Day 2: sub-tropical cloudforest, coffee, bees, and traditional intag self-sufficiency.For the second day, we often visit Patricia's mum's farm, which is about 4 miles down the Intag valley. It's a beautiful spot beside the Cristopamba river, and it's fascinating to experience how different the climate is just by travelling such a short distance - from temperate cloud forest to sub-tropical in minutes, with a corresponding sharp change in the vegetation and food crops.
Not far from Patricia's mum's farm, a fine walk along a rocky, wooded stream with abundant palms and other luxuriant foliage along its banks, takes us to a secluded 25metre waterfall on the family property. There's an opportunity to bathe under the fall, and many visitors report feeling wonderfully invigorated by the experience.
Back at the farmhouse, Patricia serves a delicious, organic and home-produced lunch in the traditional kitchen (which is more of a cottage "factory" than a kitchen as we would know it), and there is a chance to look around the family orchards and crops (avocados, coffee, bananas, yucca, sugar cane, bee honey and many more) and later to visit a bathing pool in the Cristobamba river for a dip in the clean, cool water, or to try your hand at trout fishing. Later, visitors can see demonstrations in one or more of: basket-making, the grafting of avocado trees, sisal production, and see how crushed sugar cane is pressed to produce a delicious drink, and then evaporated to make sugar. For those interested in seeing how coffee is produced in Intag, we offer a demonstration, which includes harvesting, removing the pulp, toasting, and grinding.
Return to the guest house is usually along the San Antonio road. Many visitors love the warmer, semi-tropical feel of this farm, and opt to spend the night here, and a further day. We feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy such diverse climates, vegetation and wildlife (upper montane, temperate cloud forest, semi-tropical cloudforest) all within a few miles of each other, so that they can be accessed on foot, on horseback, or in a vehicle.
Duration: All day
Difficulty rating: Easy
Clothing/equipment: rubber boots(provided), hat, insect repellent, camera.
Cost: For those staying at Finca San Antonio: - We'd appreciate a tip (optional) for Melchor, one of Patricia's brothers, who is brilliant at organising the demonstrations and helping with baggage etc.
For day visitors: $20 per person, to include lunch.