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Visit Joya de Cerén

Joya de Cerén

Discover the country's most important Mayan site, buried for centuries under volcanic ash.

Drawing comparisons with Pompeii, Joya de Cerén, 36km from San Salvador, was a pre-Hispanic farming community which was buried beneath lava following an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano in 600AD. Because of the exceptional condition of the revealed vestiges of the settlement the ruins provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American people who worked the land at that time: how they cultivated their crops, built their homes and cooked and stored their food. 

It is the only known site where ordinary Mayan houses have been preserved, and its small museum displays intriguing household objects excavated from the ruins. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Activity Rating: moderate

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