Celebrate Authentic Costa Rican Culture with the Chorotega Experience, Only at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

Learn about the Chorotega people, an ancestral tribe based in Guanacaste, through food, art and culture
July 19, 2022,
Costa Rica

Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica celebrates the deep roots of the Chorotega indigenous culture through collaborations with local artisans and chefs. The region of Guanacaste is home to the ancestral Chorotega tribe, one of the most powerful indigenous groups in Central America, inhabiting the northwestern part of Costa Rica around the year 1200 AD and establishing an important legacy.

Handcrafted pottery is one of the last surviving cultural traditions of the Chorotega tribe. It’s made from the ancient process of creating clay and dyes from natural elements such as curiol, an organic deposit with natural oxides that is used to give distinct colour to this type of pottery, and river sand, also known as iguana sand. Using different techniques and simple instruments, the craftsmen shape the clay into unique pieces, created with precision skills and dedication. Using a suika stone to shine the ceramics, the pottery piece is then placed in a natural wood oven at high temperatures to dry. Afterward, the pottery is carefully hand painted with different natural colours and patterns, bringing a one-of-a-kind piece of art to life.

In partnership with Costa Rican artisan Jose Salomón Villafuerte Grijalba, the Resort highlights this cultural immersion in three ways:

  • The Chorotega Experience, a hands-on class where guests can learn the art of clay pottery making firsthand, and how to paint pottery pieces with traditional tribal designs
  • With artisanal plates, bowls and more featured as the official dinnerware for Bahia Grill, creating an elevated, artful dining experience that engages all of one’s senses
  • Through the sale of this special handmade pottery in the Resorts’ boutiques, supporting the indigenous artisans

Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica guests can participate in a Chorotega pottery painting class beginning this July, led by Jose Solomon and his family. Classes are offered upon request and must be registered for in advance.  During the pottery class, participants will be engaged with traditional Costa Rican food, drinks, and music along with guided instruction on how to paint the vessels. Guests will also learn about the ancient process followed by these skilled craftsmen to create the pieces, along with the history of the Chorotega people. To culminate the experience, class participants will take home a personalized creation along with a deeper appreciation for the local indigenous culture. To book the Chorotega Pottery painting class, interested guests can contact the concierge team at

Guests can support local artisans and bring home the beauty of the Chorotegan culture with elaborate handcrafted pieces created by Salomon and his family, available at the Resort’s Alma retail store. These custom pieces are truly one-of-a-kind souvenirs of time spent in Costa Rica.

About the Chorotega Culture

The Chorotega tribe once lived across Costa Rica's entire northern Pacific zone in what is now Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula. “Nicoya” is the name of the Chorotega chief who ruled the area when Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1523. Matambú is the last indigenous settlement known in the region, located between the districts of Hojancha and Nicoya, with a current population of approximately 1,084 on a territory of 4,151 acres (1,680 hectares) protected by Costa Rican indigenous law.