As a family owned business, you can imagine that there are many different versions of how CONGO acquired its store’s name. But one thing is present in all of its versions, our family has always been around monkeys!!! Congo is the name of Costa Rica’s howler monkey. It is one of the monkey species most often seen and heard in the wild in Central America and Costa Rica, is not an exception! They move in herds of five to thirty monkeys, in which 25% is male, 50% is female and the remaining 25% is the young and juvenile members.
We are a family of four: my father, my mother, my sister and me. In a way, I could say we are a Congo herd, only that we are composed of 25% male, 75% female and 100% young, juvenile-spirit and hardworking members!!!
Being my mother from Cuba and my father from Argentina, ever since they moved to Costa Rica (more than 50 years ago), they both have appreciated the beauty and wonders of this small but beautiful country. Maybe even more than many Costa Ricans themselves, as they are truly grateful every single day for how Costa Rica received them many, many years ago and made them feel welcomed and capable of doing business and raising a family when they arrived in their early 20’s.
Because of work, both had to travel a lot to the Guanacaste beaches. Back then, it took them 13 to 16 hours to get there from San Jose (nowadays it can take 3.5 to 5 hours). It was a total adventure through rivers and jungle! That’s when we first met the howler monkeys. They were around us all the time, howling when they were happy, howling when they felt threatened, howling when waking up, howling during sunset, just HOWLING all day! My father remembers how they threw rocks at us when we stopped the car to watch them. My mother remembers how easy and astonishing it was (it still is by the way…) to be close to a herd of Congo monkeys. My sister remembers the adventure around them, riding on the roof of our jeep, imitating their howls so they howled back even more loud, more frequent, more imposing. And me, I remember wanting a baby Congo monkey so I could take care of him like a baby, with diapers, blankets, toys and a crib. Obviously it did not happen and my sister recommended to wait for the birth of my own children, because I looked like a monkey and therefore, my kids for sure would be little monkeys as well!!! Oh, I love my one and only sister!
Anyway, Congo is proudly Costa Rican. Congo offers the best of our culture, our idiosyncrasy, our hardworking hands, our traditions! Many of our artisans are naturally inspired to continue the hard work and empiric skills that have been transferred from generation to generation. Therefore, artisans and us together as a Congo monkey herd and as loud and energetic as their howling sound, Congo wants you to remember our beautiful country by taking home a piece of art that represents our wonders.