Juntas de Abangares
The name "Abangares" is derived from the name of the former chieftain of the area "Avancari", which means "god of the waters" or "god of the marshes" in Nahuatl language. It is said that the force and flow of the river that crosses this canton was given to Avancari; today this river is known as "Rio Abangares”
Abangares is a little and peaceful town on the banks of its namesake river, the full name of this town is Las Juntas de Abangares and it has a cool climate, caused by its location on the mountainous part of the province of Guanacaste, receiving the cool breeze coming down from the highlands of nea
rby Monteverde. Abangares is the only town of Guanacaste Province, with such type of weather, since the other towns of this province have a warm and humid tropical climate.
Abangares is known as the Canton (county) of the mining in Costa Rica. This area features the largest gold mine that Costa Rica ever had. It was there that Minor Cooper Keith placed his gold processing plant “Gold Fields of Costa Rica”.
During the “gold fever” in Costa Rica (1884 to 1931) a lot of people came to this town in search of fortune, some of them were from Jamaica, North and South America, Asia, Europe and Russia, creating a population with a multiracial background not present in other towns of Guanacaste. In fact, this immigration of Costa Ricans and other nationalities populated the area giving birth to the town of Abangares.
The mines had a large number of tunnels, long narrow passages, and galleries to extract the metal located 100 meters deep into the earth. With the mines, camps, factories, pharmacies, commissaries, prisons, ice houses and mills were built. Electricity was generated thanks to industrial technology from Europe and United States introduced not only to generate electricity but mainly to extract and process the valuable mineral.
In reality, no towns were beyond the mines, roads ended where the mining settlements begin. Mines were surrounded by dense tropical forests, hidden from unwanted spectators and the scrutiny of the public eye.
Abangares Mine Ecomuseum
In 1991, the Abangares Mine Ecomuseum was founded in the place where the gold processing plant used to be, on a 45 hectare property, rescuing the buildings and machinery used at the time of the gold rush. The museum has photographs and models characteristic of the mining practices.
On the museum grounds you will find the "Powder House", which was the mine operating station, the original open-pit mine from which the mineral was extracted, some parts of the tunnels, the rusted cars that transported the materials, pieces of the railway, the odds and ends of the mining house with its huge decks, where the mined ore was crushed, and the terraces where the gold bars were processed. There are surrounding walking trails for bird watching, a children's play area and picnic spots.
The main area of the museum is owned by the Municipality of Abangares and consist of 38 acres. If you climb to the top you will see the ruins of the foundation stone of the old building decks, resembling indigenous archaeological ruins. 100 tones of material were ground daily during 30 years on this place.