Bribri lady and home grown cacao just before she makes us a delicious hot chocolate.

Bribri are a matrilineal group and have their own rich tropical reserves, which you can only own property on, if you can trace your lineage from your mother.


Location: 4 indigenous reservations in the districts of Talamanca and Buenos Aires, Costa Rica.

Population: Between 10 – 35 thousand.

Religion: Most Bribri are either Catholicism, Protestantism, and or Bahai. Some have returned to the traditional Bribri Shamanism, which is closely linked to their deep connection with nature.

Language: Spanish and the native Bribri language.

Tribal status: The Bribri live in semi-autonomous indigenous reserves. Each member of the Bribri tribe must have a traditional clan name that is inherited from their mother. If he/she does not have it, then he/she is not considered Bribrí, and so, cannot own land within the reservation.

Matriarchal features

  • Children belong to the mother’s clan (matrilineal name).
  • Mothers pass property to their children (matrilineal inheritance).
  • Only women are allowed to prepare the ritual cocoa drink.