Costa Rican Pre-Columbian City of Guayabo

Written by Isabella Anderson
September 17, 2014
Guayabo, Turrialba, Costa Rica

It is a wonderful town and it is consider the largest and most important archaeological place in the country. Guayabo is located in the Cartago providence, there you can visit the Guayabo National Monument and learn some more about the Costa Rican culture (you can also visit the Turrialba Volcano National Park that is the same province).

Guayabo is really important because it protects archaeological structures influences by Pre-Columbian groups that came form North and South America. Some of the finds that the Archaeology include are: staircases, mounds, carvings of crocodiles, insects and jaguars, aqueducts, golden artifacts, roads, sculptures, pottery, tombs, petroglyphs, jade artifacts, stone spheres and monoliths, among others.

The aqueducts system was developed by the ancient Pre-Columbian city and the rainwater still flow through this structure; also the paved roads are still visible. Because of these discoveries archaeologists affirm that this particular Pre-Columbian city had experts in very important political and religious position. They (archeologist) believe that the city population was around 30000 people and that it was abandoned in the 1400’s. No written records were ever found of any explorer finding the city ant it was rediscovered by the explorer Anastasio Alfaro in the 1800’s.

The Guayabo National Monument has high evergreen beautiful forest spots with species like cerillo, magnolia, tirra, cantarillo, caragra, cirri, quizarra, burio oak and shortleaf trees. Also you can find many epiphyte plants, for example: bromelias and orchids.

If you are a bird lover this National Monument holds a great variety of species you may want to watch for example toucans, trogons, motmots, Montezuma oropendolas, piapias, chachalacas, woodpeckers and clay-colored thrushes. You can also see snakes, coatis, lizards, margays, frogs, butterflies, rabbits, and coyotes, among others.

Some services and facilities on the Guayabo National Monument are: information office, trails, bus service, exhibit room, camping area, archaeological investigation stations, amphitheater, butterfly farm, restrooms, lunch area and panoramic views and viewpoints.

You can get there by car o bus. By car, from San Jose, you must take Highway 1 south towards the province of Cartago and continue through Cervantes, follow by Turrialba and then Santa Teresita. Follow the signs on the road to the Guayabo Monument. I recommend choosing a 4WD vehicle or ask your travel agency all the information or a private one.

Guayabo documentary is in Spanish but you can view some of the sights:

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