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BELIZE

Chocolate and the Maya: A Service Adventure in Belize

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Road Scholar
Program #17965RJ
8 Days | 7 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Equipment Requirements
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Itinerary for Jun 16 — Jun 23, 2013

Expand all
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Belize
phone: +011.501.670.0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com/

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs. Locked safety box for valuables.

Facility amenities: Wireless internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: US $150 per adult $75per child
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, June 16 - Arrival, Orientation, and Welcome Dinner
Depart From: Leave home in the morning and arrive at Belize International Airport (BZE) by 3:30pm CST to meet the group and continue to Punta Gorda (PND). Group flight from BZE to Punta Gorda Airport in the afternoon

Arrive To: Arrive at Cotton Tree Lodge by 6:30pm. You will have an orientation meeting with your group leader and lodge staff, then check into your cabanas.

Dinner: Appetizers at the bar followed by a four-course dinner in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Belize
phone: +011.501.670.0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com/

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs. Locked safety box for valuables.

Facility amenities: Wireless internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: US $150 per adult $75per child
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, June 17 - Organic Cacao Farm and Kek'chi Mayan language les...
Breakfast: Full buffet breakfast served in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Morning: Travel with the group to the village of San Pedro Colombia, where you will meet organic cacao farmer Eladio Pop and his family. Hike the jungle trails along with Eladio, tasting cacao fruit (the fruit that produces cocoa beans) and exotic jungle plants along the way. Pick the cacao pods which you will later make into chocolate!

Lunch: Return to the Eladio's home in the village and share a traditional Belizean lunch with his family. Try a traditional 'hot chocolate' drink which was enjoyed by the ancient Mayans! After lunch, learn how to make chocolate the ancient way-- by grinding it on a stone.

Afternoon: Return to the lodge and crack open your cacao pods. See how cacao beans are fermented and dried as the first step of chocolate making, and start your own fermentation as a group. Learn how cacao grown in Belize is gathered by cooperatives and prepared to send to US and European factories to be made into chocolate.

Dinner: Appetizers at the bar followed by a four-course dinner in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Evening: Adults and children together will participate in an interactive Kekchi language lesson. Learn numbers, greetings, animals, colors, and other basic words and phrases in this Mayan dialect. English is the national language of Belize and we will have no trouble communicating with our hosts throughout our stay, but this fun activity will introduce you to the language commonly spoken in the villages around the lodge.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Belize
phone: +011.501.670.0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com/

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs. Locked safety box for valuables.

Facility amenities: Wireless internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: US $150 per adult $75per child
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, June 18 - Service Projects with Sustainable Harvest Interna...
Service Projects with Sustainable Harvest International, Evening Campfire with Mayan Storyteller.

Breakfast: Full buffet breakfast served in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Morning: Break into small teams and work on one of three Sustainable Harvest International service projects: building a fuel-efficient stove, planting trees, or setting up a family garden. You will complete meaningful work alongside local families and SHI staff. Sustainable Harvest International is a non-profit organization which works in Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. SHI provides farming families in Central America with the training and tools to overcome poverty while restoring our planet's tropical forests. They teach sustainable agriculture techniques as an alternative to slash and burn farming. There is an SHI demonstration garden on the Cotton Tree Lodge property which you are welcome to visit anytime during your stay.

Lunch: Enjoy a traditional Belizean lunch served at the home of an SHI participant family.

Afternoon: Finish up service projects and return to Cotton Tree Lodge. Free time to enjoy lodge amenities, including hiking, biking, kayaking, and swimming. Optional tours of the Cotton Tree Lodge/SHI Organic Demonstration Garden are available.

Dinner: Appetizers at the bar followed by a four-course dinner in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Evening: Campfire and Mayan Storyteller. Gather around our riverside firepit and hear a Mayan storyteller's folktales, myths, and legends. Roast marshmallows, listen to the sounds of the jungle, and enjoy the stars.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Belize
phone: +011.501.670.0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com/

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs. Locked safety box for valuables.

Facility amenities: Wireless internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: US $150 per adult $75per child
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, June 19 - Lubaantun Mayan Ruins and Mayan Music. Craft act...
Lubaantun Mayan Ruins and Mayan Music. Craft activity in the Cotton Tree Lodge open air pottery studio.

Breakfast: Full buffet breakfast served in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Morning: Visit Lubaantun Mayan ruins. Archaeologists believe that this Mayan city flourished from 730 to 890 AD and was abandoned soon after. Most structures are formed from graduated stone steps and held together with no mortar. Legend has it that a crystal skull was found in the ruins in the early 1940s.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at Lubaantun Ruins.

Afternoon: Visit the workshop of a traditional Mayan harpmaker and hear him perform Kekchi Mayan folksongs. Learn about current efforts to preserve Mayan folk culture.

Dinner: Appetizers at the bar followed by a four-course dinner in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Evening: Enjoy a craft activity in the Cotton Tree Lodge pottery studio. Learn coil pottery techniques and Mayan designs, and make Mayan calendar tiles for your birth month. The clay we use will be dug locally, and is similar to what the ancient Maya used for their ceramics hundreds of years ago.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Belize
phone: +011.501.670.0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com/

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs. Locked safety box for valuables.

Facility amenities: Wireless internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: US $150 per adult $75per child
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, June 20 - Service Projects with Sustainable Harvest Interna...
Service Projects with Sustainable Harvest International and Chocolate-Making Workshop.

Breakfast: Full buffet breakfast served in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Morning: Your team will rotate to another of the SHI service projects, which may include building a stove, planting trees, or establishing a family or school garden. Work alongside local families and make a tangible difference.

Lunch: Enjoy a traditional Belizean lunch served in the home of a local SHI family.

Afternoon: Finish up your projects with SHI and then Return to Cotton Tree Lodge. Join staff from Cotton Tree Chocolate for an afternoon workshop on chocolate making. Use the beans you picked at the cacao farm, and learn about roasting, crushing, winnowing, and conching (and enjoy plenty of samples along the way!).

Dinner: Appetizers at the bar followed by a four-course dinner in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Belize
phone: +011.501.670.0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com/

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs. Locked safety box for valuables.

Facility amenities: Wireless internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: US $150 per adult $75per child
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Six: Friday, June 21 - San Antonio Waterfall, Medicinal Plant Walk, Lect...
San Antonio Waterfall, Medicinal Plant Walk, Lecture on Rainforest and Marine Preservation in Belize

Breakfast: Full buffet breakfast served in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Morning: Near the hilly village of San Antonio, we'll enjoy swimming and exploring at San Antonio Falls. A clear, beautiful pool and rushing falls make this a perfect place to relax.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch under the thatch near San Antonio Falls.

Afternoon: Return to Cotton Tree Lodge for a free afternoon. You may join a local bush doctor on an optional Medicinal Plant walk around the lodge trail system. Learn which plants repel mosquitoes, which mushrooms cure conjunctivitis, and much more! Free time activities such as biking, swimming, and kayaking on the lodge grounds.

Dinner: Appetizers at the bar followed by a four-course dinner in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Evening: Lecture on local marine and rainforest preservation initiatives, as well as ecotourism's role in the Toledo District. Hear about local organizations such as TIDE, and the Toledo Ecotourism Association Guest Houses.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Belize
phone: +011.501.670.0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com/

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs. Locked safety box for valuables.

Facility amenities: Wireless internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: US $150 per adult $75per child
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Seven: Saturday, June 22 - Service Projects with Sustainable Harvest Interna...
Service Projects with Sustainable Harvest International, Hands-On Chocolate Workshop, Adopt a Cacao Tree, Farewell Dinner

Breakfast: Full buffet breakfast served in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Morning: Third rotation of service projects with Sustainable Harvest International. Work alongside Belizean families and SHI staff on a meaningful service project.

Lunch: Enjoy a traditional Belizean lunch in the home of an SHI family.

Afternoon: Finish up service projects and return to Cotton Tree Lodge for a Hands-On Chocolate Making Workshop. Learn about tempering, molding, and packaging, and finish your own chocolate bars to take home as souvenirs! After finishing your chocolate bars, head out to our organic garden and plant your very own cacao seedlings. Someday they'll produce cacao which will be made into Cotton Tree Chocolate bars!

Dinner: Appetizers at the bar followed by a special four-course Farewell dinner in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant. Guests are welcome to give presentations about their experiences in Belize, or share skits and talents.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eight: Sunday, June 23 - Punta Gorda Farmers Market and Depart for Home
Breakfast: Full buffet breakfast served in the Cotton Tree Lodge restaurant

Morning: Check out and travel with group to Punta Gorda for flights to Belize City and onward. If there is time before your scheduled flight, you may visit the Punta Gorda farmers market.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
7 nights of accommodations
20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
2 Expert-led lectures
4 Field trips
8 Hands-on experiences
2 Performances
2 Flights during the program

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4.5
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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