Panama Canal Transit – Puerto Chiapas

Our next port of call was our first in Mexico, Puerto Chiapas, the tour I chose for today was a Regent Choice Excursion, ie we had to pay extra for this tour USD109, to the Argovia Coffee Plantation about a 2.5 hour drive from the port. I decided on this tour because I enjoy coffee and thought it would be interesting to visit a coffee plantation and to try the local coffee.

CIA-004 COFFEE & NATURAL WONDERS
This agriculturally rich region of Mexico is known for its coffee production and today you’ll travel to one of the most beautiful valleys in Chiapas for a visit to Hamburgo, a magnificent coffee farm that is more than 100 years old. Here, you will observe first-hand how tradition and modern innovation blend together to form an interesting and harmonious agricultural mixture.

After a relaxing 2 1/2 hour drive through some of Mexico’s most spectacular scenery, you’ll reach Hamburgo. If you have ever asked yourself what is behind a delicious cup of coffee, today is the day you will discover all of this and more. As you walk through the coffee fields getting a first-hand look at this fragile but impressive ecosystem that the guardians of Hamburgo are entrusted with protecting and developing, you’ll learn about the fascinating and delicate cycle coffee undertakes from seedling to cup. Your guide will share with you how plants are selected and then nurtured through the seasons until the ripened fruit is ready to be harvested. You’ll observe how the coffee is cultivated here in these mountain highlands and even be privy to insider secrets on how to brew a perfect cup of hot coffee. Naturally, you’ll be invited to sample a cup of Chiapas’ finest as well.

At Argovia you will visit the greenhouse, with a variety of exotic flowers that are produced at the farm like; anthuriums, gingers, orchids, heliconias, among many others. Take advantage of this time to get expert advice to conserve the flowers.

Your visit includes a tasty lunch served at the coffee farm and free time to browse in a small gift store before it’s time to leave. As you make your way back to the ship, you’ll be treated to magnificent views of the tropical forest of the Chiapas Sierra Madre.

Please note: This tour includes approximately 5 hours of transportation and 2 hours of walking. The sites visited are not wheelchair accessible and therefore, it is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina.

Comfortable clothing, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellant and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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Unfortunately our guide on the bus to the plantation was new to the region, she was the Philippines, and had only started working for the company the day before, so she had not had a chance to study up on the region and the sites on the way up to the plantation, so we did not have as informative and interesting ride as we had in Costa Rica. This was not the fault of guide or Regent, but was due to the shortage of guides available due to the other cruise ship being in port at the same time, Argovia is one of the popular sites to visit near Puerto Chiapas. Our guide on the way back was excellent, she was the one on the other bus that was in our group, she had been working for Agrovia for a number of years and was a local, she made the trip back to ship a lot of fun and interesting.

We visited Argovia after the harvesting of the coffee had been completed so we were able tour the entire facility. Below is where they wash and sort the beans.

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Coffee Roasters

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Argovia uses water to drive the equipment instead of electrical power

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They use the drying method to dry the beans after they have been sorted and washed

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Vic was another of the Australian Guests on board and he took up the challenge to turn the beans

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One of the local bugs

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More of the equipment used to process the beans, including roasting and sorting the beans further

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The processed beans. Apparently one of the reasons why coffee prices have gone up is because the Japanese are now interested high quality coffee, a sack of high quality beans used to go for USD50 when we were there they mentioned that the price had gone up considerably, it was in the hundreds for the same quality of bean.

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Agrovia is also know for its flowers, which we viewed after a tour of the coffee facilities.

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After we visited the flower garden it was back to the Argovia office and to the restaurant behind the office for lunch and to taste the coffee. Unfortunately the coffee that was on offer was watered down and served from urns. Was expecting something a bit better, so decided to ask for a double expresso, which they seemed a bit surprised about but still they made one for me, it was not bad. If you visit Argovia I recommend you ask them to make your coffee how you like it!

Back at the ship some of the locals put on a bit of a show for us as we left the port1611 16151670

As my cabin was on the port side of the ship I was lucky enough to be able to watch the Pilot disembarking the ship

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The view of the beach on departure from Puerto Chiapas

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