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Friday, May 23, 2014

Day by Day in El Salvador Day Seven San Vicente

A visit to San Vicente province and the Lower Lempa River Region (Bajo Lempa) to
learn more about the work of CRIPDES and CORDES there and for an eco-tourist boat tour
through the Bajo Lempa river estuary, its mangrove forest, and the cooperative cashew
orchards on Montecristo Island.
from Tour Builder

school students in San Vicente area

Our tour right now shows us staying at least three days in the San Vicente area. That will probably change. We had two 'work' days scheduled for this area however I think we will be switching one day to spend more time exploring the eco-tourism opportunities in this area. The other may day should become a beach day - can't come all this way and not spend some time at a local beach spot!

This is an area we haven't visited for a few years and i am very excited to be returning. There is a noticeable difference between this area and San Jose las Flores and its time we spent more time in these communities.

There is no question that San Jose las Flores has a very strong community network with international ties through Sister Cities that go back to the war years. I have not seen the same thing in the San Vicente area. Having said that, this is an amazing area with all sorts of great places to visit and wonderful people to talk to.
Over the years we have spoken with high school kids, teachers, community organizers and local entrepreneurs. We have stayed in eco-tourism resorts, visited cashew plants and have toured the mangrove forests bordering on the ocean.

the cashew factory in Bajo Lempa area

We are now planning at least two days in this area - a day to meet with local CORDES and other community groups and another day to take in some of the eco-tourism spots in the area.

Here is what I wrote about the area in 2005:

Funding has provided support for the development of local products including gourmet
cheese, organic fruits, cashews and sugar. Community supports include an eye clinic, a
water purification plant that provides good drinking water to the community, biological
pesticide control and a biogenerator that provides methane gas for cooking.
The community has also developed a fishing co-op that seeks to return a greater share of
the profits to local fishermen. Training has also been provided on filleting and salting
processes. CORDES has also supported the development of an eco-tourism facility -
Hostal Lempa Mar.

Hostal Lempa Mar consists of four cabins that can sleep three persons each. The hostal is
located on the Lempa River and offers and excellent restaurant where visitors can enjoy
local produce including red snapper taken from the Lempa. Apart from the peace and
serenity of the Lempa, this facility also offers kayaking and boat rides on the Lempa.
During the week, these same boats are used by the fishing co-op.

Profits from the Hostal stay in the community and all employees of the Hostal are
members of the local community. Plans are in place to develop hiking trails in the area
and it is hoped that Hostal Lempa Mar will soon be able to promote to the international
community through the Internet.

fishing on the Lempa

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  1. would be interested to hear about how the eco-tourism projects are going. Honduras (where I am writing from) partner organizations are interested in launching and developing similar projects, but it seems they need expertise from those who understand how to make ecotourism work, create jobs and contribute sustainably to the economy. Here, the govt is allowing in big companies to develop mega projects which line the pockets of a few, damage the environment and exclude local people.

  2. CORDES is the group that is probably involved in the eco-tourism project. I will find out more when I get down there. CORDES is a partner with CRIPDES, a former D&P partner.