Handicrafts from the Cangrejal River Valley

Let’s face it: We all love to buy souvenirs and handicrafts when we travel! Sometimes they are meant to be a gift for a loved one who is back home. Other times is something that we absolutely loved and want to take it home to remind us of a memorable trip. One thing is for sure: we usually buy them at a souvenir store, which means we don’t have a clue of who made them. That means that we do not have a story to go with our purchase. The good news is that the handicrafts that you can buy in the Cangrejal River Valley will have a special story to remember. This is because you can meet the artisan who created the handicraft or souvenir! A souvenir with a story is much more valuable than one bought at a store.

There are two distinct artisans that work in the Cangrejal River Valley with a great life story for you! In both cases, you will meet them when visiting hiking trails in Atlantida. One of them is Nolberto. He usually has his handicrafts at the Pico Bonito Visitors Center where the Hanging Bridge is. Nolberto and his family have a small workshop they call Artesanias Sarabia. The workshop is on the Cangrejal River Road, between La Villa de Soledad and Omega Tours Lodge. If you stop by, there is always someone there to take care of you. Alternatively, you are likely to meet Nolberto at the Visitors Center. If you are entering the El Mapache trail and you find Nolberto, and one of his souvenirs catches your fancy, make a deal with him and pick it up on your return from the trail, He will gladly wait for you.

{%ALT_TEXT%}{%CAPTION%}The other handicraft shop in town in between the communities of Las Mangas and El Pital. I refer to the El Olvido trail. This trail is much less traveled than El Mapache Trail. As a matter of fact, you must have a truly adventuresome spirit for the adventure. This is because access to the trail is via a small cable car that is self-propelled and that is high over the Cangrejal River. It runs off a cable that is about 150 meters long and at its highest is about 50 meters above the river.

Views from the cable car are spectacular. A maximum of 4 persons can travel on the cable car. So if your group is larger, you will need several trips to get to the other side. On the opposite bank of the river you will be met by Doña Rosario. She is an enterprising woman who also runs a small ecolodge: La Canasta Eco Lodge. (The name comes from the small cable car you use to get across the river).

Cangrejal River Valley handicrafts

Doña Rosario muestra coloridas artesanías en el Centro de Visitantes del Cangrejal

In addition to the lodge, Doña Rosario leads a group of women who are organized in a cooperative. The cooperative is known as Juan Pablo Segundo, and they produce lovely textiles using bright colors with local themes, such as toucans, parrots and other animals from the tropical jungles of Nombre de Dios National Park. The El Olvido trail leads from the building where the lodge and cooperative function. A two hour plus round trip hike will take you to lovely waterfalls with great swimming pools to cool off in a hot day.

Imagine meeting these women that produce these lovely embroidered products! Their handicrafts are ideal to take back home. They are very light, do not break and will fit in your backpack or luggage. They Will represent a talisman that will remind you of the great vacations that you had in Atlantida!