Joya de Cerén was a farming village that was completely buried by volcanic ash from the eruption of the Loma Caldera volcano around 600 A.D. Sites in this area are small—there were too many earthquakes to build big cities or tall temples. The site is interesting because the ash preserved everything. The people seem to have escaped, but they left all their stuff behind.
It was discovered in 1976 when the supervisor of a construction project noticed that the ash didn’t scoop up easily. He stopped the bulldozers and contacted the archaeology authorities. Joya de Cerén is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Only about 5% of it has been excavated so far. There are houses, storage areas, and a sweat lodge. One of the houses has a stone bed.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am – 4pm
Guided tours are given every 15 minutes (you have to go with a guide)
Admission: $3.00 for tourists, $1.00 for locals and free for children under 8 years of age and for adults over 60
The visit is divided in three areas. You can´t visit the place by yourself, a guide will explain the history and descripctions of the ruins (included in the entrance fee). The main construction in this area is the Shaman´s house. Very well preserved, it even has some decoration on the walls.
This area has a big building with two small windows and two doors. As in the other parts of the site, this house is also surrounded by ash layers to prevent the crumbling. The color of the walls is caused by the heat of the ashes (but some parts of the interior have small red painting parts).
There were so few taxis in Santa Ana and some of them want to charge me around $50 for the Joya de Ceren and Lago de Coatepeque trip (3-4 hours trip), then thanks God I found Moises , a very nice man who charge me $40 and it was a nice companion, he did not know about Joya de Ceren but soon we realized is very close (no more then 40 min drive). I strongly recommend the services of this man which is located in Santa Ana downtown. His mobile is 70033791
The ruins are located 30 kms of San Salvador. You can go by bus, take any bus to Santa Ana or La Libertad, and ask the driver to stop in the main road (carretera Interamericana), then you can take a tuk-tuk to the ruins. Of course a taxi is the safest and confortable way to go.
This sight is well known among Salvadoreños so with basic Spanish in hand and tons of time in your hands you can definitly bus it over there in a day with no problems. It lies a few hours from San Salvador.
Joya de Cerén is a Pre-Columbian site in El Salvador that preserves the daily life of the indigenous settlements prior to the Spanish conquest. Often referred to as the "Pompeii of the Americas," Joya de Cerén was buried under ashes of a violent volcanic eruption, therein preserving evidence of the lifestyle and activities of a Mesoamerican farming community around 6th century A.D. This site is unique in that it is still being excavated today, and since excavation was halted for much of the 1980's it is highly likely that middle-aged and older travelers have not had the opportunity to visit these ruins. Visiting Joya de Cerén can easily be combined with visiting San Andrés, a nearby site whose findings suggest it had strong contacts with both Copán and Teotihuacán.