Ox cart rest stop reborn as art gallery and land sales office

By Donna Lynn Norton
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A new art gallery, Iguana Tranquila, along with a land sales office promoting carbon neutrality, is now housed in the historic Casa Cambronero, “Costa Rica’s Original Rest Stop” site near San Ramón.

The art gallery honors the history of the Cambronero family, and the Iguanaland Co. sales office encourages people who want to move to Costa Rica to take advantage of their partnership with Tropical Sierra Foundation, which provides trees for reforestation to make Costa Rica a carbon dioxide-neutral place to live.

In keeping with the original, late 1800s strategy of the Cambronero family, the new owners, Mike and Jacki Styles, take advantage of this strategic location where tourists welcome a needed break and a little refreshment and a place of interest before they continue on their way.

The Styles say they don’t provide the run-of-the-mill souvenirs, but unique art and gift items.

The prior owners, the descendants of the Cambronero family, passed their history on to the new owners, and a simplified version of the story goes like this:

The late 1800s in Costa Rica was a time of pioneers, untamed frontier and trading outposts, much like the United States Wild West. Important to the time, was the building of roads leading from central Costa Rica to the ocean ports. One family, the Cambroneros, set down roots at the right place at the right time, and even moved their location when the old road was replaced with a more modern highway.

Through the years, the family became important providers of various needs of those passing through, as well as those permanently moving to the area. They were able to acquire considerable wealth doing things like selling and delivering groceries, shoeing horses, trading cattle, cutting hair and providing room and board, both for people and for livestock.

In time, their location became important as a rest stop on the way to the Pacific Ocean ports for those involved in coffee exportation. It was during this time the colorful oxcarts also became a famous Costa Rica icon.

The Cambronero family kept the business flourishing by simply moving from the old road to the new highway, the Interamericana and became an icon.

AM Costa Rica
Wednesday, 7/11

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