Cerro Verde

By James Johnson at August 24, 2005 23:41
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After a day of resting, we ventured back into the mountains. This time we traveled to Cerro Verde, home of the Los Volcanoes National Park. It was a beautiful drive up the mountain with great views of Santa Ana and San Salvador on the left and, Lago Coatepeque on the right. The weather was cool and breezy with large puffy clouds and thousands of brightly colored butterflies flying around. The butterflies are a common feature of El Salvador and we have seen a wide variety of them. Brown, red, purple, large yellow ones, and small blue ones. I wish I had brought my entomology books with me. After driving up the mountain for close to 45 minutes we reached the gate, only to be told that the park service had recently limited admittance to the park to 300 guests per day, and tickets were sold in Santa Ana. Mauricio spoke with the ranger and explained we were “Americanos” and visiting their wonderful country. It took about five minutes of negotiation, but finally the ranger agreed to let us in, after we gave him our names and places of residence.

It’s interesting that the government makes these changes – remember the Guatemala trip – and the citizens aren’t totally informed of them. A sign at the bottom of the mountain at least would’ve been nice.

We entered the parking lot and were greeted by several young Salvadorans, offering to give us guided tours for a fee. We talked to several of them and decided to go with Diego, a small, friendly 11 year old who told us he knew a lot about the park and would only charge us $0.25 per person. What an amazing little boy! He has confidence of an adult with the knowledge of an encyclopedia with the bright-eyed innocence of a kid. He was very serious during his talks, but would occasionally skip along the trail. As we started the tour we thought he had just memorized a script, but we soon found out we were wrong. He answered, in great detail, any question we asked. During our trip we asked what he wanted to do when he grew up. He answered with “be a biologist and work to save the forest.”

The trail was 2 kilometers, rose to 1500 meters and went deep into the rain forest. It was filled with bromeliads, ferns, large vines, tremendously huge trees, hundreds of birds and the ever-present butterflies. The rain forest is truly a sight to see as all things within it all live together symbiotically. Living in the city for 10 days, the peace and quiet of the forest was a nice change. Standing still, you could sense the energy of the forest and several of the pictures we took had the now familiar “energy orbs” in them.

The trail ended at a closed down restaurant. The restaurant was built on the edge of an active volcano, but the earthquake ten years ago severely damaged the building and there has not been enough money to make it sound. The volcano had been active since the 1700’s and Diego told us investors decided to build here as tourists liked to come and see the lava and flames. They felt this would be a good site to put the restaurant. However, the day before the restaurant opened, the volcano went dormant.

During our trip, a storm started moving in, so our view of the volcano was obscured by heavy cloud cover. Even though we didn’t get to see it, the entire trip was well worth it. Returning to the park, we stopped to eat and talk about what we had seen. As we piled into the van to start back downhill, the clouds broke and we were given the chance to see the volcano perfectly, complete with steam rising from its crater. We could see several people on the edge of the crater and were told they were geologists monitoring the volcano as it has started showing signs of become active once again.

Tommorow is a trip to Playa del Sol, about 2 hours east of Santa Ana, where the sand is yellow. We'll be staying at a private beach, where it costs $35 per person to get in and includes all food, drinks and sundries. Should be fun, check back soon.


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About the author

James James is a five time and current Microsoft MVP in Client App Development, a Telerik Insider, a past Director on the INETA North America Board, a husband and dad, and has been developing software since the early days of Laser Discs and HyperCard stacks. As the Founder and President of the Inland Empire .NET User's Group, he has fondly watched it grow from a twice-a-month, early Saturday morning group of five in 2003, to a robust and rambunctious gathering of all types and sizes of .NET developers.

James loves to dig deep into the latest cutting edge technologies - sometimes with spectacular disasters - and spread the word about the latest and greatest bits, getting people excited about developing web sites and applications on the .NET platform, and using the best tools for the job. He tries to blog as often as he can, but usually gets distracted by EF, LINQ, MVC, ASP, SQL, XML, and most other types of acronyms. To keep calm James plays a mean Djembe and tries to practice his violin. You can follow him on twitter at @latringo.

And as usual, the comments, suggestions, writings and rants are my own, and really shouldn't reflect the opinions of my employer. That is, unless it really does.

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