Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The falls, Veracruz and Coffee plantations

It seems like I've always wanted to visit coffee plantations. I manufactured an allure not only of the the beans on the plant, but of the whole area around the plantations. Humid environments filled with strange plants, insects and animals covering vast distances seem haunting. A few days a go I got the chance. I was already in coffee country staying in Xalapa Veracruz. Yes, the city offers dozens of places to zip the elixir, but it does not give you much of an insight as to how it is grown or harvested. Luckily the area surrounding the city is filled with plantations. Xico Veracruz is 14 miles away and not only is it covered with plantations, it also houses beautiful Texolo Falls (below)

(Please click on image to view larger)
The trip there required a local bus. The bus drove through pave roads, dirt pathways and a few small towns. From the information we had gathered (me and my friend Javie) we would have to get off the bus at the entrance of Xico and walk a few miles more to get to the falls.

The allure of the walk there was the coffee plantations along the way. Plantations that along with bananas trees seem to live together like perfectly behaved relatives. Ohh but who can forget views of the hills and valleys as we immediately walked away from civilization.

Harvesting season seem at its peak. Coffee beans blushed in the shade while a myriad of banana and other trees others provided cover from the sun.
(Phone picture of the beans as they come from the plant and what they look like if you remove the outer layer. Before toasting of course.)
A long and desolate cobblestone road led the way. Bordered by coffee plants it was host to the occasional machete-carrying worker returning from a laborious day.
The road seem long, but never one bit less haunting or fascinating as I once had imagined.
After about an hour of walking, the cobblestone road ended at the top of a beautiful view of Texolo falls. While walking around however we found a small almost unmarked path. A path carved and put together by one man who wanted to give the daring a better view of the lower falls. It was getting late, but ofcourse we took it. The view is the first you saw on this post and of the video below.
The way back revealed more of the roads charm. Small time farmers cut old banana tree trunks from with in the plantations and loaded them in to a truck. These dying but not dried trunks serve as cow feed.
He'd disappear in to the greenery machete in hand. Moments later he'd come out only recognized by the sound of branches moving until he was clearly outside the brush.
The day ended with a long walk back, the sun hitting the horizon, more banana trunks and a couple more machete-men utilizing the last glance of sun to light their way back home.

(short video of the last few steps leading to the lower falls section)
Better version of the video HERE

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