Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site- UNESCO Heritage in El Salvador



Joya de Cerén was a pre-Hispanic farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano c. AD 600. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American populations who worked the land at that time. Listed in UNESCO World Heritage lists in 1993.


Located in La Libertad Department, El Salvador.

About Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site

  • A small farming community inhabited as early as 1200 BC, Cerén was on the southeast edge of the Maya cultural area. It was evacuated in AD 200 due to the eruption of the Ilopango volcano, and was repopulated no earlier than AD 400. It was, at the time of its final evacuation, a tributary to nearby San Andrés.
  • The circumstances of the volcanic event led to the remarkable preservation of architecture and the artifacts of ancient inhabitants in their original positions of storage and use, forming a time capsule of unprecedented scientific value that can be appreciated in present times.
  • This exceptional site also provides unique evidence of the characteristics that illustrate the continuity in ways of life and facilitates the understanding of the relationship between present people and past activities and beliefs.
  • Joya de Cerén archaeological site also constitutes a cultural symbol in El Salvador, where the past is linked to the present and plays an important role in human development of the region. The conservation and presentation of its significance and its values contributes to the cultural identity and sense of belonging generated by this cultural heritage.
  • The archaeological site is a unique window into the past that allows for the interpretation of the interactions between the ancient settlers and their environment.

Best Time to Visit

December is actually the best time to visit El Salvador, when the rainy season has just ended and the landscape is still green and the air clean and fresh.

About El Salvador

El Salvador is a small Central American nation. It’s known for its Pacific Ocean beaches, surf spots and mountainous landscape. Its Ruta de Las Flores is a winding route past coffee farms, rainforests with waterfalls and towns like Juayúa, with its weekend food festival, plus Ataco, home to vivid murals. The capital, San Salvador, with a dramatic backdrop of volcanoes, has numerous museums and the National Theater. This tiny country also offer: world-class surfing on empty, dark-sand beaches, and sublime national parks.


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