"Joya de Cerén" Joya de Cerén by MalenaN

Joya de Cerén Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 45 photos

Joya de Cerén is the only Unesco World Heritage Site in El Salvador. It is often referred to as the Pompeii of America because it was buried by volcanic ashes in AD 595 when the Laguna Caldera Vulcan had an eruption. Joya de Cerén is not as grand as Pompeii, but still a very interesting place to visit.

Joya de Cerén was a Mayan village and remains beneath the ashes have given a great insight in how common people lived. Most pre-Colombian archaeological sites in Central America shows temples, tombs and palaces, but at Joya de Cerén you can see how people in the villages lived. Protected under tin roof are several structures of houses, storages, kitchens ,a sauna and a shaman house. In one place you can also see the ridges of the maize field.

No human buddies have been found at Joya de Cerén so people probably had time to escape, but items found indicate they left in a hurry. Many of the artefacts found at the site are displayed in a museum at Joya de Cerén. I would very much have liked to see this museum, but unfortunately it was closed for renovation when we visited. There are a few artefacts at the Museum of Anthropology in El Salvador though and those I had seen the previous day.

You can only visit the site on a guided tour. When we arrived we had to wait for the next tour and then we had time to visit the souvenir stall and have a drink in the café. Our guide was very good and explained things in a good way. Even if it was mostly in Spanish I could understand most of it. She also explained a few things in English for me.

As the museum was closed for renovation we didn’t have to pay entrance fee. Otherwise it had been 3 dollars for foreigners and 1 dollar for El Salvadorians (June 2009).
The Archaeological Park of Joya de Cerén is open on Tuesdays - Sundays between 9 - 17.

Thank you Nancy, Marco and Ana Emma for taking me here!

Joya de Cerén is situated 36km west of San Salvador. If you visit by bus you should take bus 108 from San Salvador.

  • Last visit to Joya de Cerén: Jun 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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