Rico’s DIGEST – Will the national emergency due to the coronavirus covid-19 and the mobility restrictions to stop the spread of the contagion lead to the return of “La Carreta” in Costa Rica?
The carreta or ox cart today is a symbol of Costa Rica culture. In its time it became a significant means of transportation for rural Costa Ricans after it was introduced to the area circa 1840.
Farmers used ox carts in order to transport valuable crops like coffee beans or sugar cane. The carreta was valued for its ability to maneuver over all types of hazardous terrain. In spite of the name, originally it was human beings, not oxen, who pulled the carretas until the loads became too heavy.
Inevitably, cars and other motorized vehicles have replaced the ox cart as transportation, in time ox carts taking on life as a celebrated form of artwork.
While I doubt we will see the carretas on the streets of the big city anytime soon, it could happen if the Semana Santa nationwide vehicular restrictions are expanded beyond April 12, they could make a comeback in the small towns and rural Costa Rica.
This came to me this morning when one of my neighbors here in Santa Ana, in a built-up urban area, decided to stroll the calle on a horse. Why not?
I can see the Ruta 27 become a route for horses and the carretas interspersed with a few cars here and there.
There is (up to now) any restrictions of the carretas. They are practical. They have a beauty of them, not only visual but also auditory.
So, in these times of change, this symbol of Costa Rican culture may become yet once again, a significant means of transportation in the country.
Just a thought.