Afro Costa Ricans and their Jamacian Heritage

Photo Credit: Nina

Costa Rica. Not an island but one of the seven countries in Central America where their country tourism tagline is “Life’s Essential found Here.” This small country sandwiched between the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean is where they boast of lovely tropical beaches, grand adventures, and scintillating culture. And to add more reasons why one should visit, their capital city San Jose, is where you see colorful energetic mixing of descendants from Indigenous Africans, Jamaicans and Spanish people where they make up a vibrant Creole culture in one of Latin Americas most progressive and creative cities.

Home to 90,000 Afro Costa Ricans who live along the Caribbean coast make up the community of Limon. Limon is the center for Afro Costa Rican culture and is also known for its Creole and Black community that has added richness to this part of Costa Rica. It is so unique; it’s like visiting another country inside a country. You can hear both Spanish and Creole English or Patios, spoken everywhere.

Most of Limon’s population is descendants of Jamaican immigrants who in the early 1900’s built “The Railroad” from Limon to San Jose. The biggest infrastructure in the Costa Rica.  A 100 years ago Costa Rica was a jungle and underdeveloped. The railroad played an enormous role in the development of the country for the movement of goods and products. It is believed that “The Railroad” is what led Costa Rica to be one of the most prosperous and peaceful countries in the region.

Photo Credit: Karla Scott

Today, Black Americans, specifically Black women have decided to pack their bags and plant root in Costa Rica in search of a peace, happiness, and a balanced lifestyle. Black American woman such as Davia Shannon owner of Life A Holic Costa Rica, moved in 2016 with her twin daughters. Sequioa Carr, a freelance writer and editor and travel writer, Janaa Zinzi are further examples of Black women who have chosen Costa Rica as their new home.

Photo Credit: Kim Haas

If you find yourself traveling to Costa Rica soon, and you desire to learn more about the Afro Latino culture, spend time with locals and artisans, stop by one the most beloved local restaurants,  Selvin’s for some Jamaican inspired stew Rondon, made from fresh root vegetables locally grown and seafood in a coconut broth with a side of tostones (fried green plantains.) Some other local delicacies you might like are red beans, coconut rice and jerk chicken.

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