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Legendary marimba music alive at Hacienda Guachipelin

Hacienda Guachipelin marimba player Don Justo

A legend lives at Hacienda Guachipelin. For more than 50 years, Justo Pastor Sanchez Castillo – known affectionately to all at Hacienda Guachipelin as “Don Justo” – has made magic with his music on the marimba. He is a living legend playing a folkloric instrument that is fading into history.

You can’t visit Guanacaste, Costa Rica without listening at least once to the distinct resonant sounds of a traditional marimba. Considered a symbol of culture and tradition, especially in the province of Guanacaste, the marimba was declared the national musical instrument of Costa Rica by President José María Figueres in 1996.

Hacienda Guachipelin marimbaThe marimba is a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars, arranged like those of a piano, which when struck with mallets produce musical tones. Resonators (tubes, usually of aluminum) that hang below the bars amplify their sound with vibration.

In Central America and Mexico, a hole is often carved into the bottom of each resonator and then covered with a delicate membrane made with pig intestine to add a characteristic “buzzing” or “rattling” sound known as charleo. Marimba players often simultaneously use between two and four mallets in each hand, and often play with one or two other persons for more complicated songs.

The marimba was developed in Guatemala centuries ago, based on a type of Hacienda Guachipelin marimba player Don Justoxylophone from African slaves; the marimba is also the official national instrument of Guatemala. The historical musical instrument was brought to Costa Rica from Guatemala in colonial times by Franciscan priests, and spread in the region of Guanacaste and the Central Valley. In Costa Rica, marimba music is synonymous with Guanacaste.

You can listen to colorful marimba music every night at award-winning eco-hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Don Justo plays his legendary songs in the hotel’s bar and restaurant to entertain guests every night, like he has been doing for the past eight years.

“Our guests love listening to the traditional music of Guanacaste,” agreed the Hacienda Guachipelin reception staff.

At the base of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is one of the best places to stay in Guanacaste. The eco-tourism hotel is a working horse and cattle ranch and has some of the best adventure tours in Costa Rica. Hacienda Guachipelin received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014.

Article by Shannon Farley

“Fiestas Bravas” in Costa Rica

fiestas bravasGuanacaste’s celebrations are coming up, exciting dates for this side of the country; full of traditional activities, typical music and folklore dancing.

Up coming for the week of January 15th we have lots of festivities in Santa Cruz, typical Costa Rican rural town, where people gather to celebrate with typical music, folkloric dancing and bullfighting to honor the Black Christ of Esquipulas. Since 1926 it’s celebrated in commemoration of their catholic religion when Christ suffered before being crucified.

festivities in Santa CruzIn the corners of the main streets of Santa Cruz marimbas are located to brighten the atmosphere; while the bullfights are held where many people come to a roundabout on the main square to challenge the bulls.

During the week they also celebrate the famous horsemen activity “tope” where hundreds of people from all over the country come with their horses and typical costumes to the main streets of the city and parade. During this activity many tourists rent horses and participate in the festival.

Dancing in the park to the sound of marimba music is another traditional activity, among local meals prepared as part of the celebration including the “rosquillas”, sweet “tamal” and coyol wine.

Santa Cruz is a beautiful town filled with friendly and openhearted people who are always open to help tourists when needed. The town is also close to some of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica, which they have buses travelling back and forth almost each hour.

Between the last week of February and early March the Fiestas Cívicas of Liberia are held where folklore and traditions are celebrated with music, rides and concerts throughout Liberia.

The city of Liberia is located on the plains of the province of Guanacaste. It has a warm but dry climate characteristic of the area. Its name comes from the Latin “liber” meaning free and independent.

Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín.At just 13 miles away from Liberia and 72 from Santa Cruz, in the surroundings of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is one of the best places to stay in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Now for these celebration dates, you can also enjoy great Costa Rica travel deals at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin and enjoy Guanacaste’s festivities.

Costa Rica’s love for “fiesta” is contagious; taste the food, make friends, enjoy traditions and party with the ticos are musts you can’t miss during these dates in Guanacaste, activities you can enjoy at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin.

By Maria Laura Charles