The Indigenous Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

sphere, costa ricaThe indigenous tribes of Costa Rica left little evidence of their culture behind. The only larger settlement that is more or less preserved is in Guayabo. The other main artifacts that are approximately 500 stone spheres, which were found on the Southern Pacific side of Costa Rica, by the rivers Sierpe and Térraba, close to Palmar). Some of these spheres weigh up to 15 tons and it’s unknown how these stones were produced or transported, and what they were meant for. Most of the spheres are made of pluton (magmatic rock) such as Gabbro or Granodiorite.


sphere locations in costa ricaProbably, the stone spheres were transported to their final locations around 0 and 300 a. D., but there are no clear archaeological indications. The first written testimonial is from the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1547:

I have heard that the elders of the realm assemble around the stone spheres, where they receive advice from the sages.

In the following years, people forgot about the spheres until they were re-discovered in 1939 by the Standard Fruit Company. While they were cutting down forests to create banana plantations, they ran into the spheres. Apparently, some of the stones were blown up, in the hope of finding gold in them...


stone spheres at finca 1The exact purpose of the stones remains unclear, since the original inhabitants of Costa Rica left no written reports behind, and their cultures are by now mostly extinct. It seems most likely that the stones were used as astronomic gardens to measure growth cycles. Another possibility is that the order of the spheres represented the social order within and among the various tribes. A further (secondary) assignment might have been that the spheres constituted as meeting points for the tribe chiefs.

stone sphere costa ricaThe largest mystery remains the transportation of the stones, since there are no stone pits in the near proximity. There are some popular theories, claiming that the stones were transported with the aid of extraterrestrial aliens (as with all theories by Erich von Däniken and Juan José Benitez, there is no scientific proof for any of those claims). Vast archaeological research will be necessary in order to find plausible explanations.


If you are interested in seeing the indigenous stone spheres in Costa Rica, we suggest one of the following uncomplicated possibilities: Visit the central park of Palmar Sur or the Museo Nacional in San José, where some specimens are exhibite


Indigenous Tribes of Costa Rica | Indigenous Peoples in Central America | Back to Top