Price From $1,600.00 per guest

Belize

Feb 8 - 15, 2020
Class size 11 guests / trip

CACAO PRODUCER VISITED: Maya Mountain Cacao
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Light to Moderate
STARTING LOCATION: Punta Gorda, Belize
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE: 11 guests
DANDELION HOST: Greg and crew

Join Dandelion Chocolate for a week in the heart of historical cacao growing origins, as we explore how cacao is grown and processed, for both fun and education in Southern Belize!

Greg D, Dandelion Chocolate's Sourcerer, leads the Chocolate trip to Southern Belize with a combination of chocolate lovers, makers, growers, or chocolatiers (and their obliging accomplices). Not everyone who joins us is a chocolate diehard: previous guests have been agriculture enthusiasts or are simply curious about how food, in general, makes it to their plate. Whatever your background, our goal for the trip is to give a thorough understanding of how cacao is grown (specifically in Belize), an overview with some practical experience in fermentation and drying, and an appreciation for the history of cacao in Belize as well as a cultural understanding of the people living in Southern Belize.

You’ll stay near Punta Gorda at the Chaab’il B’e Lodge and Casitas, near Maya Mountain Cacao headquarters. You’ll see first hand how a small social enterprise in Belize ferments, dries and exports cacao. While there are some consistent aspects to these processes around the world, the details make all the difference between mediocre and incredible cacao. Learn how genetics and terroir are important factors,  but the final processing is truly an art form.

Plus, you'll experience it all in a truly incredible and beautiful part of the planet!

Wondering if this trip is right for you?

This trip is for people interested in learning more about the roots of chocolate, Maya culture, and spend some time in Belize. The lodge is comfortable but rustic. There are plenty of swimming, walking, and running opportunities. You'll be immersed in chocolate culture for a week so this trip is perfect for those interested in learning about the where chocolate has come from and where it is going.

Two months prior to the start of your trip the remainder will automatically be charged on the same credit card used now unless you call to request another payment method. If you have any additional questions, please email trips@dandelionchocolate.com.

PRICING AND ACCOMMODATIONS

The prices below include local ground transfers, accommodations, all meals starting with dinner on arrival night and ending with breakfast on departure day, all group sponsored activities, all taxes, and service charges (gratuity is included) and a 25% deposit, guaranteeing your space. This does not include airfare, alcohol or activities on the 'free day'. Guests are responsible for getting to/from Punta Gorda Airport where they will be greeted and transferred to the lodging (airfare to/from Punta Gorda is not included). Please review our cancelation policy and FAQ pages before booking your trip.

We will be staying at Chaab'il Be Lodge and Casitas for the week. These rooms are located on 26 acres of beautiful jungle, complete with a swimming hole and trails to explore. Preview examples of the accommodations available at Chaab'il Be Lodge and Casitas here. We will contact you about which arrangement of beds you prefer and will offer these on a first come first serve basis.

Private Single Occupancy Room

$2,225 for single person

Accommodations included:

  • A/C
  • Flat screen cable tv
  • A safe
  • Veranda to enjoy the gardens
  • Choice of full, queen or king sized bed - based on availability on a first come first served basis

Private Double Occupancy Room

$1,875 per person

Accommodations included:

  • A/C
  • Flat screen cable tv
  • A safe
  • Veranda to enjoy the gardens
  • Choice of one or two twin, full, one queen or king sized beds - based on availability on a first come first served basis

Private Triple Occupancy

$1,700 per person

Enjoy an eco experience without giving up your comforts. Each casita offers thatched roofed fully screened accommodations that include:

  • one single bed per guest (with mosquito netting)
  • ceiling fan
  • en suite bathroom with hot shower 

Shared Dorm Room

$1,600 per person

Enjoy an eco experience without giving up your comforts. Each casita offers thatched roofed fully screened accommodations that include:

  • one single bed per guest (with mosquito netting)
  • ceiling fan
  • en suite bathroom with hot shower

If you are a solo traveler, we will group you with up to 3 other guests. These rooms will be mixed gender but each guest will have their own bed. 

If you have any questions, please contact us at trips@dandelionchocolate.com.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

The itinerary below covers all currently scheduled activities. Please be aware, all plans are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, travel logistics or weather. We ask all guests to arrive with a flexible and open mind to these kinds of changes. Although all of these scheduled activities are optional, you will have additional opportunities to explore Belize on your free day. 

DAY 1: ARRIVAL

Meet in Punta Gorda, where you’ll be picked up and taken to our lodging at Chaab’il B’e Lodge & Casitas. Everyone will gather together and meet for the first time for a dinner at the lodge, hosted by Dandelion Chocolate's Chocolate Sourcerer, Greg D. He will walk guests through an overview of the agricultural side of chocolate making and a basic plan for the week. You will also be able to sign up for additional activities for your Free Day. 

DAY 2: FARMS AND CULTURE!

Walk with Eladio around his farm, see how an agro-farm is built and taste the delightful plants he grows. Have lunch with his family and learn to make the traditional Maya cacao drink. Dinner at the lodge followed by discussion about Fair Trade vs Direct Trade Cacao

DAY 3: SPICE FARM TOUR AND TRADITIONAL CHOCOLATE MAKING AT IXCACAO & DRUM SCHOOL

The day starts at 9:00am with a 30-minute ride up to the Spice Farm where the group tours and learns about spices like vanilla and pepper used to flavor chocolate. A wonderful lunch is served at the Spice Farm. Learn the history and culture of Cacao and try your hand at traditional chocolate making with a metate, a traditional stone grinder.

Dinner will be at the Warasa Garifuna Drum School. Learn about Garifuna drum culture and eat Huduit-the traditional Garifuna fish stew with root veg and plantain.

DAY 4: FERMENTATION, FARMS, HISTORY, AND FUN

Learn about Maya Mountain and how they work with cacao in Belize with a visit to their fermentary. In addition, we’ll visit their experimental farm where farmers get to try out different techniques to test their effectiveness (weather dependent since rain nullifies the “road” to the demo farm). Lunch at the lodge. In the afternoon, Nim Li Punit ruins. The site offers beautiful vistas, nice birding and has a lovely little museum giving the history of the site.

In the evening – Firehearth Cooking and Kriol Drumming – Dinner will be at the purpose-built thatch near Joe Taylor creek close to Punta Gorda Town. The group starts with a nature walk around the garden where they will pick and collect herbs, spices, and veg for dinner. Then, they move to the kitchen for a brief overview of firehearth cooking and assist with the food prep. Typical dishes include hot chocolate chicken, steamed mango fish, chaia greens stewed in annatto sauce and yellow ginger coconut gravy over cassava.

While dinner is cooking, the fun begins with a high energy drum lesson. 

DAY 5: XIBUN RIVER ESTATE CACAO & BLUE HOLE SWIMMING

Now that you’ve learned about farms, fermentation, and chocolate making its time to go deeper.  We’ll spend a few hours driving to a 400-acre farm established many years ago by Hershey’s to see what a larger scale farm/plantation looks like. While we are visiting Xibun we’ll stop by a Blue Hole for some swimming! Dinner back at the lodge.

DAY 6: FREE DAY

Use the day to do whatever you’d like to do. Pair up or go enjoy your solitude until dinner, which will be provided at the lodge. 

Free choices at the lodge – walk the trails, bird and howler monkey watching, take a swim at the swimming hole, use the wifi to update everyone on your adventures, learn to make corn tortillas with Chaab’il Be’s Maya staff.

Or we’ll set up an additional tour (not included in trip pricing) – learn to make tofu and tofu dishes with Gomier, or, join one of PG Tours offerings like snorkeling, Blue Creek Cave or the Rio Blanco Falls and National Park.

DAY 7: BELCAMPO

The morning is spent with the Belcampo chocolatier learning the science of fine chocolate making. After learning, you make your own chocolate bars. Lunch is at Belcampo. The afternoon offers a choice of activities around the lodge. For those interested in more chocolate, you can go to the farm and view the harvest, learning more about the preferred types of cacao for fine chocolate and how to identify it. For those ready for a break from chocolate(say it’s not true!), there are gardens to tour, a river to kayak and trails to walk. A special last dinner will be served back at Chaab’il B’e Lodge.

DAY 8: DEPARTURE

On the last day, we’ll say goodbye and depart from Belize full of cacao, new friends, and information :)

 

For a more detailed account of what our Chocolate 301 Trip is like, check out this blog post from Molly, an excellent wordsmith overseeing our communications, who attended the trip during her previous role as a chocolate maker. Note that our trip has changed since this was written; this year we are staying at a new lodge and have added a few more cultural additions to our agenda.

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