Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 110 - Santa Elena

Coffee and Sugar cane tour. We opted for a smaller family run and operated tour, rather than the larger corporate operations. Arriving at the plantation we were introduced to the whole family, buy Deigo, the eldest son. We set out on our tour, guided by Diego, after trekking up mountains to the coffee plants and how they are harvested we returned downhill to the farm to see drying and roasting process. All the coffee at this plantation is picked by hand.
The plantation also grows plantain, bananas, pineapples and oranges which are grown among the coffee plants.
The second part of the tour concentrated on Sugar cane, following the process until you have brown sugar, which is moulded into 1kg blocks and sold. We also got to see 'sac de guar' which is the liquor made from sugar cane. At the end of the tour we had the opportunity to make some sugary caramel concoction, Holly was first in line! 
This was followed by coffee and a local savoury pastries. On the journey to Santa Elena i thought i had just edged a lot closer to diabetes with all the sugar consumed, Holly was bouncing!
Returning to Santa Elena we embarked on a hike though the mountains to burn the excess energy, halfway through we discovered a frog sanctuary, very random.
That evening we went to a bar, having met the owner the night before (who also had a bike) we got some free drinks. Having smashed her sunglasses earlier, and in need of comfort food i introduced Holly to empinadas.


bananas and plantain 

holly harvesting coffee

beans before roasting


the ladies in the traditional ox pulled cart

how to make moonshine!!

a vat of caramel 

the caramel concoction

the moulds with 3kg of sugar 

holly loving the frog


  1. Nicely done, Joe. I'll bet you didn't know that "empanadas" actually has the word "pan" incorporated in it. I admire your wide interest in socio/economic/cultural aspects and not rushing through these interesting countries.

  2. I will be expecting a sloth as a gift on your return Joe!

    The adventure is definitely living up to my expectations. It looks amazing!