After the enjoyable hike of the day before, I decide to hit another backroad from Juayúa, to the Laguna Verde. I now find myself climbing almost all the time, at times steeply, up a road that is sandy, but at times also covered with stones. Other than a few farms, I again find no one else on the way to the north, until I walk through Talapa, and eventually reach a surfaced road which takes me directly to Laguna Verde. The last stretch is a steep descent: this is a volcanic lake, and its walls are almost vertical. I have read that it is good for your health to bathe in the lagoon, but when I reach the shore, I find a sign saying it is forbidden to do so. Do the locals keep this healthy water to themselves? Instead of dipping in, I lie on a bench, enjoying the sunshine. Some youngsters are playing music in one of the small boats: this is not the silence I had expected.
After an enjoyable break at the lagoon, I work myself up the steep road, and find the beginning of a shortcut that will take me directly to Apaneca, or at least, that is what the map on my phone tells me. I walk along a very narrow stretch with what must be yet another volcanic crater on my right hand side, and have views on both sides, before I continue in the forest on an established road covered with black stones. The road turns right, and I continue, and before I know it, I am struggling to push myself forward through a coffee plantation. When I eventually find another track, I am sure I am on the right track, until I reach a big, closed gate. I hear two women talk, and run after them to ask for directions, but whatever they indicated, I cannot find it, so I follow a trail running down through the immense coffee plantations, assuming that somewhere, it must end at a road. Eventually, this turns out to be the case, and then, it is an easy walk to the colonial streets of Apaneca.
Apaneca is the highest town of El Salvador, and known for its winds (the name means "river of the wind" in the local language Náhuatl) which are supposed to make it a chilly place, but after coming down from the higher mountains at over 1700m, the breeze feels pleasant to me. It does not take long to walk around town, which turns out to be very quiet. I see women sitting at corners with a selection of fruits around them, waiting for customers. At the far end of the streets, I see mountains covered in coffee plantations, with regular squares shaped by plants. This view is also represented on the brightly painted murals that adorn some of the houses in town. After criss-crossing the streets of Apaneca, and enjoying an ice cream at the small marketplace in the centre of the small town, I head to the Ruta de las Flores to catch a bus to Ataco, further west on the Ruta de las Flores.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Apaneca (El Salvador). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Apaneca. Read more about this site.