilometers confirms the legitimacy of our studies and assures me how much more there is to learn about various societies on earth.