We are pleased to invite you to come and spend a fun-filled and educational weekend getting to know the team at the Belize Cacao Consortium and to learn all about what it takes to grow fine flavor cacao and make gourmet artisanal chocolate.
This is our inaugural group tour in the amazing country of Belize and we currently have 6 (of only a total of 16) spaces left.
Learn all about the whole chocolate making process from “seed to bean to bar” and get to know the team that makes this happen.
Below is the itinerary and travel details for our next tour, May 19th to 22nd. If you are interested in attending or learning more about what is involved, please visit the Farm Tour section on our website www.belizecacaocconsortium.com or respond to this email.
See you in Beautiful Belize!
Fri May 19, 2017
The tour kicks off on Friday May 19th.
You must arrive at Belize International Airport (Phillip W. Goldson, Belize City, Belize) no later than Friday morning or very early afternoon. (before 1:30 – 2 pm CST). Be aware that the local time in Belize is Central Standard Time.
On Friday afternoon we will all be taking a short, and very scenic, flight down the west coast of Belize to Punta Gorda, in the beautiful Toledo region of Southern Belize, to spend the next 2 days and 3 nights exploring Cacao Country!
We will meet you at the Belize International airport per your personal travel itinerary and be sure you get onboard the Cacao Country adventure flight!
We will book your round-trip flight for you with Tropic Air from Belize International to Punta Gorda on Friday May 19 and return to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye on Monday, May 22, the last day of the tour. The Tropic Air flight will depart from the Belize international airport (Phillip W. Goldson) at 2:45 pm. You will receive a confirmation email directly from Tropic Air once we book and pay for your flight (your credit card information will be required with your tour registration for us to be able to make this payment on your behalf).
We have local ground transportation organized to collect you at the airport in Punta Gorda and transfer you to our host hotel, The Lodge at Big Falls.
The whole hotel is reserved just for us! … and we have organized a discounted room rate for all attendees (see Your Responsibilities below). Our team will introduce you to the hotel staff when you are ready to book your trip so you can finalize and pay for your hotel reservation. Your reservation must be complete not later than Monday, May 8, to ensure you have a seat on this amazing weekend tour.
Friday evening is already planned out!
5:00 pm… Welcome Reception at the hotel… The Lodge at Big Falls
6:00 pm… We will be attending the Gala Wine and Chocolate Festival Dinner … 11 th Annual Belize Chocolate Festival Kick- Off Celebration, food and drinks included, with local chocolatiers displaying Belize’s best (until Mahogany Chocolate enters the market!)
Saturday May 20
7 – 8 am…Wake up to an amazing (all inclusive) gourmet breakfast at The Lodge at Big Falls
Saturday morning starts with us leaving the hotel at 8 am, with cameras at the ready for an amazing day of education in the “Art of Cacao Science”.
First, a guided tour of our own Belize Cacao Traders brand new cacao processing depot in San Antonio, where the “magic” of fermenting and drying wet cacao beans actually happens every day. The most critical stage in creating delicious gourmet chocolate.
Then, we’ll walk an easily accessible part of one of our nearby Peini Cacao Plantation’s producing 31 acre farms. You will get to see, touch and hug a whole farm of real “chocolate” trees!
Next will be a real treat, and time to relax and take a break, with a traditional lunch provided by Eladio Pop and his family at their home in Columbia Village … the coolest traditional Maya food experience in Belize. You can buy some authentic handmade Maya souvenirs right from the family.
Enjoy a once in a lifetime experience with Eladio Pop personally guiding you on a tour of his amazing nature preserve and cacao farm. He is truly a cross of Robinson Crusoe and Darwin! He will give you an afternoon that you will never forget.
Then we’ll take you to downtown Punta Gorda so you can enjoy an hour at the Chocolate Festival Street Fair, meet the locals, shop for gifts and enjoy an ice cold Belikin (the famous beer of Belize).
Then on to dinner at Asha’s…. right on the Caribbean Sea. With undoubtedly the best seafood buffet, drinks and Reggae music in Punta Gorda. Afterwards, we can enjoy the fireworks at 9 pm.
After a very full day, fully sated with food and drink, tired and ready for bed … back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep!
Sunday May 21
8 – 9:30 am…Another amazing (all inclusive) gourmet breakfast at The Lodge at Big Falls
Then on to visit with our “babies” – experience Belize Cacao Consortium’s own nursery with 120,000 baby cacao trees getting themselves ready to be planted this year, so they can grow up to produce fine flavor specialty cacao on Peini Cacao Plantation farms. You will learn how the ancient Maya germinated cacao “seeds” and created their own nurseries, a skill still practiced in much the same manner today, all the way through to the saplings being ready for grafting and planting.
After the nursery experience, we will visit the local Mayan House Museum to learn more about the culture and the cacao process. Bathrooms will be available and you may even be able to buy a few souvenirs to take home!
Then in the early-afternoon, another experience you won’t forget. The Chocolate Festival of Belize is hosting, at the ancient Maya ruins of Nim Li Punit, an afternoon of cultural events, an ancient Maya baseball game re-enacted as it was actually played 500 hundred years ago, a local soccer tournament, Garifuna and others music and entertainment, food and drinks and generally a fun-in-the-sun (hopefully!) afternoon to be enjoyed by all.
Once we are full of fun and culture, we will head back to The Lodge at Big Falls for some rest and relaxation…
A swim in the pool… or if you wish, a nap could be in order.
Or you can go on a guided river tubing adventure for an hour on the river that surrounds the hotel property …. Or use the hotel kayaks, both are right on the property!
Then freshen up for our come-as-you-are Sunday evening…. Party by the Pool!
6:00 pm – ish… cocktails and friendship
6 – 8 pm… Native Garifuna drummers and dancers will entertain you in typical Belizian Caribbean style
6:30…BBQ sunset dinner poolside
Stay up as late as you wish but remember…we all fly to Mahogany Chocolate at Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club on Ambergris Caye on Monday morning.
Monday May 22
Finally, you can sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast! The buses will leave the hotel about 10 am for the Punta Gorda airport and we will arrive in the San Pedro airport about 1:30 pm, after 2 spectacular short hops over Belize and the Caribbean Sea.
The rest of the afternoon will be spent learning the intricate details involved in “creating” gourmet hand-made artisanal chocolate. Our Executive Chocolate Maker, who will have been with us throughout the weekend, and his very talented associate will give you an unforgettable first-hand look at the process of actually making gourmet chocolate from the beans you saw just a few days before growing on our farms and ageing in our processing depot….all in our brand new state-of-the-art chocolate kitchen and retail store.
And you will get to taste a whole range of these gourmet chocolate “treats” to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content.
The evening will be filled out by a (spectacular) sunset dinner in the Great House at Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, graciously prepared for us by the Hilton hotel hospitality staff. An evening dip in the enormous salt water pool may be in order before dinner or just take a moment to relax in your Hilton by Curio Collection guest cottage (aka- really cool hotel suite).
Tuesday May 23
Unfortunately, it could be time for you to…Go Home!
Or better yet, extend your stay for a few days in Belize. Scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, beer drinking, parasailing, walking the white sand beaches, more Maya ruins…
We can help you set it all up… just ask! We will help you make arrangements for your departure flight from San Pedro back to the international airport in Belize City, per your own personal schedule, for you to catch your flight home.
So, the question we get the most is how much??
The cost of participating in the Tour is $0.00 (our treat!)
Includes all events on the tour, all meals, all cocktails and wine at group parties and dinners, all event admissions and tickets, hotel and other gratuities and local private ground transportation in Punta Gorda and Ambergris Caye.
To summarize your responsibilities…
Return airfare to Phillip M Goldson Belize International Airport in Belize City…arrive May 19 by 2 pm CST
Airfare from Belize International to Punta Gorda on May 19 with return to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye on May 22 ……… about $375 USD per person (flights to be booked by us)
Hotel for 3 nights (May 19-21) at The Lodge at Big Falls, Punta Gorda at our group rate….$153 USD per night plus local taxes (up to 4 per room)
Hotel for 1 night (May 22) at the 4-star resort Hilton by Curio at Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club on Ambergris Caye at our group rate… to be announced, but it will be a great deal!
Airfare from San Pedro to Belize City International on the day of your departure… about $100 USD tax included, per person
All discretionary personal expenses before, during and after the Tour
That about sums it up!
If you are interested in reserving one of the few remaining places just let me know.
Hopefully we will be seeing you soon in Beautiful Belize!!