|Costa Rica has a total of four UNESCO World Heritage sites, including one (the park La Amistad) shared with Panama. But the three natural sites of the country are quite hard to access when you don't have a car... and there are no tours organized to visit them. The only cultural site is however very accessible... and I've visited it yesterday.|
The valley of the Diquís in
South-Eastern Costa Rica is quite unique in the world. Here, yes,
you see remnants of an old civilization that disappeared hundreds of
years before the Spaniards arrived in the area. But the traces are
not pyramids... they're large rock spheres. The people of Diquís
have sculpted large perfectly rock balls. There are over 300
original rocks inventoried, ranging from a few centimetres to up to
two metres across! The largest easily weight up to 15 tons! The
shape was first created by regular sculpting... then the bumps were
smoothed with some sanding process by artisans.
One big rock on Fica 6 site
The rocks are mostly found in four
different sites in the area. Most are located in four main sites,
but many rocks were also brought in the capital San José and are
displayed in the national museum. That's where I've seen my biggest
If we have a good idea how they were
done, we still don't know exactly why they were done or their
signification. Some of the rocks were aligned in a formation that
could be similar to some constellations.
Those rocks are pretty unique in the
world in terms of human construction and legacy. It's not the most
spectacular site (not like giant pyramids)... but it's still very
impressive to see these rocks sculpted by hand basically and the way
they are so perfectly smooth and round. On the site I visited (Finca
6), there are still a few rocks uncovered... so you just see the top
of the rock emerging from the grassy ground.
Much like the Quirigua site in
Guatemala, the Finca 6 is nested inside a large banana plantation...
and a banana suspended rail system is passing right through the
centre of the areas where the rocks are presented in display.
Large rock on display in front of the National museum in San José.
Diquís valley is one of the brand new
UNESCO sites added to the World Heritage list this year, in late
June. At least, I was able to visit one of the sites in Costa Rica.
My next stop in Panama and I'll see if it would be easier from the
town of David to visit the Amistad bi-national park, a UNESCO site,
spanning over the border between Costa Rica and Panama. To be