Today is a rainy day, so perfect for going through photos and writing about trips. I’m sitting at home with a cup of tea and listening to Lorde while I go through some photos from last year’s trip, that I said I’d share and write about.
This post is dedicated to the day trip we made to El Tazumal. El Salvador has a couple of major archaeological sites, one of the El Tazumal, which I believe may be the largest. It’s in an area/village called Chalchuapa, in the department of Santa Ana.
We headed out from the capital in the morning, as part of our road trip. First stop was Los Chorros, which is a natural spring water park near the capital. I had grown up with my dad telling me stories about it, so we stopped by really quickly. I paid my entry fee, we went all the way to the pools and I jumped in with my clothes on. The water was amazing, a little cool, just perfect. We did go to Joya de Ceren as well, but that’s another story.
The drive to Tazumal was around 45mins-1hr. The road in sections was a little bumpy, but it’s a pretty straightforward drive. Anyways, we arrived. We found a parking spot near the entry and parked. The street is lined with so many artisan markets, it is overwhelming. Near the entry to the archaeological park, there is a bust of Che Guevara as he visited the ruins in 1954. For the locals who fought against the oppression and continue to fight, he is a hero.
The entry is the park is around 3USD from memory. Not very expensive. It is very impressive to walk in and see the ruins – it is not huge compared to other pyramids, but still very incredible. The structure had been damaged over the years, some damage caused due to some earthquakes. The keepers maintain the area, and it is very clean. You can have a picnic here too, there are some tables for those who’d like to spend time in the place where human sacrifices used to be made.
The main pyramid is closed off and you cannot reach the top. There is however, a small set of stairs on the right where you can go up and get a closer look. The stairs are narrow, and high, so you have to be careful descending, as your foot may not fit (too big) on the step.
We had a walk around the whole area, it was such a beautiful day as you can tell from the photos.
At the end of the walk, make sure you go to the museum. It’s small, but has a lot of information and even some items that had been found during archaeological digs in this area.
As we were walking out, I heard a really cute bird noise, turns out it was this little one right above me (see image below). I think this bird is called a Chiltota. One thing I love about ESA is the variety of animals, especially birds – all so beautiful.
After our visit, we walked around the street for a bit, hitting the markets. We entered a shop that was run by a couple of women. Their shop was small, but beautifully detailed! They had handmade Mayan masks, chains, figures etc.
We decided to get a few souvenirs from them – I believe in supporting women like them, they could be single mothers supporting their whole family, which is very common back home. I didn’t ask them about that, but they were very kind and accommodating. One thing that is common to buy or look up is your Mayan calendar symbol. You tell them your birth date with year, and they can look up the calendar and tell you what animal or force of nature that corresponds to your birth date. We ended up buying one for each member of our family! Our figures were hand made in their little workshop, all made out of local jade.
My symbol was “TOJ”, or offering. They give you a little card with a description of the person born on that day (think of horoscope). I found mine to be very accurate, even the negatives!
If you do get to go to Tazumal, I hope you enjoy it – it’s a beautiful area and don’t forget, you’re supporting the local community and the maintenance of heritage in the area.
As a funny note, below is a photo of me pretending to have my heart being ripped out as a human sacrifice, similar to what the Mayans used to do 🙂
If you are looking for more information, the local government website is below: