Welcome to Monumento Nacional Arqueológico Guayabo
Nestled into a patch of stunning hillside forest 19km northeast of Turrialba is the largest and most important archaeological site in the country. Guayabo is composed of the remains of a pre-Columbian city that was thought to have peaked at some point in AD 800, when it was inhabited by as many as 20,000 people. Today visitors can examine the remains of petroglyphs, residential mounds, a roadway and an impressive aqueduct system – built with rocks that were hauled in from the Río Reventazón along a cobbled 8km road. Amazingly, the cisterns still work, and (theoretically) potable water remains available at the site. In 1973, as the site’s importance became evident, Guayabo was declared a national monument, with further protections established in 1980. The site occupies 232 hectares, most of which remains unexcavated. It’s a small place, so don’t go expecting Mayan pyramids, but it's a fascinating visit nonetheless.