Juayua, El Salvador
Juayua Cascades Reviews
Juayua Cascades (Los Chorros de la Calera) May 19, 2011
"No, no, take some more!," Jamie says, leaning against the rocks of the falls, smiling and posing alluringly. As awkward as all of this is, there are surely worse things in life than having a 20-year old blond girl in an orange bikini ask you to take lots of pictures of her while she frolics in a tropical waterfall. I tell you, what I suffer in the name of art! What's even weirder is her mother, Karen, is standing right alongside me snapping photos of Jamie as well. The thing is, and I realize this quickly enough, Jamie probably doesn't trust her mom to take that one perfect, sexy shot she can get a copy of later and use on Facebook to make all of her friends insanely jealous. And I have to admit, if you're just out of your teen years and the Juayua Cascades are a backdrop in one of your photos, well... It's pretty damn epic. Guaranteed to both drive her girlfriends green with envy and interested boys red with lust.
This area, officially known as "Los Chorros de la Calera", is 1200 metres (almost 4000 feet) above sea level and encompasses many different waterfalls, chutes, man-made dams and natural pools, which flow through volcanic rock crevices and through hydroelectric power generators. Local Mayan legend tells that the falling water springs from where a gigantic, terrifying snake with the head of a pig named "Cuyancua" chooses to sleep. Cuyancua announces the rain and you can hear its growls during a storm coming from the depths of the jungle. These chutes all feed the Santa Lucia River.
I flip through the photos on my cheap point-and-shoot Canon, making sure I've taken a few choice semi-professional-looking images of Jamie to choose from. She hollers over the sound of the falls, "Did you get some good ones?!" I think to myself, "Wow, kid--it looks like they were torn from the pages of the 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition', what more do you want?" I nod with exaggeration so she can see because she certainly can't hear a thing with all that water running around her head.
Over the course of the past week, Karen and Jamie, along with Karen's sister-in-law, Jerry, have sort of adopted yours truly into their family. Which is fine with me, because it's easy to get bored as a solo traveller and it's just plain flattering to have three women take you in as one of their own. I also think that spending so much time together, they were probably driving each other completely crazy and needed to introduce a male element in order to balance things out a bit and give them someone new to talk to. Also fine. We signed up to do this "Buggies & Cascades Tour" together and the day has been a complete blast!
Covered with dirt, grime, and sweat from the dunebuggies portion of the tour earlier in the day, followed by a steep 20-minute walk down a rocky jungle hillside to get to this location, what a sublime sight these waterfalls and pools were! We all couldn't wait to get in the crystal-clear water and cool off. Refreshing? Oh yes, the very definition, dear reader. The half-hour walk back uphill to get to the parked tour bus? Something I don't want to think about right now. ...And if you don't mind, I'll also pretend there isn't a gigantic pig-snake lurking somewhere in the depths of these pools.
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