Guayabo National Monument
Guayabo National Monument is the biggest most important archeological site in Costa Rica. It is locate in the Cartago Province close to the city of Turrialba (19 km away). The size of the park is about 218 hectares and the entrance is approximately 38 kilometers from San Jose city. It is part of the cultural region known as Central Intermountain and Atlantic Basin. It was created in 1980 as a way to protect one of the highest socio-cultural development achieved by Costa Rica pre-Hispanic societies. The archeological importance of the Guayabo National Monument has been known since the end of the last century. The archeological site was found during some expeditions that were carried by national and foreign scientists. The artifacts that they collected are now in museums and private collections, and the biggest collection of Costa Rica archeological artifacts was exhibited at the Historic-American Expo in Madrid (1982). The National Monument has trails that help visitors get to know the standing buildings of the site and the road made by the indigenes people of that time.
The archeological site of Guayabo was occupied through four cultural phases dating from 1000 B.C. to 1550 A.D. The type of constructions discovered in the park included aqueducts, roads, retaining walls or bridges; archeologist think that around 1,200 to 1,600 people inhabited the site.
The Guayabo National Monument is located 19 kilometers northwest of the city of Turrialba, and can be accessed by the town of Santa Cruz de Turrialba. The roads are not in good condition and probably visitors will need an all-terrain vehicle. Visitor services include information, a park ranger station, trails, restrooms, drinking water, signage and several natural viewpoints.