National symbols
Origin of the name



In Cartago lived a young man called Joaguin. He was keen on revelries, and because of that he troubled his parents. At the beginning they were very tolerant for him, but it was out of use. Joaquin didn`t care about it.

Things were carried too far, when Joaguin came back home after week walkings in the pubs. Father has thrown him from the house, and his his words and preaches were so unpleasant, that Joaguin have changed into black lonely dog with dog-collar. People called it "cadejos". Since that time a dog was seen very often, when followed drunk men and those, who were late.

La Segua

That`s the legend-admonish for drunkmen, disloyal husbands. In colonial times, in Cartago lived an unbelievable pretty woman called Segua. She was falling in love in spanish officer, who has broken her heart. The legend has it that Segua because of that has changed herself in terrible looking monster, which started hunting for lonely travellers.

A monster had an apparition of beautiful woman with face white like porcelain, black, large eyes and long hair. They say it could appeared suddenly on the road and asked lonely men if they would take her to ill mother. When man let her mount a horse, she transferred into hideous monster with a horse skull, red eyes and dangerous teeth.

La Tulevieja

In remote days, Costa Rica`s womenwas in habit of wearing in heads straw hats, which were very characterictic and paid attention of their pointed shapes. That hats were called tule and in majority had evidences of banana`s or coffee`s stains. They were to protect their owners against sun, winds and insects (in particularly wasps, which often could tangled in hair).

In the vicinity of Desamparados lived a woman of hard to say age. She wore old, stained, dirty straw-hut, with which she probably even slept. Because of its gnarled form, it became a matter of sneers and provocations from children. When tah woman were getting to angry, she cought a bough and run after them to inflict a punishment on. But that acting made only much worse invectives for her.

Once upon a time, when women was picking wood, her straw-hat was blowed away by wind. It fell to the nearby river Tiribi and was carried by current. Woman jumped into the water and dissapeared inside. Since that time in the vicinity is heard an echo which repeat: "La Tulevieja", "La Tulevieja". Sometimes that legend is used for frighten choldren who want to bath in the river.

A witch from Asseri

In Asseri-small place situated 11 kilometres to the south of San Jose, there is a big-sized stone. It`s conwinced that inside lives a witch called "Witch from Asseri".

White Stone

When you will ask members of a few Indians` tribes about origin of the world, the most frequently they will tell you a story about white stone. According to them a big bird fed of heaven`s fruits by Gods, rose in air, and from its excrements was formed the world with continentsm seas, mountains and forests. Beside bird droped a piece of heaven`s fruit from which was formed firs people and animals.

Bird created among others one woman, who was caring for Indian men. But Indians were forbidden to see her face. They knew she was a woman only because of her long hair and soft voice. They live in happiness because they couldn`t work and hunt. Everything they needed they got from a woman.

One day, one of young Indian who fell in love with her, caught unawares her and suddenly looked at her face. In the same moment, a woman dissapeared, and in the place she stood, began forming large lake. Indians say that this lake exist till today in Cordillera Talamanca. On its centre is placed white stone on which often stands grey-brown bird. It`s believed, that direccion to which it`s turned means good or bad news. When bird is turning to the north it`s a sign of coming summer. When it`s turning to the south it means rains and bad weather.

When in Indian`s community borns a child, people check if he doesn`t have his fist tight. They say it occures that child can holds a piece of white stone, which Indians believe was put earlier in mother`s lap by God. That must be a sigh to choose that child in the future for priest.

Stones from The Pick of Death

On the Pick of Death (the highest point in the route of Panamerican Highway in Central America) in the Cordillera Talamanca, there is unbelievable big number of stones. They say that they are the evidences of volcanic eruptions. Not written rule is that it`s forbidden to shout or shoot in the vicinity of that peak. It`s believed that The God of peak could got angry instead and brought hurricanes, colds and even death.

Once upon a time a groupe of spanish soldiers left Cartago for the southern seccions of country. The guide was an old Indianman, who told to the spanish chief of expedition about the legend of soul in the pick, which no one can irritate. Arrogant spanish captain answered, that Spain doesn`t accept any warnings or advices. On reaching the top of the pick, ordered to his soldiers shooting in the air. All to make noise as much as possible. Legend has it that after that angry Gog of pick brought strident cold, and when a new day came and sun start shining, all around were nothing but scattered stones. Indians claim that these are stoned captain and his crew.


In colonial times, in the bank of river Reventazon lived a young girl. She was with a man of very good heart, who had to left for some time for the expedition in the mountains. They squared that after his back they will take marrage.

Time were flying, until one day came from Panama a man called Ximene. He has fallen in love with girl imediately. That was late night, so her parents decided to let this man sleep in their house. At night girl submited herself to Ximen`s caresses and in result has become pregnant.

When after nine monthes she delivered a child and realized that her boyfriend can come back soon, she couldn`t stand that situation more and has gone mad. Shouting she run to the river and threw a child into the water. They say till today sometimes on that river is sound her cry...

Revelation of Virgin del Rescate

In 1565, an image of Virgin del Rescate appeared from inside a tree-trunk to an Indian fisher. He wasn`t strong enough to carry that trunk and call for another 12 Indians. On carrying it for 10 metres, the3 trunk was getting heavier and heavier, and finally they had to drop it. It was considered as a sign to build a chapel. That all was to happened in the vicinity of tiday`s Ujarras. Its church in ruin stands exactly in the place of that prior chapel.

Legends about Momots
According to Bri Bri legend, the god Sibo asked the all creatures to help him make the world. They all chipped in gladly except the motmot, who hid in a hole. Unfortunately, the bird left histail hanging out. When the other birds saw this, they picked the feathers from the motmot`s tail but left the feathers at the tip. When the world was complete, Sibo gave all the tired animals a rest. Soon, the motmot appeared and began boasting about how hard he had labored. But the lazy bird`s tail gave the game away, so Sibo who guessed what had haoppened admonished the motmot and banished him to living in a hole in the ground.

The legend about statue of Black Christ

The legend has it that many years agoin Guatemala the police were chasing a man who was taking advantage of people`s religious beliefs by exploating a statue of Black Christ. He manbaged to escaped with statue to Guanacaste in Costa Rica. Soon local men decided to detain him to Guatemalan authorities. The statue was left hanging from a tree in the park in Santa Cruz. One of the neighbours decided to take the statue to his house for safekeeping. But the following morning, much to his surprise, he found that the statue was gone. He was however further surprised when he found the statue hanging once again from the tree in the park. The people of the town took this as a signal that the statue wanted a temple and they proceeded to build it.

Through the years, the statue has been taken out on procession in Santa Cruz during the second week of January. This can be easily recognized because it`s missing two fingers.

The legend about the creation of Barva Lake

Long time before discovering Costa Rica, in the western part of Meseta Central, among others in the place of todays San Rafael de Heredia, there was a settlement Huetares tribe. Inhabitants were noted for handicrafts (ceramics, carved stones and wood). Once upon a time, a group of unknown Indians has approached. They were good dressed and stood out of transporting a small tree with serpent winded around that.

People asked newcomers to give them a tree in exchange for presents, but when only the reptile went down the tree, suddenly from the ground started flowing plenty of water. Inhabitants agreed to take only a tree and visitors went back with a serpent. But during their way, they left the serpent on the first mountain top they met. In the result that place got filled with water creating the lake. A few days later a serpent went down from the lake in the top to the town and has eaten a few children. An Indian Cacique claimed that in order to rescue a settlement, on every year people should sacriface children for a snake. In recompense, they said that parents who sacrifaced their children, could use all (meals, wood) from the forests around the lake. But when someone from whose family no one has been sacrifaced yet, entered to that forest, he never come back. According to believes of today`s inghhabitants of that region, the lake of snake is now called Barva and is situated on the top of volcanoe of the same name.

The legend of Virgin of Los Angeles

Legend has it that on August 2th 1635, a young girl named Juana Pereira found a small statuette of the Virgin of Los Angeles perched on a rock while she was strolling in the forest. Taking the statuette home, she placed it in her room. On the next afternoon, she discovered another identical statuette at the same location. Returning home she found that the first statuette had vanished and she placed the new one where it had stood. After this happened two days in a row she went to the priest who decided to built the chapel at this site.

Carreta without a driver

It was believed that events had happened around 1858, when in Costa Rica after successfull campaign against filibuster William Walker at Rivas, Costa Rican army came back with the deadly germs of cholera. The epidemy decimated inhabitants. In many places in that time the corpses were transported by the two-whelled wooden carretas. People got accustomed for the sounds of its wheels jumping against the cobble-stones. The sounds were always heard during the night. No one never could see that nevertheless. When the times flied, the misterious sounds appeared in wider and wider territory. Peopkle started being afraid of going out at midnight. They said, carreta was invisible, but the only way to see that was to wychodzić po północdrive the cross against the ground.

One day a hombre man Don Juan had to travel by night for a medicaments for its children. He took for just a case the cross. When travelling he heard the sounds of carreta that seemed to pass so close to him. He drove that against the ground and he subsiquently saw the carreta without a driver soaring with the cloud of dust over the ground. Since that time no one never saw that or hear that again.

The legend of Indian Nosara

The legend has it that on the place where today lies Nosara Beach lived an Indian Nosara. She was a daughter of the chief and married a young worrior named Curime from another tribe. Despite his outsider status, he was appointed guardian of some gold statues. After another tribe attacked, Nosara slashed her wrists to prevent their capture and the blood springing from her wrists generated the river.

Priest without head.

People started talking about that in the times of Inquisition. According to it, people that make a magic may see on their ways a tree under which there is the doors. On getting on they see a priest saying the mass. At the beginning they see nothing wrong but suddenly realize the priest is headless. (He take his head in bloody hands). Supposed magicians run away so quickly and stay at homes for many days. That event may change their life forever.

Mico Malo

The legend says that in Costa Rica live a bad tiny monkey with red eyes and long arrow-tipped tail. It may appear on the top of the trees for marriages that quarrel a lot. If they don`t stop it will molest them till the end of their lifes.

Woman La Mona

The legend has it that in Chira Island lives a woman La Mona who turns into a monkey after modnight to haunt drunksmen cheating on their wifes.

Devil - snake

Popular legend that is used by parents to make their children politer is about two angels: Lucifer and Michael. According to the legend they quarreled each other in the sky, and finally Licifer has been sent to the hell. There he was transferred into snake that today might appear for everyone to do bad.

Lantern fly

In some agricultural regions of Costa Rica there is a persuasion that if a girl is stung by a machaca, she must go to bad with her boyfriend within 24 hours or die.

The tradition of giving the portales

It`s believed that young pairs who don`t have a home must use a portals on X-mas Time that has been received as a gift - then the Holy family will help them to get a house of their own.

© 2004; SLUPSK; Rafal Cezary Piechocinski