Inhabited since the 2nd century A.D., Quiriguá became the capital of an autonomous and prosperous state. Its ruins contain some outstanding monuments and an impressive series of carved stelae and sculpted calendars that constitute an essential source for the study of Mayan civilization.
Search LAC Geo
Archaeological Sites in Central America
Founded in 1519, Panamá Viejo was the oldest European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Abandoned in the mid-17th century, it was replaced by today's Historic District, which has preserved its original street plan, its architecture and an unusual mixture of architectural styles.
A number of well-known and historically important pre-Columbian Maya archaeological sites are found in Belize, considered part of the southern Maya lowlands of the Mesoamerican culture area. The sites found here were occupied until the arrival of the Spanish.
Chiquibul National Park is the largest national park in Belize. The park surrounds Caracol, an archaeological reserve, that was once one of the most important regional political centers of the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Period. Chiquibul Forest Reserve is adjacent to the park.
El Salvador has five archaeological parks plus a Mesoamerican site. The Yucatán Peninsula and the Petén Basin/Maya Forest region of Belize, Guatemala and Mexico have become synonymous with Maya ruins; however, there are several sites in El Salvador of importance.
Guayabo National Monument, set on the jungle-rich slopes of the Turrialba Volcano, protects one of Costa Rica’s most important archaeological sites, Guayabo de Turrialba. The historic ruins make up the largest pre-Columbian city ever discovered in Costa Rica.
Joya de Cerén is an archaeological site located in the Department of La Libertad, El Salvador. The site contains the remains of a pre-Hispanic farming village that was covered by a volcanic eruption in the seventh century AD. It is often referred to as the "Pompeii of the Americas."
Discovered in 1570, the ruins of Copán in western Honduras is one of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization. The ruined citadel and imposing public squares reveal the three main stages of development before the city was abandoned in the early 10th century.
The stone spheres of Costa Rica are an assortment of over 300 petrospheres, located on the Diquís Delta. The Pre-Columbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquís are physical evidence of pre-Columbian hierarchical societies.
Situated near the town of Puerto Momotombo, León Viejo is one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements in the Americas. It did not develop and so its ruins are outstanding testimony to the social and economic structures of the Spanish Empire in the 16th century.