El Salvador has some modest but impressive Mayan sites. The Mayan village at Joya de Cerén [4], often called the “Pompeii of Central America”, was buried under ash from a volcanic eruption some 1400 years ago and remains well preserved. It is the only Mayan site where the everyday life of ordinary people can be seen. A plate found there shows finger marks and traces of food from an unfinished meal. Nearby San Andrés [5] was an ancient ceremonial centre and Tazumal [6], built around 500BC remained occupied until the Spanish arrived. At both sites, partially restored pyramids stand.


In Parque Nacionál Cerro Verde [7] we took a pleasant walk around the crater rim at 2000 metres. Volcán Izalco and Volcán Santa Anna were occasionally visible through the swirling mist. Local families were enjoying their Sunday off. Below lies the picturesque crater lake, Lago Coatepeque.


Finishing off with a couple of days at Playa El Tunco [8], a pleasant little surfers community on the Pacific coast we watched both local and gringos ride some big waves. Five kilometres east at Puerto La Libertad fisherman wait for a break in the surf, then race their boats in to be quickly winched up onto the end of wharf before the next wave crashes in.


We enjoyed our time in El Salvador and the Salvadoreños were some of the most friendly people we have met. Crossing the border into Guatemala at La Hachadura [9] we headed onto Antigua.


Mayan village house dug out of layers of volcanic ash at Joya de Cerén

The village sauna at Joya de Cerén

Decorated vessel

Bowl with crab motif

Large urn

Pyramids at San Andres

Temple San Andres

Torogoz, the national bird, with butterfly in its mouth

Temple at Tazumal

Pottery figure on a bowl

Bowl with spikes, representing the Ceiba tree

Decorated bowl

Volcán Izalco emerging from the mist

Salvadoreños don´t go on a picnic without the hammock

Volcanic Lake Coatepeque

Orchids on Cerro Verde

Orchids on Cerro Verde

Pupusas cooked the traditional way on a comal over a wood fire

Playa El Tunco

Surfing at El Tunco is world class

Lady selling fresh cashews and almonds on the beach

Surfers are still heading out at dusk

Reflections in the stream

El Tunco - the rock is supposed to look like a pig

Hauling up the fishing boat onto the wharf between waves

Fish for sale straight from the boat

Fish drying in the sun

Repairing the nets under the shade of coconut trees

The Ministry of Tourism gathered up all the gringos to film an advertisement on the beach