The 11th annual “Festival de las Esferas” (Sphere Festival) will be held this weekend — May 13-15th, 2016 — at the archaeological site “Finca 6”. This landmark, which has considerable cultural significance, is home to the mysterious stone spheres of Costa Rica’s South Pacific Zone. The historical and cultural importance of this entire region was established globally when it was was given UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 2014. The festival will feature the exhibitions of the spheres themselves, dance presentations, music workshops, and cultural groups from the area, as well as boat tours and sport. Regional crafts, food, and drinks will also be available for sale.
Finca 6, a national landmark
Finca 6 Archaeological Site forms part of a group of sites in the Diquis Delta where many of the stone spheres have been unearthed, including Batambal, El Silencio, and Grijalba-2. The location of the festival will be at the Finca 6 museum in Palmar Sur, Osa, which is a 45-minute drive down the Costanera Highway from Uvita. The Osa canton (which contains the infamous Corcovado National Park) has long been known for its biological diversity, and the region has consequently developed as an “ecotourism” or nature-based tourism destination. The creation of the Finca 6 museum and the annual Stone Sphere Festival points to a potential for diversification within the tourism industry in the region.
Story behind the spheres
These pre-Columbian artifacts range in size — from a few centimeters to over two meters in diameter — are all perfectly spherical, a feat considering the tools that would have been necessary for their creation. They were “discovered” by the United Fruit Company, who was clearing the area for banana plantations during the agricultural boom of the 1930s. Many of the spheres were destroyed or moved, and only when an article was published by the daughter of a United Fruit Company executive did the outside world learn about them and begin to take an interest. Their existence has been studied ever since, and in the 1990s, the National Museum of Costa Rica also extended their protection to the area.
While their purpose is still somewhat of a mystery, it is believed that they may have been astrologically or religiously significant, and they definitely indicate that an advanced and complex society was behind their creation. Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian history has not been studied and documented as much as some of its other Latin American counterparts, which means that that is generally less well known. It also means that preserving, learning about, and celebrating these spheres is very important to Costa Rica.
A historical and natural hotbed
At Bodhi Surf, we’re incredibly fortunate to be located within a stunning natural paradise that also happens to be home to such an important and interesting historical site. We know that during their week-long surf and yoga camp, our guests may not have the opportunity to attend the Festival de las Esferas or even visit Finca 6 Archaeological site; however, they do have the opportunity to see a few original stone spheres that are located within our town on the community walking tour. We hope that this festival continues to bring the world’s attention to these enigmatic stone spheres in our backyard!