central america, el salvador

Travel Tuesday: Tazumal Ruins

closeup of tazumal ruin

like a local info2

There’s something unnerving about wandering around areas which had been colonized and ruined long before you or anyone you know had ever been born. It’s especially humbling when you realize, even with masterful use of the internet, you could likely never recreate these massive temples. As we walked through the humble Mayan ruins of Tazumal in El Salvador these feelings were strong despite numerous unappreciative comments scattered throughout TripAdvisor. Having never been to the Yucatan peninsula and its myriad, epic ruins, the Russky and I were more than enthralled by the mini-ruins.

The area was inhabited by natives from the start of the BCE until sometime in the 1200s, unsettled by Spanish conquerors and lured to a larger settlement to the west. The Tazumal ruins were excavated in the 40s and 50s – most of what was recovered (and what you can see while visiting) are dated from 250-900 CE. Over 1,000 years ago! That’s an incredibly hard fact to process and, frankly, if you’re so unimpressed as to write a ‘meh’ comment online, I don’t think you’ve got a romantic bone in your body. Because there is something romantic and tragic in a civilization fallen by the wayside only existing to be explored by half-hearted tourists.

Let’s put that into perspective, shall we? In that time, Moscow was at best a minor trade town on the side of the river. In Virginia, Native American tribes flourished through the area, but lived very simply in comparison to the grand machinations of the Central American tribes.

That something stone and made completely by hand is simply mind-blowing, even if it site does only take 30 minutes to wander through.

tazumal main ruins

moss at tazumal

tazumal museum

exotic flower

Tazumal Mayan Ruins
$1 for El Salvadorians $3 for foreigners
To get there: From San Salvador take bus 202 from terminal del Occidente. From Santa Ana take bus 201 from the central market. Both are about $1. Ask for las ruinas or simply Tazumal.

Linking up with Kiki, Sammy, and Van for Travel Tuesday.

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  • Reply Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor July 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    It is quite amazing when you think about other cultures and societies at the time – like Moscow just being a minor trade town. Very interesting!

    • Reply Polly July 2, 2014 at 2:16 am

      Isn’t it? Mind blowing!

  • Reply Kaelene @Unlocking Kiki July 1, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Wow what an amazing culture to get to experience a look into.

    • Reply Polly July 2, 2014 at 2:16 am

      It was amazing, despite what nay-sayers would suggest!

  • Reply Van @ On the Road again July 1, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    This is so impressive and so old!!! I would love to visit such a site one day.

    • Reply Polly July 2, 2014 at 2:17 am

      I know you don’t like the heat, but you could stop by for a little bit and soak up the culture :)

  • Reply Marielle July 1, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    I love seeing ruins from hundreds or thousands of years ago. It’s so mind-boggling. Makes me kind of sad that we won’t leave any such relics for future generations – cool stone things built by hand I mean. It’ll all be skyscrapers etc that’ll probably get torn down and replaced.

    • Reply Polly July 2, 2014 at 2:18 am

      Have you seen that TV show ‘Life After People’? I’ve only seen parts of several episodes, but it’s fascinating to see what might be left of our current civilizations.

  • Reply Amanda @ Rhyme & Ribbons July 1, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    What an amazing thing to get to see! And I completely agree with Marielle’s comment!

    • Reply Polly July 2, 2014 at 2:18 am

      It was so cool – a must-see!

  • Reply Sammy July 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I love this. It’s hard to wrap your mind around such magnificent history like this.

    • Reply Polly July 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      I’d love to see more and repeat the experience!

  • Reply Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage July 2, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    This sounds so cool! I would be impressed, I love to think about those civilizations that were there before us and the history of it all. People are so weird, why even bother to go and then write comments like that…they are not using their travel time wisely!

    • Reply Polly July 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Seriously! It was about a 30 minute, 50 cent ride from the city and a nice little area – who could even complain about that?!

  • Reply Camila July 4, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I’m the exact same! I love to wander about the grandiosity of decrepit buildings who must have stood so proud and tall once, so long ago that I can’t even imagine! I can’t believe some people are unimpressed by stuff like that!

    • Reply Polly July 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      I hope I never travel enough to get that jaded!

  • Reply Danielle @ The-Lifestyle-Project July 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Looking at ruins that are so solid in stature make me feel small and humbled as well. I wonder how I would’ve fared if I was born during that time! Did you end up going to Tikal? Sadly I got super sick and wasn’t able to make it, but I did explore Caracol in Belize.

    • Reply Polly July 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      We didn’t make it to Tikal, sadly! We didn’t have time to try to get there ourselves and the guided tours were OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive. Would have loved it though :/

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