Sunday, December 7, 2008


Juayua is a amazing place- beautiful, peaceful, yet thriving and full of energy. Not only are people here free to walk in the streets at night, it's the norm. On the weekend the town hosts a food fair with hundreds of Salvadorean tourists coming to spend a relaxed Sunday sampling the feast. Juayua is one of the best coffee regions of the country and as we arrived by bus it looked like the mountains were blanketed in forest. Looking a little harder, it was actually all shade grown coffee plantations. It's about halfway along La Ruta de Flores, a stretch of road in Western El Salvador known for it's flowers and relaxed pace.

Our hostel, Hotel Anahuac, is owned by two local musicians and the backpackers coming to stay were of an interesting sort--sailing down the coast of central america, traveling from Brazil to Canada and other crazy adventures. We went on a hike to the waterfalls, where tunnels connect each of the falls. We walked through the dark tunnels, water up to our chests, feeling our way along the smooth walls. The water somehow took on the color of turquoise in the pinhole of light. We took the bus to a little town up the way and watched the old man marimba band play. A drunk yet entertaining old man dancing enthusiastically to the music, taking many bows. We found a hidden set of hot springs, following false leads but eventually running into a woman who thought her husband knew about them. We went back to her house and met with her husband to find out where to get off the bus. Then a long hike up a dirt road to find pools steaming and gurgling and then in a series of jade colored pools, surrounded by gardens and forest. The owner came out as we were soaking and let us know he'd like to keep the location a secret and asked us not to divulge the location of the hotsprings. Saturday night we headed down to the local reggae bar, owned and run by a young Salvadorean. His friend Carlos was playing old Cuban and Salvadorean songs on guitar. Some of the other Salvadoreans in the bar would sing with him and by the end of the night the whole bar was singing.

We keep meeting Salvadorians who have lived in the states-- freely talking about how much it costs to pay a coyote to cross the border and how difficult the journey is. And talking with a local, Mario, and his brothers about coffee production. Picking 25 kilos of coffee beans garners $1 and $5 is a daily wage for back breaking labor. We saw whole farms with coffee destined for Starbucks. Coffee and bananas here are not just foodstuffs, they change landscapes and cultures.

We stayed much longer in Juayua than we expected. Tomorrow, we head out early to catch buses to the Pacific coast of El Salvador. Maybe to surf...

1 comment:

Sandy B. said...

This place sounds amazing!!! The people, culture, land...lucky yous.