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Stone spheres of the Diquís valley
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2014-10-16 18:37:13 | Palmar Norte, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Keywords: pre-hispanic, UNESCO
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 ones.

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.

New site

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 followed...

Related posts:
San Agustin site
Southern Guatemala
Joya de Cerén


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