Choose between 4- or 9-hour options for your tour; either option includes hotel pickup in San Salvador.
Meet your guide and set off in a comfortable p vehicle. This archaeological tour includes the undivided attention of your archaeologist guide.
Please see the Itinerary section for full details of both the half- and full-day tour options.
Half-day option (morning or afternoon): After an approximate 30-minute drive, start with a tour of Joya de Cerén, an archaeological site known as the ‘Pompeii of the Americas.’ Learn fascinating facts from your guide about the Maya farming community that was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano around 600 AD. Recognized for its valuable contribution to understanding the pre-Columbian daily life of Mesoamerican populations, the excavation was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1993.
The next stop on your tour is the San Andrés archaeological site, another important vestige of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization from 600 to 900 AD. Visit the on-site museum, and view the pyramid and other structures used by the governors at this important ceremonial, political and commercial center. After the Spanish conquest, the site became a farm for indigo processing, and you can still see the preserved remains of an indigo mill that was buried by the eruption of El Playon in 1658.
Your half-day tour concludes with a drive back to San Salvador before you’re dropped off at your hotel.
Full-day option:In the morning, visit the archaeological sites of Joya de Cerén and San Andrés with your guide (see description above). After lunch at a local restaurant (own expense), you’re taken to the city of Santa Ana followed by the ruins of Tazumal and Casa Blanca.
In the afternoon, begin with a sightseeing tour of Santa Ana, the second largest city in El Salvador. Central to the country’s coffee industry, Santa Ana contains a grand plaza and plenty of cultural landmarks. Explore the colonial streets with your guide and visit highlights such as the neo-Gothic Cathedral of Santa Ana (Catedral de la Señora Santa Ana), the beautiful Santa Ana Theater (Teatro Santa Ana) and the national palace.
Next, drive to the town of Chalchuapa and visit the Maya ruins of Tazumal. This sophisticated and important settlement was at its peak from 100 to 1200 AD. Get a look at the largest pyramid in El Salvador before continuing to the nearby Casa Blanca archaeological park, which possesses a few partially restored pyramids.
Before you’re driven back to your San Salvador hotel, watch an indigo demonstration at the onsite workshop, which produces shirts, bags, shawls and other items of rich, blue hues made from the natural dye — all available for purchase.