Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site
At Joya de Cerén, you can see the remains of 70 structures, 10 of which have been excavated and are open to the public; highlights include storehouses, kitchens, workshops, a worship area, and a temazcal (ceremonial bath). Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site is a staple of tours that trace the Mayan history and natural highlights of El Salvador. Additional stops tend to include the Cerro Verde National Park and Lake Coatepeque, hemmed in by three volcanoes.
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Things to know before you go
- There’s limited signage in English at the site, so exploring with a guide ensures that you receive important contextual information.
- There’s a small admission charge to enter the site, which is usually included in the price of most tours.
- If you haven’t visited the site as part of a tour, you can hire a guide at the entrance.
How to get there
Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site is located around 22 miles (36 kilometers) from the capital of San Salvador. You can reach it by car via the CA-1 road or skip the hassle of navigation on a tour that includes round-trip transfers.
When to get there
Joya de Cerén is open year-round from morning until night. Due to its relatively remote location, Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site is rarely crowded. A guided tour of the site generally takes around one hour.
Discovering the Maya history of San Salvador
If Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site sparks interest in Maya civilization, you can continue tracing El Salvador’s ancient history at another archeological site. A short drive from Joya de Cerén, surrounded by farms and dense jungle, you’ll find San Andres, a former Maya city that once held 12,000 residents. In addition to seeing the ruins of several enigmatic structures, you can learn more about local history at the archeology museum there.
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- El Boquerón National Park
- Lake Coatepeque
- El Rosario Church (Iglesia El Rosario)
- La Laguna Botanical Garden
- Monument to the Divine Savior of the World (Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo)
- National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología Dr. David J. Guzmán)
- Monsenor Romero Center (Centro Monsenor Romero)
- Museum of the Word and Image (Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen)
- National Palace
- Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
- National Theatre of El Salvador (Teatro Nacional de San Salvador)
- El Zapote Barracks Military Museum
- Devil's Door (Puerta del Diablo)
- Cerro Verde National Park