The idea of heading home without one more adventure made me sad. We were in a region where adventure was easily accessible through safe methods, so while we were at Manzanillo I messaged Jupiter to see if he had availability to take us on an adventure on Wednesday. Thankfully, he did!

So it was 6 am after a day of eating all the food, and we had to wake up. It's dark until 7 am but the birds start singing at 6:30am, which helps me wake up easier. Ready to go and packed with a lot less than we took for the volcano tour, we headed out. We went to a small village of La Yerbabuena and had breakfast at the local cafe. On the way to the cafe Jupiter told us about the history of coffee in Mexico, specifically Colima. A lot of the land was once a monopoly but a good portion has been divided out from the hacienda and given back to local farmers, resulting in 15 different brands of coffee from the region (if I remember correctly). There's a giant hotel for extremely exclusive guests in the area, like Madonna, which surprised me because there is nothing around that I would expect city people to want. Then again, maybe that's exactly the reason to go; disconnect and relax. Breakfast and the chocolate drink we had (essentially hot chocolate) was delicious. From there we headed through the local farming area to check out an avocado plantation. Plantation access is extremely hard to get with the cartel targeting avocado farms because they want them, but that is why you go for guided hikes! Guides have access to places you wouldn't otherwise be able to go, and all the local knowledge that comes with it.

Leaving the cafe you can see the volcano. The active volcano looks drastically bigger than the dormant one as we were so much closer to the active one on this adventure. Jupiter pointed out where the volcano was and the rocks that had been thrown from the volcano on its many eruptions. He made a special stop to show us a photograph a local photographer had taken when the volcano was incredibly active (from 2013-January 2017). The photographer had stopped for coffee before he ventured toward the volcano, and it erupted as he approached. If he hadn't stopped for coffee he would have been toast! The photo he took that day was absolutely beautiful and powerful. It's hard to make out in my photos, but you can see the photo and then the shed in the background verifying that we were in the same location.

We did some road walking to make sure we didn't encroach on anyone's farm land, eventually reaching the avocado plantation. It was beautiful, if a bit risky of a place to live. We learned that they are trying a new method for packaging the avocados to help keep them from ripening during travel and hopefully reduce unsold avocados in the stores. Jupiter showed us fluff from a native tree that the indigenous people used to stuff their pillows with. It felt like cotton and was very soft. Softer than cotton filling even. I imagine it would have made very nice pillows.

We left the plantation and followed a trail that Jupiter and the farmers had made for the tours. It provided different but similar views to the ones we had seen walking up, but it was a great change. Loops are always more fun than out and back trails in my opinion. Jupiter gave us a coffee bean to try, straight off the coffee bush. It tasted nothing like coffee but it was very good; a little sweet even. We walked through the village and learned of the effects the volcano has had on it. After the 1913 eruption the soil was very fertile so the town flourished. Due to the proximity of the volcano and the inherent risk of living there, the government evacuated people following the 2013-2017 eruptions and now provides no schools or hospitals. Many of the residents don't own vehicles and would effectively be stranded in case of an emergency. But the town is clean and the houses look well cared for given that there are only approximately 27 residents living in the village.

To end the tour we headed to Laguna La Maria for a kayak. The lake exists in the crater of an extinct volcano and it is very green. You can see about a foot down and then everything is lost to the depths of the greens. The lake is stocked with tilapia, bass, and carp. It was naturally full of fish but prior to the big eruption of the Volcan de Fuego a giant release of gases killed off the fish. Jupiter was supposed to have a group kayaking there that day but upon seeing the lake orange instead of green, they decided against it. He said the fish from the depths of the 200 foot deep crater were huge.

There were people fishing, birds flying around, and ducks eating and lazing around. We saw a Mexican Flag Bird, named for the colours of the bird being the same as the flag. Jupiter is a birding guide as well and has lots of knowledge of the birds. Fernando and I got into the kayak and I decided I would help row because how rude would it be for me to just sit there? Well, I'm not an experienced rower and Fernando got irritated quickly. I took a break, helped some more, then took a break again. When we got to the far side of the lake we could see the tip of the volcano! Then, after a lap in the beautiful sunshine around the lake, we rowed back to shore. Jupiter packed up while I took photos and then we were on our way home. It was pretty perfect and, believe it or not, I relaxed more on this adventure than I did at the hotel in Manzanillo.

And, to make this even better, here are photos Fernando took and shared with me.