The country of El Salvador is located on the extreme south of the Maya Region, but still has several ruins sites. All the sites are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Monday. All charge a small entrance fee.
San Andrés is a small Maya site just off the Panamerican Highway about 30 miles northwest of San Salvador. It has been excavated several times and the main acropolis is cleared. The Acropolis and the Great Plaza are now open to visitors. In addition, a 17th century indigo processing facility has been excavated and is also open to visitors. San Andrés has a site museum with guides, a snack bar and modern restrooms. There is a small entrance fee and a parking fee. The easiest way to visit the site is to take a tour, hire a cab, rent your own car or take a public bus.
Joya de Cerén is a popular site located a few miles from San Andrés, so the visitor can see both in the same trip. This site has the unique distinction of having been buried twice by volcanic eruptions. Because of the high level of preservation, this site offers insight into the agricultural based village that once existed there. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. Visitors must be accompanied by a guide in the ruins area, and there are both Spanish and English speaking guides. An on-going project is planting the park with the crops grown by the original inhabitants.
Joya de Cerén has a site museum, modern restrooms, and a souvenir shop. There is a small entrance and parking fee. As with San Andrés, the easiest way to visit the site is to take a tour, hire a cab, rent your own car or take a public bus.
Tazumal: The Mayan ruins of Tazumal are located in and surrounded by the modern city of Chalchuapa, in Santa Ana, about 45 miles northwest of San Salvador. Among the well preserved discoveries are tombs, pyramids, palaces, water drainage systems as well as a life-size statue of their god Xipe Totec, and a poorly preserved ball court.
Casa Blanca: The Mayan ruins named Casa Blanca (named for a nearby coffee plantation) are also located in Chalchuapa, quite close to Tazumal. This small park is on the northern edge of the city adjacent to a rural slum. Several pyramids have been excavated and partly restored by Japanese archaeologists, and there is a museum and rest rooms, but no food. There is a small entrance fee.
Cihuatán Archaeological Park: This is located in Aguilares, San Salvador, in the valley of the Guazapa volcano, about 20 miles north of San Salvador. The name Cihuatán means “land of the woman” in the native nahuatl language. It is believed that it was named Cihuatán because when looking at the Guazapa hills, they look like the silhouette of a woman lying down. Excavations here have demonstrated that Cihuatán was an urban city with a significant population and with large ceremonial centers. Up to now, 3 platforms in what was the city center have been discovered along with pyramids, palaces and playgrounds and many clay and ceramic artifacts.
The site is different than most in that it was founded after the collapse of the general Mayan civilization about 900 AD. It was inhabited for about 150 years when it was destroyed by fire and was lost to the elements until rediscovered by the Europeans.
The area currently open to the public includes a walled plaza with pyramids, ball courts and other structures. There is also a self-guided archaeological trail. Facilities include a site museum, parking area, snack bar and restrooms.