CACAO PRODUCER VISITED: Zorzal Cacao
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Light to Moderate, (including camping night at Reserva Zorzal)
STARTING LOCATION: Cabarete, Dominican Republic
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE: 12 guests
DANDELION HOST: Greg and crew
Join us for a week exploring the Dominican Republic while learning how cacao is grown and processed. We will be staying on the northern coast (a.k.a. silver coast) of the Dominican Republic, as well as camping at Reserve Zorzal for 1-2 nights. This trip is designed for people looking to learn more about cacao and have a fun vacation. The goal of this trip is to understand how cacao is grown, but this trip will highlight a larger scale of fermentation and drying while also learning about conservation efforts at the Reserva Zorzal bird sanctuary. Since our home base is on the beach, there will be plenty of opportunities to swim and enjoy the touristy side of Dominican Republic when we’re not delving into cacao. We have opted for lodging on the beach in Cabarete, a town on the North Shore of Dominican Republic, making this trip a little less rustic than some of our other trips.
This trip focuses on varying scales of cacao bean production. We’ll visit Reserva Zorzal, a bird sanctuary and our source for Dominican beans. We’ll not only learn about the birds that Reserva Zorzal aims to protect, but we’ll see slightly larger scale processing at a nearby fermentary, Öko-Caribe (who also sells to many craft chocolate makers). While we will have a free day built into our schedule, you may want to stay an extra few days to take advantage of the beautiful beaches and adventure activities.
Wondering if this trip is right for you? Although this trip is a little less rustic than some of our others, we recommend this adventure for those who are truly head-over-heels for chocolate. While comfortable lodging and amenities are available, there will be light hiking and camping as we explore a much larger scale of production than any of our other origins. This trip is perfect for those interested in learning (or nerding out about) the cocoa supply chain and logistics.
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PRICING AND ACCOMMODATIONS
These rates include ground transportation in the Dominican Republic, accommodations, all meals starting with dinner on arrival night and ending with breakfast on departure day, all chocolate sourcing, chocolate making, and chocolate tasting activities, all taxes and service charges, and gratuity.
Pricing excludes all travel to/from the Dominican Republic. Guests are responsible for getting themselves to Puerto Plata Airport, as well as alcoholic beverages and additional excursions, such as kite surfing, surfing, caving, kayaking, zip lines, deep sea fishing, among others, available for an additional cost.
We will be based out of the north coast in the beach town of Cabarete, however, we will spend one night at Reserva Zorzal, a 1,019-acre cacao farm and bird sanctuary. All options in Cabarete are within 250 feet to the beach. All guests will enjoy a shared pool, garden views, balcony or patio, air conditioning, and WIFI.
PRIVATE SINGLE-OCCUPANCY ROOM
$2,700 per person
A studio with balcony, queen/king bed, and kitchenette
PRIVATE DOUBLE OCCUPANCY ROOM
$2,400 per person
A kitchen, plus two bedrooms with queen beds two full baths.
$2,100 per person
2-3 bedrooms with two full bathrooms, pull-out couches or futons, and a shared kitchen. Dorm/shared housing will include a bedroom with two twin beds. Each person has their own bed but will be sharing a room.
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This is a sample agenda from a previous trip; all activities are subject to change. All scheduled activities are optional, and there are plenty of opportunities to explore the Dominican Republic. For instance, Cabarete is the windsurfing capital of the world and there are many outdoor activities such as swimming, horseback riding, and caving in the vicinity. Or simply sit back in a hammock and enjoy viewing the ocean waves or listening to birds in the rainforest of Reserva Zorzal.
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL
Fly into Puerto Plata, settle into your room, meet everyone, and get an overview of the agenda for the week.
DAY 2 – KAYAKING AND CULTURE (BACHATA DANCING)
Morning Kayaking to get acquainted with our surroundings in Dominican Republic. Lunch
Evening we’ll be introduced to Dominican Republic Culture through a Bachata Dance Party (Dance is a big thing here!)
DAY 3 – CENTRALIZED FERMENTARIES: OKO CARIBE AND ZORZAL’S FACILITY
We will visit a larger fermenting and drying center. First, we’ll go to OKO Caribe, a medium scale fermenting and drying facility and one of the main suppliers of Dominican specialty cacao to craft chocolate maker. Then we’ll head to Zorzal’s new fermentation facility!
DAY 4 – RESERVA ZORZAL DAY 1
Visit Reserva Zorzal to tour the cacao farm, and post-harvest fermenting and drying facility. Harvest some cocoa pods! Learn about the private reserve and its protected area policy, visit with local farmers, and participate in an annual celebration! No need to haul all your stuff to Reserve Zorzal (we have the condo’s all week, so pack your extra change of clothes/toiletries in a smaller bag).
Accommodations: Reserve Zorzal
DAY 5 – RESERVA ZORZAL DAY 2
We’ll spend the first part of our day continuing to explore and learn about Reserve Zorzal. Then we’ll drive back to Cabarete for the evening to settle into our cozy beds.
DAY 6 – FREE DAY
This is a day to do whatever you’d like to do: go kite surfing, surfing, caving or kayaking! Or just relax and read a book?
Accommodations: Ocean Dream, Cabarete
DAY 7 – TOUR A COOPERATIVE
On our last full day, we will tour one of the largest cacao cooperatives in the Dominican Republic, and learn about fair trade and other environmental certifications.
DAY 8 – DEPARTURE
On the last day, we’ll depart from the Dominican Republic with an understanding of cacao production and a sunkissed glow from spending a week in the tropics.