Info on La Venta


La Venta is located 150 km. from Villahermosa and reached via Highway 180. Approximately 129 km down the 180 is the turnoff for La Venta
archaeological zone.
Near the Tomala river. in the district of Huimanguillo, stands one of the oldest and most important centers of Olmec culture that reached its peak between 600 and 100 AD. Several of the colossal heads characterizing Olmec culture were found here. Although each one represents different rules, they have common features such as round faces, snub noses, thick lips and mouths turned down at the corners. Another characteristic feature is the pattern of La Venta's architectural grid, most of the buildings being oriented along the north-south axis.
La Venta was built by the Olmec, the earliest of the great Mesoamerican cultures. La Venta es considered one of the most important Olmec settlements, although much of that importance is derived from the city's antiquity. The dates most often used for la Venta are 1000 to 600 B.C., at which time the settlement would have covered some 200 hectares. Archaeological evidence from the countryside around La Venta, however, suggests the city may have at one time been
much larger.


La Venta has been divided into groupings, or complexes designated A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I, in addition to the Stirling Acropolis. Group E is thought to have been a residential area and heads found at the site were recovered here. Today, La Venta is mostly a series of mounds where once there was architecture, although the city's layout is clear, and astonishingly well designed. All the structures with the exception of Complex F, which was built earlier, are set on an north to south axis. They were made of perishable materials, such as wood and thatch, and stood on platforms constructed from earth, clay and sand. These platforms are 100 meters long or less, and stand approximately three to four meters tall.
The most outstanding structure at La Venta is the Pyramid with its 140-meter height. The diameter and 34-meter height. The colossal heads that made La Venta famous and are unique to the site, may have been portraits of its rules. The heads are different while having certain features in common: round; heavy faces, thick turn-down lips and wide, flat noses. Five stelae were found at the site, one of which, is the heaviest artifact pulled from La Venta and for that, the most outstanding.
LA VENTA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE near Huimanguillo and PARQUE LA VENTA in Villahermosa are not the same place! Do not get them confused! They are several kilometers apart.
Most tourists and tour companies visit La Venta Park in Villahermosa not the La Venta Archaeological Site! Both are worth the visit. If you only have time for one, then Parque La Venta would be our recommendation.
Most of the carvings at La Venta Archaeological Site were moved to the La Venta Park for protection. Nearly all of the large Heads and Monuments at the site are fiberglass reproductions.
It is worth the trip to see the La Venta Archaeological Site, so try to see them both. Most of the reproductions and original monument on the Archaeological site are not in their original locations. No-one seems to know exactly where they belong! That is because no - one kept good records when they were moved.
There is evidence that the Olmec people were on the North American continent more than 10,000 years ago. The first documentation of shamanistic practices in Mesoamerica occur during the Formative period of the Olmec. The first depictions show the shaman being transformed into the deified form of the jaguar. Their highest civilization dates from 1,200 B.C., although they were at their peak in this area from 800 to 300 B.C. Many believe the Olmec were the cradle civilization for the genepool of Mesoamerica, even calling the Olmecs ¨the mother culture of Mesoamerica."
La Venta's large stone sculpture was made of basalt from the Tuxtla mountains far to the north. The Olmec transported these massive basalt boulders by means of the region's meandering rivers, where they were used for thrones, altars, stelae, and colossal heads.
It is at LaVenta that the famous ten foot high Olmec heads were found. To the best of our knowledge, there are only 17 of these giant heads known to exist! Some of the best we have seen are in the Museum in Jalapa.
LaVenta itself is located on an island in the midst of a swamp near the Tonala River near the Eastern edge of the Olmec cultural area. the buildings in La Venta are aligned in a N-S axis. The many altars found in LaVenta are thought to actually be thrones.
When visiting La Venta today it is difficult to notice that it once was on an island in the midst of a swamp. The rivers and lakes gave the Olmec in this area a good way to travel, so this was a very good trade center. Thus, the Spanish name La Venta, "The Sale."
Be sure to have a good deet mosqueto repellant on when there. Oh! Mosquetos like red shirts! We forgot to pack out deet repellant and had to buy the brands sold in Mexico, which are next to useless. We hurt for several days after the visit.
La Venta is located at the edge of the town of Huimanguillo (wee-mahn-GWEE-yo): GPS 17°50'N 93°23'W. Elev. 98 ft/30 m. Important oil production. Agr. center (bananas, tobacco, mangoes, rice, coffee, beans).
At the bottom of this page are several photos of sculptures and monuments that were located between the Museum and Structure C 1, which is the cone shaped pyramid that is thought to represent a volcano. C 1 is the largest pyramid shaped monument at La Venta.
The caretakers keep the grass and weeds nicely cut and trimmed or the place would soon be covered by the jungle. The museum and restrooms are very clean.