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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Hellholes Ahuachapan, Ahuachapan, El Salvador, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 3:58am

Mona's knee is hurting, so we decided to skip the waterfall hike today and visit some hot springs instead.

This region of El Salvador has a lot of geothermal activity. There's a power plant that generates 15% of the electricity for the country from geothermal sources.

One of the effects of the steam welling up from the ground is a series of infernillos, steaming pits filled with water or mud that bubble or roar and belch out sulfurous steam. We went on a short walk to check out some of the most impressive of them.

Another effect is that there are hot springs in the area. We spent several hours of the morning at the private springs on a coffee plantation. They have a series of pools at different temperatures ranging from pleasantly warm to intolerably hot.

The plantation is beautiful and aggressively "ecological", with signs up everywhere about not spraying pesticides and where the compost goes. It turns out that that's because this is a model plantation that's shown off to visiting international coffee buyers. The name "Starbucks" was tossed around a bit.

After some more hammock lounging (made somewhat less restful by the fact that the hostal is currently doubling as a lumber mill), we had dinner in Concepción de Ataco.

We ate at a nice Spanish (not Latin American) restaurant where we were the only diners. They took a picture of us for their wall, which has scores of framed pictures of diners. I think this is my first restaurant wall picture. It's no signed movie still, but it beats a mug shot with a warning to throw me out if I show up again.

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