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Pre-Columbian Costa Rica

 

Pre-Columbian Costa Rica was a land bridge and trading post for the Inca and Mayan empires and consequentially we do not have the ruins or the pyramids of Peru, Guatemala or Mexico, but we do have some interesting pre-Columbian attractions and sites within an hours drive of Rancho Armadillo.  To the south there is Guatil, an indigenous Indian village where they make pottery the way their ancestors did over 900 years ago. Each home has their own wood fired kiln and you can buy pottery from the artist or from a co-op in the town. After Guatil you can stop for lunch at a local tortilla “factory” where they grind the corn with a mortar and pestle and grill the fluffy tortillas atop a wood fired stone slab. They also have a small restaurant where you can have a cassado, a typical Costa Rican meal. Literally translated it means married man, and it is what he expects on the table when he comes home, rice, beans, fried plantains, tortillas and your choice of beef, pork, chicken or fish. This is a very local place and chances are you will be the only non Costa Ricans there.

Another tour, about an hour's drive north of here nestled in the rain forest near the town of Las Lilas featuring pre- Columbian rock carvings dated from 1,000 – 1,200 years ago. The first set is located next to a ancient natural spring where the locals have built a retaining pool for the kids to swim in, in the bushes next to the spring are 2 large boulders with carvings of faces and symbols. In front of the local grade school is another boulder that has been identified by University of Costa Rica's archeology department.  The second set of petroglyphs is a bit outside of the town hidden behind some houses, where one of the residents has built a small butterfly garden. After a quick tour of the garden you walk down a path that has three different groups of petroglyphs. One of the sites is an ancient alter. These have been studied and identified by the University of Costa Rica's archeology department The boulders are located along a river bed that during the dry season is pretty accessible, While in the area we can stop by a local cheese factory where you can watch how they make local cheese.