We selected this tour because of its zip line and to see how a coffee plantation is maximizing its resources into what I call “Agri-Entertainment” where a working farm finds other ways to add to its income. This location was the Filadelfia Coffee Plantation and in addition to coffee production, from the growth of the beans through the packaging of the final product, they offer the zip line, horseback riding, a nice restaurant, and probably more that we didn’t see. The distance to just about any activity from the port city of Porto Quetzal is considerable, and even though we’re here for a long day, time is a consideration. We liked the zip line that the shore excursion was offering. It is 7 platforms, the braking at each platform was handled for you which is a first for us (used to doing it ourselves and hoping each time to get it right!), and above all, transportation to the actual zip line from the point where you arrive at the plantation is by vehicle, so the time there wouldn’t be spent in long hikes to and from the zip line’s beginning and ending stations. However, the trip up the mountain to the highest station is a rough one, with very steep inclines and rough roads which might concern some.
What we weren’t prepared for was how cold it would be! At the port the temperature, even at 8 am, was 95 degrees; we took rain jackets as a precaution, but even when we reached the plantation (a little under 5000 feet in elevation) and found it only slightly windy and cool, we weren’t terribly concerned with warmth. We should have been, along with the rest of our little group (8 people; the rest of the people on our bus of 32 were going to the coffee tour at the same location) as only one person took a sweat shirt up to the zip line with her. The rest of us left our jackets on the bus; it's difficult to manage the zipline's equipment and anything extra to carry and extra clothing seemed, at that point, one more thing to manage. So we were pretty cold! The wind was really blowing up in the trees; standing on those platforms waiting our turns was a chilly process and no one was shivering from nervousness; it was the cold! Wear something warm when you go! But this was a really nice zip line experience; the tour operators were excellent and the travel between the stations was varied in length and steepness so we had a nice variety of runs. A very nice sack lunch (large roast beef sandwich, chips, cookies, boxed fruit drink) awaited us at the end, with a lovely patio where we could have enjoyed it, but it was just too cold, so we all opted to climb back onto our vehicle, lunches in hand, and return to the base where we could find a warmer (but still chilly!) table outside on the restaurant patio, with access to the bus to get our jackets. We saw those who had opted for horseback riding go past, trying to keep their horses from nibbling at the vegetation along the path, and those from our own tour who had visited the coffee tour seemed to have enjoyed their visit as well.