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Daytripper: Cantel’s Copavic

Daytripper is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on day trips within easy reach of Xela. This September 2010 issue is about the glass factory at Cantel. By Steve Mullaney.

While the Tortix bags and Agua Pura Salvavidas bottles will ultimately end up strewn about on the side of the road, a better fate awaits glass bottles. The large bottles of Gallo and Cabro fame get reused and filled with more of the beer we love so much.  But, what happens when the bottles finally outlive their usefulness or someone drops them on the floor? This month’s daytripper, to the glassblowing cooperative Copavic, features one group’s innovative turning of trash into treasure.

       Copavic is located in the Fabrica neighborhood of Cantel, just outside of Xela. While you could certainly arrange a cab ride, your best bet is to catch a bus (Q2.00-2.50 depending on the ayudante) headed towards Cantel that leaves from the terminal on 7 Calle in Zone 3.  (NOTE: Not all buses to Cantel go past Fabrica.  Make sure to ask when you get on).  Getting off of the bus, Copavic will be on your right-hand side.  Should you get lost, their very friendly secretary can give you directions if you call 7763-8038.

       If you would like to take a tour you need to arrive between 8 AM and 12:30 PM on Monday through Friday or 9:30 to 11:30 AM on Saturday. You will start out with an informative video that explains the history of Copavic and the processes that go into glassblowing.

       Next, it’s onto the floor and you’ll watch dozens of men with long poles suck in molten glass and exhale beautiful cups, vases and bowls. You will likely find yourself mesmerized by the entire process and spend far more time watching than you intended. Unfortunately, during this part of the tour you aren’t allowed to talk to any of the workers; nor are there any classes or opportunities to learn how to blow your own glass.

       The tour concludes in the gift shop where you will be able to purchase many of the same things that you saw the workers make. You will want to bring somewhere between Q50 and Q500 along with you, depending on how much glass you are hoping to bring back home. If you are purchasing a ton, make sure to put a towel or two in your backpack to provide extra cushioning for the bus ride home.

       Outside Copavic you’ll find a bunch of comedores and other street food for a post-trip snack. Ideally, this can be both a fun morning and give you that special something to take home to your parents.

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