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Discover Chocolate in Belize: December 27, 2007 - January 2, 2008


Have you ...

... ever wanted to take an eco-tour to a warm place in the middle of winter?

... ever wanted to learn where cacao is grown and visit a plantation to see pods in person?

... ever wanted to see how chocolate is made using traditional techniques?

... ever wanted to make chocolate of your own?

Then this Meetup is for you!

Clay Gordon, Discover Chocolate Meetup moderator an author of "Discover Chocolate (Gotham Books, October 2007) is leading an eco-adventure to the wilds of Belize where you, too can discover chocolate as you've never seen it before.

The venue will be Cotton Tree Lodge, an eco-lodge located just outside of Punta Gordon in the Toledo District in remote Southern Belize. Cotton Tree Lodge is co-owned by a New York Metro Discover Chocolate Meetup member!

Tentative Program*

Thursday, December 27:

Fly to Belize City, Belize
Fly from Belize City to Punta Gorda
Transfer from Punta Gorda airport to Cotton Tree Lodge (CTL)
(by boat, weather permitting)
Check-in to CTL
Happy Hour and Welcoming Reception

Friday, December 28

Punta Gorda Market tour
Visit Toledo Cacao Growers Association offices/warehouse
(buy cocoa beans)
Visit Green and Black's local representative's offices
Group activity: build a comal (a traditional Mayan stove)
Late afternoon class @ Cotton Tree Lodge
Local plants/herbs and their medicinal uses
Happy Hour
Evening class @ CTL: How chocolate gets its taste

Saturday, December 29:

Visit to cacao orchard
Orchard management
Overview of local plants: food in the forest
Harvest pods, remove pods from orchard
Afternoon group activities:
Split pods, separate seeds, start fermentation
Roast and clean cocoa beans
Overview of cocoa drying
Happy Hour
Evening Class @ CTL: tbd

Sunday, December 30

Tour: Traditional Mayan chocolate making with Cyrilla Cho
Tour: Mayan Ruins at Lubantuun OR Barranco Village
Late afternoon: activities around lodge
Happy Hour
Evening class @ CTL: tbd

Monday, December 31:

Morning class @ CTL: how chocolate is made
Grind/refine/start conching chocolate
Tour: tbd OR Activities around lodge
Happy Hour
Dinner: Special NY Eve BBQ
Evening party/bonfire

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Late breakfast
Check in on chocolate
Check in on fermentation
Check in on comal, make chocolate using a metate
Afternoon: Activities around lodge
Late afternoon class @ CTL: tbd
Happy Hour
Going away dinner
Final class reception/graduation

Wednesday, January 2:
Early Breakfast

Thursday, January 3:
SUPPLEMENTAL TOUR: All-day Snorkeling Trip to Snake Caye


$1595 p/p double occupancy, adult
$1000 p/p double occupancy, child (12-16)
$ 300 p/p single occupancy supplement

Price is INCLUSIVE upon arrival at Punta Gorda airport with the exception of: bar bill, laundry service, and (optional) gratuities. Transfers, local transportation, tour admissions, guide fees, necessary materials, all meals, and soft drinks are included.

Discounts (max 2 discounts per person):

$ 100 p/p discount for Meetup Members
$ 100 p/p early-bird discount
$ 100 p/p discount for 3+ unrelated people in a cabana
$ 100 p/p family discount (3 people, min 1 adult)

Early-bird registration deadline: May 15
Final registration deadline: June 27


  • Program schedule is tentative and subject to change, however the activities engaged in will be substantially the same.

  • Family members do not have to partake in chocolate activities if they don't want to. Alternative activities will be available each day. The activities include: tours and excursions, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, wildlife viewing, native crafts, swinging in hammocks, relaxing, reading, etc.

RSVPing here does not reserve you a place on the trip. Places on the trip can only be reserved by filling out the form Clay will send you after contacting him and paying a deposit equivalent to 40% of the tour price on or before June 27, 2007. (Final payment will be due no later than November 27, 2007.) You are responsible for your own travel arrangements to Belize, but we will make reservations on your behalf from Belize City to Punta Gorda to ensure everyone travels as a group.

For more information and to reserve a place on this trip, contact Clay Gordon by e-mailing him at claygordon at

:: I hope to meet you in Belize!
:: Clay

In the middle of nowhere · Punta Gorda
33 spots left