The next large town is Quepos, with 11,000 inhabitants. Its name is derived from the Quepoa Indians, a tribe of the Boruca people. They lived peacefully for centuries at the mouth of the Rio Naranjo, where they farmed and fished. And, being excellent divers, they sought oysters bearing pink pearls 20 meters below the sea. The pearls were used in trade with other tribes. The Quepoas were decimated – as were many other tribes – through exposure to the diseases that the Europeans brought to the New World with them.
Today, the inhabitants live primarily from agriculture, for which they have at times cleared areas of virgin forest. In the 1970s, international tourism began to develop, helping to put a halt to the uncontrolled clearing. Lately, local people have also begun to earn money from the growing stream of international sport fishing enthusiasts who have discovered the area.