Fast Facts

Location: Close to San Salvador, and be engaged in as a day trip
Best Time to Visit: All round the year. However, El Salvador attracts the most number of tourists during Christmas, New Year and Easter Season.
How to Reach: The Comalapa International Airport serves San Salvador. Hire a car from there. Chances are that it will be incorporated in your composite San Salvador tour package.
Nearest airport: Comalapa International Airport

At times, history conspires with nature to preserve itself in strange ways. An entire group of people was in the middle of their day to day activities, probably enjoying a hearty meal after a hectic morning of agricultural activities, when doom struck, literally. Much like Pompeii, the entire settlement got buried under 14 layers of ash to become lost from the memory of posterity forever, well almost. Payson Sheets, a professor of anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder suddenly discovered the site in 1976. A hectic excavation process got initiated, and about 70 buildings got uncovered in due course. No human corpse was found, the inhabitants were quick enough to flee the wrath of nature, apparently. However, what they left behind to provide us a great insight into the pre-Columbian Mayan way of life.

At around 900 BC, a small farming community started a settlement on the southeast edge of the Mayan culture. When Ilopango erupted in AD 250, the entire community evacuated. However, it was not long before the area was repopulated again. However, Mother Nature was far from being appeased and when Loma Caldera erupted in 590, the attack was more sudden. The residents had to leave everything behind, their houses, utensils, ceramics, furniture and even their food, half-eaten. Of great archeological interest is the discovery of the manioc fields. The farmers planted the manioc only hours before the eruption. The historians have subsequently made plaster casts of the crop, giving us a true picture of the pre-Columbian mode of agricultural activities.

A visit to the Joya de Ceren archaeological site is a strange journey into the past. One almost feels oneself in the middle of a thriving city, only without the inhabitants. The reigning quiet of the entire region is bound to make one look within oneself and become contemplative.

A Joya de Ceren tour is usually a part of a comprehensive El Salvador tour. It is best to take up accommodation at San Salvador and then embark on a day tour to the ruins of Joye de Ceren. There are a number of hotels and accommodation options at San Salvador that cater to travelers from all budget ranges. Hilton Princess, Real InterContinental, Radisson Plaza and Novo Apart-Hotel are some of the most popular hotels in San Salvador.

Find out more about Joya de Ceren from the following links: For fascinating views of the main ruins of the Joya de Ceren in El Salvador and get a taste of the past achievements of this small agricultural village community, watch this video!

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