The Guayabo National Monument was established to protect and conserve one of the most important archaeological resources in the country.
The archaeological area comprises 15 to 20 hectares of which only approximately 4 of them have been excavated, revealing structures that reveal a high archaeological development.
Likewise, pre-Columbian cultural manifestations can be appreciated in the petroglyphs or engraved stones, which present expressions not yet investigated.
In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers recognized Guayabo as a World Heritage Site due to its complexity in aqueduct and engineering.
It is located in the foothills of the Turrialba Volcano, 19 km northeast of the city of the same name, in the province of Cartago.
It is one of the most important and largest archaeological areas that has been discovered in the country. Protects archaeological structures such as roads, mounds, bridges, catchment tanks and aqueducts among others. In addition, it protects patches of evergreen high forests typical of the premontane rain forest.
Costa Rica, due to its position and geographical conformation, played an important role as a meeting place between different pre-Columbian cultures.
Archaeologists have shown that Costa Rica received influences from both North and South America. The Guayabo National Monument belongs to the intermediate area, which ranges from the province of Alajuela to Colombia, Venezuela and part of Ecuador. Research has revealed that this archaeological site was occupied from 1000 BC until 1400 AD.
The archaeological area comprises 15 to 20 hectares, of which only a small part has been excavated. Here we find archaeological features such as mounds, stairways, causeways, open and closed aqueducts, water storage tanks, tombs, petroglyphs, monoliths and sculptures, which reveal a high development in civil engineering, architecture and urban planning.
Mounds: stone bases, generally of circular base and of different sizes. We find them from 0.50 to 4.5 meters high, with a diameter of 10 to 30 meters.
Roadways: set of stone roads used as transit routes and as part of the drainage system. There are some roads that extend in different directions of the excavated area, with several kilometers in length.
Stairs or stairways: stone structures to overcome unevenness.
Aqueducts: closed or open channels to carry water to the desired sites.
Storage tanks: stone structures of rectangular shape, which were used to store the water brought by the aqueducts.
Tombs: they are located in several sectors of the archaeological site. Built with boulders and slabs; They are called box tombs. It is important to mention that the tombs discovered until now at the Guayabo National Monument were looted by huaqueros in the past.
The vegetation surrounding the archaeological area is characteristic of a premontane rainforest, dense and evergreen foliage. Forest species abound as: caragra, magnolia, cantarillo, higuerón, quizarrá, cirrí, burío and cedar mary, covered by a large number of epiphytic plants such as bromeliads and orchids.
Among the fauna are birds such as toucans, oropendolas, trogons, carpenters, momotos, piapias, yigüirros and chachalacas; mammals such as armadillos, rabbits, coyote, sloths, tolomucos, hammers, squirrels and coatis. Snakes, frogs, lizards and butterflies are also common.