The Museo Nacional de Antropología, or MUNA for short, is one of the two impressive museums in San Salvador. It is not often that you find a well-planned and well-organized museum in a city so lacking in tourist infrastructure as San Salvador, which is why the MUNA is such a pleasure to visit. The building itself was rebuilt several times, after being destroyed in an earthquake in the 80s or 90s and then, after reconstruction, the discovery that the new building was unsound. The current structure is not really aesthetically pleasing, but it does allow the visitor to feel assured that it will not collapse during a tremor. The museum contains some of the few exhibits that actually explain and, in a way, celebrate the history of El Salvador from its original inhabitants up through to the modern time. The bottom floor contains a detailed history of the country in chronological order, beginning with the first inhabitants, then the post-volcanic eruption Mayan inhabitants and finally the post-Columbian development of the country. The second floor, on the other hand, provides a detailed look at the various rituals and customs of the native peoples of El Salvador at the time of the Spanish conquest. The best room is undoubtedly the one devoted to religious beliefs, which is beautifully laid out.
El Salvador is a country that doesn't have much to offer by way of architectural or manmade attractions, but it certainly can offer beautiful natural scenery to amaze visitors. One site that anyone coming to San Salvador should visit is El Boquerón, the volcano that towers above the capital city. At a short 20 minute ride from Zona Rosa and the safer parts of the metropolis, el Boquerón is an easy and quick escape from the sprawling, ugly city. The road up to the edge of the cone provides tourists with an interesting view to the life of the city's agricultural workers, as many of the coffee pickers live among the single road that climbs the volcano's side. As you approach the entrance to the national park, the shacks of the coffee pickers are replaced more frequently by stands at which women sell flowers picked in the park, a practice that is prevalent but illegal. Once at the parking lot, the short climb up is filled with great picture opportunities and incredible views of brilliantly colourful flowers and plants. The volcano is no longer active and its crater is filled with volcanic rock and flora. A track along the ledge allows you to see into the crater and get great pictures. Interestingly, the volcano was once claimed by a television magnate who purchased a falsified land title for the area. The volcano was supposed to be part of a national park and, only after years of negotiation and legal battles, the magnate "donated" the lands to the people of El Salvador.
It’s not a large museum, but it’s a very nice one—Instead of displaying everything they found, there are a few of the best examples in each category. It is spacious, and the artifacts are attractively arranged. Classical and pre-classical items are displayed by time period, and the site where they were found. There are wonderful little clay figurines and some beautifully decorated pottery.
One room is non-Mayan--a mummy from Peru, a Mexican sun stone, an Olmec head, and some pottery from the southern U.S.A. The outdoor garden had giant stone carvings and altars.
Admission was just $3 (2010) and photography (without flash) is allowed.
Note: Signs and explanations are only in Spanish
Joya de Cerén was a farming village that was completely buried byvolcanic 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.
The site is open from 9:30-4 p.m. (closed Mondays) and costs $3 to visit. You can't just wander--you have to go with a guide, but he is free.
San Salvador is blessed with not one but two of the nicest soccer stadiums in Central America – the Estadio Jorge “El Mágico” González, which is also known by its former name, the Estadio Flor Blanca, and the Estadio Custatlán. Both stadiums host domestic league matches as well as occasional international competitions.
ATACO, is an small town, 2 hours away from capital area, they call the route of the flowers, it is the road that they drive to address to ATACO.
Complete name of the town is: CONCEPCION DE ATACO, before you arrived there are several towns that you can visit, and tows have many hand crafts.
Beautiful colors, cloths, souvenirs, folk crafts. It is a nice trip.
In the crypt under the cathedral is the tomb of Archbishop Oscar A Romero. His grave has got a bronze sarcophagus and in the wall behind are graves of other archbishops. This place is often visited by pilgrims and it was also visit by Pope John Paul II on his visit to El Salvador.
When Oscar A Romero became archbishop in 1977 he was known to be quite conservative, but that soon changed. One of his close friends, a Jesuit priest, was killed by the military death squads and it also became more violent in the country. Romero started to criticise government repression. His sermons were broadcast in radio and he talked about justice and human rights.
Romero was assassinated in 1980 while he held a mass in the chapel of Hospital La Divina Providencia. To his funeral more than 250 000 mourners came. During the funeral fire was opened and several people were killed.
The Museum of Modern Art is situated within walking distance from the Museum of Anthropology so it is convenient to visit them both on the same day, and they are both worth a visit.
The museum opened up in 2003 and has a permanent exhibition of about 250 sculptures and paintings by El Salvadorian artists. There are also temporary exhibitions. Outside the museum are the Monument of Revolution and the Monument of Liberty. There is also a restaurant and a shop in the museum.
The museum is open on Tuesdays - Sundays between 10 - 18.
Admission was 1.50 dollars (June 2009).
The Museum of Anthropology is situated in Zona Rosa. I went there with Nancy (VT-member conejita71) and her relative Ellie, and we came in a car.
The museum has a great exhibition of artefacts from different periods of the El Salvadorian history and it gives a good insight of the development of the region. There are exhibitions on two floors and in the garden there are pre-Colombian rock-carvings. In another part of the building there was an art exhibition.
Admission for foreigners was 3 dollars and for El Salvadorians 1 dollar (June 2009).
The museum is open Tuesday - Sunday between 9 - 17.
The Metropolitan Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of San Salvador. The present cathedral was completed in 1999 and had been built on the site of a previous church.
Between the two bell towers the façade is decorated with colourful artwork by the artist Fernando Llort. The high dome has a blue and yellow checker pattern. Under the dome is the main altar. It is surrounded by paintings made by Andrés García Ibáñez, depicting the life of Christ. Beneath the cathedral is the tomb of Oscar A Romero.
In El Centro, on the north side of Plaza Barrios.
Iglesia El Rosario is a beautiful church in down town San Salvador, well it is the interior that is beautiful. The church has a high arched roof with stained-glass windows in different colours, colours that are reflected on the floor. The walls are made of brick and around the church there are metal artwork.
The church was constructed between 1964 - 1971 and is made by the El Salvadorian architect and sculptor Rubén Martínez.
The botanical garden is something not to be missed especially in a bustling, fume choked and noise maddened San Salvador. The easy way there is by taxi which took 6USD to achieve. Once inside the atmosphere changes dramatically; surrounded by lush tropical vegetation one forgets about the reality beyond. There are amazing spots of tranquility alongside ponds, under huge trees, and amongst delicate flowers. There are no less curious representatives of the local fauna as well. The way back to Zona Rosa was more adventurous. A local bus driver stopped at a spot that did not look like a bus stop, picked me up and delivered me to the fair grounds for the mere amount of 25 cents; amazing deal which included huddling with the locals on the tiny benches of the bus and watching unwittingly the noisy and visually obnoxious yahoos from foreign lands.
The first day that I arrived in El Salvador. I didn't know what to expect. But the people were very friendly. I felt at home there.
The food is very fresh and reasonably priced.
The beach (la playa) was SO beautiful. Better then Lake Michigan in Chicago Illinois. See in Chicago beach you have to stay on one side of the beach, but in El Salvador you could do what you want.
So I tell everyone to visit or MOVE to El Salvador. It is fantastic place to live and raise children.
This is El Salvador's leading museum. It covers the archaeology, history, anthropology and crafts of the Salvadoran people. Exhibits range from pre-Columbian stone carvings and pottery to contemporary farm implements.
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 9am-5pm
MARTE is the popular acronym for the Museo de Art de El Salvador. It is a big, modern art gallery wth a permanent exhibiton of paintings and scupltures by El Salvador's leading artists, including some fine paintings by Raúl Elas Reyes. The Salvadorans, perhaps inspired by Dali, really seem to have taken to Surrealism.
In front of the museum is the massive Monumento a la Revolución.
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm