This was supposed to be my “farewell to Mexico” post. We were sitting on a beach in Mexico contemplating our eventual departure and then things got weird. We were within about a month of expiration of Moby’s tourist visa, aka temporary import permit. The new year brought an increase of 20% in fuel prices in Mexico. There were also fuel shortages with many gas stations shuttered and the ones that were open experiencing long queues. Rural areas were hit or miss as far as gas goes. We agonized over whether or not we should just make a mad dash for the border or return to San Cristobal to wait it out. Had we gone to our beloved San Cris, we probably would not have wanted to go anywhere or do anything owing to the uncertainty of fuel. A visit to the ruins of Palenque had been on the itinerary, but with a return of civil unrest in Chiapas, making a long drive to somewhere hot and with mosquitos and needing to navigate roadblocks to get there made that about as appealing as a root canal. Couple all of that with the uncertainty in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential inaguration, we made the decison to bail early on Mexico.
This was also going to be my “the road ahead” post, but now the road ahead is the road we’re on. I’m going to miss Mexico. Save a couple of nights in transit, Oaxaca represented the end of our time in Mexico. For now.
Oaxaca in particular felt like a crossroads. Most of The best of Mexico can be found in Oaxaca. Good Mexican food, Oaxaca has it. Beautiful beaches, check. Craft (nano) breweries, yep. And of course, mezcal. Oaxaca is also just about as far north as coffee is produced. We’ll be traveling through coffee country for the next several months.
We’ve already experienced the coffee in Chiapas as we had lived there prior to starting this trip. I loved that so many cafes roast their beans in-house. From here to Perú, we’ll get to experience some great coffee along the way. We have friends in Panama (Geisha coffee anyone?) as well as having a favorite cafe or three along the way.
So here we are in in the scenic area of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. There are coffee trees (bushes?, shrubs?) growing right to where we’re camped. There are as many cafes in the small village here as there are hostels. The tiniest of corner stores has some sort of artesenaly roasted coffee beans for sale. My limited research indicates that there aren’t really any craft beers brewed in Guatemala. Mezcal and tequila can only (legally speaking) be produced in Mexico. I don’t much care for rum, so coffee is what I’m going to be turning my attention to.
Mezcal, tequila and a thriving craft beer scene, I’m gonna miss you all terribly. Coffee, I’m looking forward to getting to know you better. If you happen to know any fantastic cafes on the road south of Guatemala, please do let us know. Is there a locally produced spirit other than rum that I should try? I’d love to hear about it.