Mansión, Nicoya, Guanacaste. At 107 years of age, María Francisca Isolina Castillo Carrillo, on her own, prepared her humble wood home where she lives with her granddaughter, sitting in her favourite chair in the corridor facing the garden, ready for a special visit, Angelí Moreno, her five month old great granddaughter of her granddaughter.

Angelí lives in Colorado de Abangares was accompanied by her 17 year old mother, Marta Iris and 31 year old grandmother, Laura.

At 107, Abuela Pancha, as she is known to her family, knew exactly what to do when the baby began to cry. Holding her arms to “acurrucarla”, the baby stop crying immediately. “It’s just a matter of rocking with love”, say the centenarian.


Abuela Pancha is only living Tica that can be called great great great great grandmother.

However, in the Nicoya Peninsula is nothing strange, in a region declared a blue zone in 2007, where longevity and quality of life is outstanding.

Luis Rosero, a demographer, who has been stydying longevity in Nicoyans for the last two decades call Panchita “amazing”. Rosero says the area has seen many people over 80 and some up to 100, but usually not as in good physical and mental health as Panchita.

Panchita told La Nacion she has done nothing special to reach this age. “All I do now is eat and talk (laughing), I eat what they give me. Before I used to work hard in the yard and keeping house”, she said laughing.

Jorge Vindas, who has conducted fieldwork in the study of longevity, says one explanation for this phenomenon is that the family of Panchita had children at very young ages. For example, Panchita became mother at 16, her granddaughter at 13 and her  great grandaughter at 17.

Story and photos La Nacion

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