La Marta Wildlife Refuge: A Story of Resilience and Learning
La Marta is a natural immersion between mountains, landscapes, rains, rivers and forests, full of countless forms of life, but it is also the site of a historical and cultural heritage unique in the world.
La Marta Wildlife Refuge, located in Costa Rica, is a place with a little known ancestral history, but with evidence that points to its past occupation by the Cabecar culture and its remarkable human activity due to the favorable geographical conditions of the area. In recent times, however, it was the scene of intense exploitation and destruction of both nature and ancestral culture.
Years ago, the site was the victim of looting perpetrated by the “huaqueros”, who unearthed and traded clay pots, stone metates and gold figurines from the Cabecar culture. Even though this commercial activity was legal at the time, it left a historical void regarding the origin and traditions of the site.
In 1870, its history began with the creation of an agro-industrial hacienda called “La Martha”. A partnership of Costa Ricans, Americans and British, who invested enormous financial and technological resources in the middle of the Caribbean jungle, established the hacienda. The hacienda, focused on the production of coffee, sugar cane, bananas and cocoa for export, emerged almost at the same time as neighboring Turrialba, but failed to become a city due to various events.
In 1930, an environmental tragedy struck the hamlet where the hacienda workers lived, resulting in the loss of numerous lives. As a result, this tragedy marked the end of La Marta and all of its projects. After the disaster, the site was abandoned until 1991, when destiny had a new direction in store for it.
Today, these ruins represent anexcellent historical-cultural heritage.
The cosmicity of La Marta
‘Cosmicity’, as it is described, refers to the series of events that led to its transformation. Once again, nature began to reclaim the devastated land. The jungle re-emerged, covering and burying the infrastructure and machinery left by the hacienda. In this way, it became a forbidden place, abandoned and unknown to many.
Everything is written on the mantle of the night with the ink of starsLa Marta
La Marta is part of Kabar-Jérikä-Takí, the only territory in the entire American continent whose nature and ancestral peoples thwarted all attempts of the Spanish conquest.
On June 14, 1991, two universities, Ulacit and Castro Carazo, took custody of this place. In other words, the former hacienda was transformed into a classroom-laboratory, open to the world, where scientific, technological, philosophical and spiritual manifestations can be found.
Currently, La Marta stands as an example of resilience and learning. Indeed, every visitor and every teller of its story becomes a witness to an astonishing transformation. Once a victim of exploitation, La Marta stands as a sanctuary dedicated to education and the worship of nature and humanity.