Top choice in Western El Salvador

In the K’iche’ language Tazumal means ‘pyramid where the victims were burned.’ Archaeologists estimate that the verdant 10-sq-km Tazumal area – much of which is still buried under Chalchuapa’s housing – was first settled around 5000 BC. The latest works, inaugurated in December 2006, restored the original stone-and-mortar construction of much of the ruins. A chain-link enclosure prevents visitors walking on the pyramids, but their close proximity to everyday Salvadoran life connects the site to the present in a powerful way.

A museum displays artifacts that show active trade as far away as Panama and Mexico, with explanations in Spanish. Other finds, including the Estela de Tazumal, a 2.65m-high basalt monolith inscribed with hieroglyphics, are at the Museo Nacional de Antropología David J Guzmán in San Salvador.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Western El Salvador attractions

1. Casa Blanca

0.64 MILES

Across the highway from Chalchuapa town center and the Tazumal site sits Casa Blanca, home to some Preclassic Maya ruins set in attractive woodland. An…

2. Iglesia El Calvario

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4. Teatro de Santa Ana

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5. Catedral de Santa Ana

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6. Parque Nacional Los Volcanes

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7. Finca Santa Leticia

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