Two people exploring the world, seeking adventure & unique experiences.
Reptile Land in Juayua
If you read our last post on the blog for Juayua you would have seen the photo of Rodora with a snake around her head. The snake that we had around both of our necks actually came from Reptile Land which is on the same road in front of the church south until the road ends about 2 blocks away. The ethics of these sort of places is always a little questionable in my mind. I love being able to see these creatures up close, but when they’re caged and live such boring lives, it really is hard to understand. The entry cost is only $0.75 and the place is quite clean. For the most part everything was in empty aquariums with caged tops to allow in air. They had a huge variety of snakes along with some lizards and other reptiles. There were even some snakes and lizards from Australia. Not sure how they came to arrive in this place, but I do hope it was legally.
There is also a small outdoor area where they have a crocodile in the same enclosure as some turtles. There are also some iguanas and two chameleons. The chameleons were truly interesting and amazing with how they can rotate their eyes independently in all directions and mimic the colours around them.
The oddest part which I assume is fairly typical was watching a snake eat a live mouse. I know it’s the circle of life, but it was a little weird watching one animal eating another.
Juayua to Ahuachapan (Rutas de las Flores)
The Rutas de las Flores is a 45km road that joins Sonsonate in the south to Ahuachapan in the north. It’s known for its natural beauty and charming towns. The buses run frequently at around every 20-30 minutes in both directions between these towns. Juayua sits about 1/3 of the way North along the road and is one of the major stop over points.
Concepcion de Ataco for Coffee and Food
We took a detour and stopped off at Concepcion de Ataco for a coffee tour. We obtained some vague directions from a hostel; where we got off the bus at Ataco, crossed the road and went up the first big and wide road uphill. This led us to Finca El Carmen after about 5 minutes of walking. We arrived at the office and asked for a tour and within 5 minutes we were on our way with a guide who could speak quite good English, even though he said he didn’t. We were led along the process of coffee making from when it arrives off the truck through until roasting, grinding and packaging. All up it took about an hour and was actually pretty interesting. At the end of the tour we got to sample what they called their gourmet blend which was meant to be their higher quality coffee. I’m not sure what went wrong or whether their coffee just isn’t all that good, but neither of us would drink another cup. The coffee smelt amazing in the bag and all we added was a little sugar. Maybe it was just a bad day for coffee.
We then walked back into the actual town in search of a local Comedor for lunch. We went wandering through and saw the cross on the hill with a view out over the town and countryside. It was a 5 minute walk straight up the hill, but definitely worth it for the view.
After the cross we continued our search for food and successfully obtained another Fried chicken meal for $2 each. This town is also famous for its numerous murals on the buildings throughout the town. It’s almost like walking through an art museum with the colour surrounding you.
Tacuba & El Imposbile
We arrived into Tacuba around 4pm and weren’t particularly sure where to go. Rodora spotted some signs for Mama & Papas hostel. Note for others, take the bus up the hill as far as it goes because the hostel Is most of the way up the hill. We got settled in quickly and went in search of beer to enjoy from the amazing viewing platform at the hostel.
Mama’s & Papas
Just to clarify some conflicting stories we saw on Trip Advisor, this place is great to stay at and we would recommend others to stay. They were very welcoming and helpful. The animals/pets are friendly also, though the ducks can get a bit defensive of their personal space. The rooms are large, clean and have good hot water. Our room also had a large flat screen cable TV with a DVD player and a selection of DVD’s. They do offer dinner and breakfast at very reasonable prices and the food looked and smelled amazing. We are still budgeting our way around and they let us make our own coffee and have a bowl for granola in the morning without any problems. This was again the standard El Salvador price of US$25 per night for a private double. I do wonder if the government has set a common price for this or something like that.
This tour was one we’d read about online and it really was worthwhile doing. It was a little on the expensive side at $25 per person including transport and lunch. There were 4 of us in total, with 2 American’s also staying at the hostel also coming along. We departed at around 9am with a 1 hour ride in the back of a pick-up truck with the road getting really rough towards the end. We then hiked in for about 45 minutes to arrive at our first jump for the day.
Here’s a link to a video of Rodora jumping the first waterfall:
The idea of the tour is jumping from rocks into water in or near waterfalls following a canyon through the valley. I expect this tour varies greatly depending on the season and weather. We were here the first week of January in the middle of dry season. The water levels looked fairly low compared to what they had the potential to be. There was also an option to avoid jumping the whole day as one of our guides did. He was able to hold our valuables and also our lunch and a first aid kit without it getting wet.
The whole day was really a lot of fun and you could pick and choose what you were comfortable to do. I’ll admit, I don’t have a lot of fear, but there were a couple of jumps where there wasn’t much room for error and I paused for a minute to decide if it was a good idea. The water was fairly cool but with the sun beating down on us, it wasn’t long until we were dry again.
This was our second waterfall hike in 3 days and they both were fairly different. If you’re in the area and have the time and money, they are both definitely worth doing. They’re both run by good people and offer two fairly different experiences.
Plenty more to explore. Keep following the blog and our Flickr account for updates. http://www.flickr.com/photos/toraadventure/