The Village

Boca Guariviara : Gu – ah – ri – vi – ara

Boca Guariviara lies just inside the indigenous reservation, or Comarca, of the Ngobe-Bugle people on the Caribbean side of the country. Boca Guariviara is accessible by a 30 minute water taxi ride from the nearest port town named Chiriqui Grande and a 2 hour water taxi ride from the tourist hot spot of Bocas del Toro Island.


This is a small community with roughly 150 permanent residents and 40 houses. It lies at the mouth of the Guariviara river which runs down from the mountains and feeds into the large Chiriqui Lagoon. This lagoon forms a natural barrier to the Caribbean ocean and protects the village from ocean swells and heavy storms.

The residents here live off sea fishing and subsistence farming. Each family unit manage their own small farm to harvest banana, coconut, and different potato-like vegetables. They also plant rice and corn for a yearly harvest.

But fundamentally, this community is a fishing village. Each morning, both men and women wake up to climb into their handmade wooden canoes and head out to the bay to check their large nets from the night before. The fresh fish is brought in and sold locally or eaten that day!

This community is very welcoming and excited to share their way of life with our visitors. Ngabe culture is rich, with its own language, dress, dance, food, and mythologies. The kids especially are ready to play games and learn!


The Ngabe house is traditionally, the houses are elevated off the ground and sit on stilts with a thatch palm frond roof. There are three rooms each with their own secure door, and access to a clean flushing toilet just outside the house. Each household has a small solar panel and single bulb light they will turn on to keep conversation going into the night and charge up phones.


Food & Drink

Meals are simple yet filling, with breakfast consisting of eggs, fried bread, and coffee. Lunches are likely to be rice with beans and either chicken or fish. Dinners include bananas or other vegetable, rice, and a meat in a vegetable soup.



Much of the surrounding area is pristine jungle and contains an abundance of wildlife as it has been set aside as a natural reserve. It is possible to see monkeys, most commonly howler and white face, toucans, sloths, iguanas, jungle cats, armadillos and much more.

The Chiriqui Lagoon also features bioluminescence best experienced on new moons. The natural beauty of the area is astounding, please check out our instagram for more photos of the village, people and the surrounding area. @indigenous-support