We decided to stay another day so we could go to a crater lake in a volcano and check out a coffee plantation in the same area. The lake is Laguna Alegria near the town of the same name. The rainy season is just getting started, so the water level was low. Of course it was three miles of uphill cobblestone and dirt mountain road like we were on the other day, and wet. After the ride around the lake and some lunch in Alegria, we went to Cartegena Coffee Plantation on the outskirts of town. We took very few pictures while there. The first machine is the drier, which is for light production. It can dry 25 lbs of beans in 20 minutes. The next machine is the grinder. They get one crop a year which will be ready in Oct, Nov, and Dec. After the walk around we drank some fresh ground coffee while enjoying beautiful views from the multiple decks overlooking the valley while being serenaded with love songs.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
Well hello again. Internet service in these countries exists but most of it is Internet cafes or really slow Wi-Fi so we got a little behind on the blog. We crossed into Guatemala and toured the north and eastern parts of the country. We were going to check out a beach town called Livingston, but it was only accessible by boat, which meant leaving the bike unattended and out of sight for a day or two in Rio Dulce. I was okay with that because there is usually armed security pretty much everywhere. The issue was the clown that wanted 600Quetzals for the boat ride. That is around $75US, when it only costs 400Q's($50US) for the water taxi. We scooted over to another town called Puerta Barrios to try to find a way across from there and it was a real shady port city so we just blew it off and rolled on towards Antigua. On the way there I made a detour to Coban in the central part of the country to look for some caves which we never found. Did I ever mention how the signs in these countries are either non existent or few and far between. It gets real nerve wracking in the cities. Anyway, we ended up in Antigua. A cool little colonial town with cobblestone streets and old Spanish architecture. I think I saw that it is a UNESCO World Heritage site also. We were told we would never find anywhere to sleep in our budget range of 200Q's($25US) so we were getting ready to ride out of town and this official tour guide named Marco comes up to us and says he knows of a$20US/ night hotel. I check it out and we stayed for two nights. It was over top of a coffee shop that specialized in Guatemalan coffee and they also let me bring the bike in after 9:00pm for the night. Gotta love it! We booked a tour for $10 to go climb a volcano the second day which was pretty neat, but they wouldn't take us to the crater because of it being too active and supposedly dangerous. This was the first time since we left the US and the safety nazis there, that there was any concern about safety of any type, anywhere. After our stay in Antigua, we moved on down the line to a beach town called Monterrico that has a big sea turtle protection program. We met a guy named Augusto that told us they buy the eggs from the thieves so they don't get sold at the markets. They protect and hatch them and put the back in the sea. They hatched 38,000 two years ago and 42,000 last year. The nature of the beast is that they figure only 7% survival rate compared to 1% naturally so they are making a difference. He guided us on a boat tour of the mangrove marsh at daybreak which was interesting to learn about. After we got back from that we loaded up the bike and headed for El Salvador, which required 25 minute ferry ride up river. After the border crossing, it took longer than it should have to find this national park called El Imposible which was 10 miles up a mountain and of course it was a dirt road with several sections of cobblestones that were larger than a softball and smaller than a bowling ball. Talk about hard to ride on. Did I mention the rainy season started in Central América? That's right, it was raining going up this mountain road too. Not only that, when we finally reached the top and luckily found a roof for the night, it rained for nine straight hours, all night long. Needless to say it was overcast in the morning and we couldn't see anything from the top so we had to head back down the nightmare of a muddy road. We headed straight for the Pacific and found a room for $20 on the beach outside of El Libertad, El Salvador where we stayed last night. Today while riding around, we accidentally ended up in San Salvador so we found our way out of there quickly and hit the mountain roads where we are currently in a hostal in Berlin, El Salvador. The only building here that wasn't destroyed in the civil war in 1985, protected by the hand of God, so they opened it up to the public. Pip,pip, Cheeri-O.