The Sugar Cane Train   10 comments

typical sugar cane truck, before cane-fill

It’s here again:  Sugar Cane season.   It’s always a gas to see trucks of all shapes and sizes brimming full of brown sugar cane sticks on highways and main ways everywhere.  The Cane, or Caña, as it’s called in Spanish is harvested from December – March, give or take a couple weeks on either end.  The harvest season lasts 4 months because plants mature at different rates, and also because there is so much caña you cannot harvest it all at once.

I want to share this post with you all because though I have witnessed trucks roaring past full of sugar cane since my first visit here years back, for the first time ever, this past weekend, I got to witness a MASSIVE loading zone where all the action starts.  There had to be about 30 tractor trailor trucks, all waiting in line, one after the other.  It was so impressive I made my husband stop the car so I could shoot it all.

First, I show you several trucks milling about on my left…it looks like a red truck party, doesn’t it?

This is a Sunday.  They’re all empty, waiting to get filled up with Cane.   We also noticed a group of 4 buses in one of the sugar cane fields.  We figure they must have bussed in people to work in the fields and they were hanging around for them to finish.  I don’t think they’re silly enough to put cane inside the buses.  So here is the train, below..

Still looking to my left, we see the beginning of the train about 6 trucks back...

Here's the one in front of where I'm standing....

Now we look to the right and see the long chain of tractor tailors waiting for the sweet stuff

The Sugar Cane Train keeps going.....

and going...


Some truckers make themselves at home while they wait. Two hammocks are strung up under this truck, I think it’s a clever setup.

…this picture could have been better, but I had to take it from inside the car, my husband started to drive away without me, no longer humoring the photo shoot

We drove off, the trucks and drivers of this sugar cane train riding off into the sunset behind us, and remarking to ourselves how many trucks there were, a lot of them double-carred.    And then, a full 4 minutes later….


Another “train” appears, with a good 15 more trucks!  I wondered if this was the same plantation owner or not:

Posted November 29, 2011 by El Salvador from the Inside in Living in El Salvador

10 responses to “The Sugar Cane Train

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  1. Have you seen the processing plant that is between San Vicente and La Litoral? Incredible during peak season! I joke that I hate to drive that stretch of road (which I need to to get to the airport to pick people up or drop them off) during the season because it is a bear to be stuck behind the very full, very heavy and very slow trucks. Thank goodness that the ‘rules’ are lax and we can pass on mountainous curves! jaja

    Thank you for your blogs. They are great.

  2. Kathy, thank YOU! This was so hot off the press and you read it right away. No, have not seen the processing plant, but we were on the Litoral highway west of Usulutan when I took these pics, so must have been near it. My husband did take me to a plant up near Aguilares a few years back, and I got to see trucks waiting to dump their load directly at the factory. We passed by you this weekend on the way to San Francisco de Gotera. Hope to meet you some time!

    • I’m up early every day and I’m a “fan” so I get an email when you post something new!
      Stop by sometime when you are in the ‘hood. We are right on the main road into town about 20 minutes up from Mercedes Umana. (on the left – there is a big circle picture on the wall of our building and Casa Pastoral is painted over the door). If you reached the high school at the turn off to Alegria, you’ve gone 3 blocks too far.

  3. I definitely will stop by when time permits. Nice hearing from you.

  4. Here’s a link to some photos about what the sugarcane workers might be going through inside the fields.

    The photos are from Guatemala but look like they were just taken the other day.


    • Mike, those pictures are astounding. Thank you so much for sending this link along, the readers will enjoy them. What’s amazing is how grateful the workers are to be making those $8 a day. That explains the buses we saw in that one field – there were 3 or 4 parked there on both Saturday and on Sunday – we passed by from different directions going to and returning from a weekend trip, so they must be bringing people in from all over for the harvest, like in Guatemala.

  5. Those places are amazing and if you happen to live close to one it will “rain” black ashes on you while they process the sugar.

    • Jennifer check out Mike’s link in the comment he made – it has some nice pics, and one of them has raining ashes!

      • Those were nice pics. I don’t know why the the raining ashes are so beautiful to me. We used to get it when living in San Miguel and I loved it. It was a bit unsettling to see the child field hands though. Since we are so close to the Honduras border, many workers from there come here to work the cane harvests, lured by the mighty dollar.

  6. I so enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for keeping me updated on my beautiful country!

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