Territory

Wonders of El Salvador

Izalco - volcano in El Salvador
Izalco. / Christopher Porter, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

The most interesting wonders of El Salvador are the numerous prehistoric cities (ruins of cities) scattered all over the country. Nearly unique is Joya de Cerén – a prehistoric city buried under thick layer of volcanic ash not unlike Pompeii.

Somewhat less known are the caves with traces of prehistoric settlements, with drawings and petroglyphs on the walls.

Country has high biological diversity and active volcanoes but nevertheless, there are few natural landmarks of international fame.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 24 wonders of El Salvador

Geological wonders

Chorros De La Calera

Sonsonate

Picturesque, wide waterfalls with many smaller streams flowing down along nearly vertical cliff.

Chorros De La Calera, El Salvador
Agua Agria

San Vicente

Geothermal field on the flank of San Vicente volcano. Here are located hot springs, fumaroles and small mud fountains.

Archaeological wonders

Joya de Cerén (Joya de Ceren)

La Libertad

Maya settlement, buried under 4 – 8 m thick layer of volcanic ash that was erupted by Loma crater sometimes around 610 – 670 AD. Buildings and home utensils have been preserved in exceptionally good condition and provide valuable information about the daily lives of people in this community. Even cultivated fields of maize, agave and other herbs have been preserved.

Joya de Cerén. Structure 12 in the forefront, with lattice detail - possible workplace of female shaman. Traces of mural reainin on its walls
San Andrés

La Libertad (El Salvador)

Ruins of an old settlement that was inhabited already at 900 BC. Served as a regional center of Maya in 600 – 900 AD. Impressive is Acropolis – a group of ceremonial and administrative buildings above the old city.

Acropolis of San Andrés, El Salvador
Tazumal

Santa Ana

This impressive, 23 m tall pyramidal structure was built by Pok’omame culture. In the vicinity of this structure are located other prehistoric monuments, including the 2.65 m tall monolithic carving named "Estela de Tazumal". This carving is adorned by undeciphered hieroglyphical writings.

Pyramid in Tazumal, El Salvador
Quelepa

San Miguel

Site of prehistoric settlement, most likely founded by Lenca people around 400 BC. Includes up to 10 m tall pyramids, ballcourt. Abandoned sometimes around 1000 AD. Interesting is Jaguar Altar – large, carved monolith.

Villa Rosita

Santa Ana

Prehistoric settlement, once important center. Abandoned sometimes around 250 AD after the eruption of Ilopango. Contains 13 m tall, circular pyramid, another 10 m tall pyramid and other structures.

Xualaka Cave

Morazán

Central site of the ancient Cacaopera culture.

Cihuatán

San Salvador

One of the major Mayan centers of late Classic period. Ruins of important buildings are grouped in the Western Ceremonial Center and Eastern Ceremonial Center, but the city extends in larger area, with different neighborhoods.

Casa Blanca in Chalchuapa

Santa Ana

Ruins of a ceremonial complex that consists of 6 structures. The largest pyramid is 15 m tall.

Unamá Cave

Morazán

Grotto with colorful petroglyphs – one of ceremonial centers for ancient Cacaopera people whose descendants still live in this area.

Gruta del Espíritu Santo

Morazán

Grotto with numerous interesting petroglyphs that were created by Lenca culture sometimes around 900 – 400 BC, or even earlier. According to the legends here was living forefather of all Lenca people. Most images show people, some drawings show animals and birds. Different techniques and colors are used.

Cara Sucia

Ahuachapán

Ruins of ancient city that was abandoned sometimes around 900 AD. City was founded by people who spoke in the precursor of Mayan languages. In the site are located several enormous, grass covered mounds that are not explored. Ruins of ball courts, temples, houses.

Las Marías

La Libertad (El Salvador)

A prehistoric city with several pyramids up to 8 – 9 m high. The only prehistoric settlement in the country with an ancient road that is similar to Mayan sacbé.

El Cambio

La Libertad (El Salvador)

Prehistoric settlement, last inhabited in 650 – 900 AD. Contains five pyramids that are up to 12 m high.

Tehuacán

San Vicente

Prehistoric settlement that was inhabited sometimes around 600 – 1400 AD. Contains large, 20 m tall pyramid.

El Carmen

Ahuachapán

Prehistorical settlement where have been found the oldest ceramics in El Salvador. Established sometimes around 1590 BC. Contains approximately 3 m high and 60 by 50 m large mound.

Architecture wonders

Santa Ana Cathedral

Santa Ana

Impressive cathedral in Neo-Gothic style, with ornate marble facade. Constructed in 1906 – 1959.

Santa Ana Cathedral, El Salvador
National Palace in San Salvador

San Salvador

Large public building in Neo-Classicism style, built in 1905 – 1911. Building has 105 rooms. Four rooms are used for the official receptions and each has distinct color scheme – red (for president and ambassadors), yellow (for president), pink (for Ministry of Defense) and blue.

San Pedro Church in Metapán

Santa Ana

Small, ornate church in Baroque style, constructed in 1736 – 1743.

Conchagua Church

La Unión

Interesting church in Renaissance and Baroque styles, constructed in 1693.

Dolores de Izalco Church

Sonsonate

Old church in Renaissance style, built in 1569.

Dolores de Izalco Church, El Salvador
Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo

San Salvador

An iconic national monument with statue of Jesus standing on the globe.

Ciudad Vieja, El Salvador

Cuscatlán

Ruins of the first capital of Salvador, the original location of San Salvador. City was established in 1528 and abandoned in 1545. Here have been preserved ruins of buildings, cobbled streets.

WorldYellow Recommended books

El Salvador Handbook


El Salvador’s roads are less traveled compared to other Central American countries, making for a destination that retains that elusive quality travelers often look for: adventure. From dramatic volcanic landscapes to blue-green lagoons, the bustle of San Salvador to the quiet wilderness of El Imposible National Park, this guidebook will help you make the most of your visit to this spectacular country.

Moon El Salvador


Moon Handbooks give you the tools to make your own choices.
– Can’t-miss sights, activities, restaurants, and accommodations, marked with M;
– Essential info on San Salvador, El Salvador’s resilient urban heart;
– Suggestions on how to plan a trip that’s perfect for you.


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