cacao seed
Taste Belize is the home of the first and best chocolate tours out of Placencia Peninsula. The first tour I created as a guide in January 2013 was an exploration of the cacao and chocolate industry that I grew up with in my home district of Toledo. I ran this excursion south to the amazing Maya owned Ixcacao Chocolate Company nestled in the green hills of San Felipe Village, Toledo District. When I co-founded my first tour company soon after it became one of the most popular activities. Today Ixcacao Chocolate owners Juan and Abelina welcome guests from a number of Placencia tour operators. At Taste Belize visitors love our signature hands on chocolate tours as much as we do.   When you explore Belize’s chocolate trails with Taste Belize Tours you are guaranteed a knowledgeable guide who can answer all your questions about cacao cultivation, chocolate making and the history and culture of cacao and chocolate, from 2,000 years ago to the present. Growing up on a cacao farm, chocolate is in my blood and I love to share these delicious experiences with visitors.

Toledo District:

I collaborate with Ixcacao Chocolate to offer a variety of delicious hands-on chocolate focused experiences in the verdant and beautiful hills of the Toledo District south of Placencia. Ixcacao Chocolate is the original Maya chocolatier in Belize. This independent family owned company was built from the ground up with no outside investors and offers a fabulous full senses chocolate experience with lots of samples and Maya style hot chocolate and the chance to learn about cacao from the tree to the bar and make your own organic dark chocolate. If you love chocolate, don’t miss out on this tour! Don’t see what you are looking for? Email us for customized day trips in the Toledo district, there are a lot of great combinations that we can put together for you!

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Chocolate Waterfall: Spend an unforgettable morning at Ixcacao Chocolate, Belize’s original Maya-owned chocolatier.  See cacao growing on the tree and learn about its cultivation. We then head upstairs to enjoy some Maya style hot chocolate and delicious chocolate samples. After these treats, Juan and Abelina guide us through the process of making our own chocolate from bean to bar using heirloom stone tools. After enjoying a wonderful farm to table meal prepared by The Chocolate Queen we drive though the picturesque hills of San Antonio Village and cool off with a relaxing afternoon at a beautiful jungle waterfall. Swim, sunbathe and learn about the surrounding rain forest from your guide.

This is a full day tour that departs from Placencia at 8AM and returns around 530 PM.
What to bring: Swimsuit, towel, camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash to buy chocolate to take home! Wear comfortable shoes or walking sandals. Email us to book your tour now!

Organic Cacao Farm, Factory Tour and Chocolate Making:
Combine our usual chocolate making as described above with a hands on guided tour of Ixcacao Chocolate’s beautiful certified organic farm, where cacao, spices, fruits and vegetables grow together in a sustainable rain forest friendly environment. During cacao harvesting season, you can even see how the cacao beans are fermented and dried on the farm before being transported to their little factory for chocolate making. You can do the cacao farm and chocolate making on its own or combine it with any of our other Toledo District activities (waterfall, river tubing, jungle hike, fire hearth cooking, Nim Li Punit or Belize Spice Farm).

Departs from Placencia 7AM and returns around 330 PM or sleep in, depart at 1030AM and return at 6PM. Combined with our other Toledo District activities (waterfall, river tubing, jungle hike, fire hearth cooking, Nim Li Punit or Belize Spice Farm), departs 7AM returns around 530PM. What to bring: Swimsuit, towel, camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash to buy chocolate to take home! Wear comfortable shoes or walking sandals. Email us to book your tour now!

Chocolate and Spice: Combine a visit to Ixcacao Chocolate as described above with a fascinating tour of the Belize Spice Farm. Here we get our hands on cardamom, vanilla, allspice, nutmeg and black pepper plants. We touch and taste these spices and learn about their origins, uses and how they are cultivated and processed. You will never look at your spice rack in the same way again! This tour is perfect for food lovers and those with limited mobility as little walking is required.

This is a full day tour that departs from Placencia at 8AM and returns around 5 PM.
What to bring: A camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash to buy chocolate and spices to take home! Wear comfortable shoes or walking sandals. Email us to book your tour now!

Chocolate and Nim Li Punit Maya Site: After passing a delicious morning at Ixcacao Chocolate as described  above, we head to Nim Li Punit, a small and beautiful hilltop Maya site famous for its carved stones covered with hieroglyphs and images of gods and nobles. Your guide will paint a compelling picture of the Maya civilization prior to European contact, drawing on her training in archaeology and practical experience excavating sites with archaeologists in Southern Belize. Learn about Maya history and culture past and present and explore the green grounds and views of this royal complex.

This is a full day tour that departs from Placencia at 8AM and returns around 5 PM.
What to bring: A camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash to buy chocolate to take home! Wear comfortable shoes or walking sandals. Email us to book your tour now!

Chocolate and River Tubing: After a morning at Ixcacao Chocolate and a delicious lunch, we cool off and take a relaxing float down the Rio Grande, one of southern Belize’s largest rivers, floating through jungle, past small hand tended farms and Maya villages. Spot iguanas, birds, orchids, lean back and watch the landscape flow past.

This is a full day tour that departs from Placencia at 8AM and returns around 530 PM.
What to bring: A camera, sunblock, bug spray, swim suit, towel and wading shoes (for the river tubing) if you have them. Email us to book your tour now!

Chocolate Decadence: Perfect for the confirmed chocoholic. Take a full day to thoroughly indulge yourself in chocolate with a visit south to the beautiful Toledo District where most Belizean cacao is grown and processed. Head to Punta Gorda to explore the artisanal Cotton Tree Chocolate factory and (Organic and Fair Trade) Toledo Cacao Growers Cooperative. Explore the district farmers market with your food anthropologist guide before having lunch at at Ixcacao Chocolate, Belize’s original Maya-owned chocolatier. See cacao growing on the tree and learn all about its cultivation. Enjoy some Maya style hot chocolate and chocolate samples, then make your own chocolate from bean to bar using heirloom stone tools.  Return to Placencia with chocolate you made yourself and a new found appreciation for this global delicacy.

This is a full day tour that departs from Placencia at 8AM and returns around 5 PM.
What to bring: A camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash to buy chocolate to take home! Wear comfortable shoes or walking sandals. Email us to book your tour now!

Ixcacao owner Juan Cho with students on a field trip

Stann Creek District:

I work with Che’il Chocolate in the community of Maya Centre, an hour drive north of Placencia Village, to offer a hands on experience with Maya style chocolate making in close proximity to Belize’s world famous Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve and the misty Cockscomb Mountain Range, home to many plants, birds and animals, including rare and unique species of orchids and a resident jaguar population. Che’il Chocolate is CLOSED on Monday and Friday, so these tours are available Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Contact us for other tour suggestions if Monday or Friday are your only days available. Don’t see what you are looking for? Email us for customized day trips in the Stann Creek district, there are a lot of great combinations that we can put together for you!

Chocolate Jungle: This full day tour begins with a hike through the tropical forest of the Cockscomb Preserve to a refreshing jungle pool and waterfall. After enjoying a dip and an educational walk back where your guide will show you some of the amazing things about our tropical forest, we head to Che’il Chocolate close by in Maya Centre village. Here we enjoy a delicious lunch and then take a short walk to the cacao farm to learn about how cacao trees are cultivated. Returning from the farm we get to make our own chocolate using traditional stone tools. While our chocolate is hardening we take a tour of the facility where Che’il Chocolate makes their bars to sell using modern machinery. We head back to Placencia afterwards with the chocolate we made ourselves!

This is a full day tour that departs from Placencia at 830AM and returns around 4 PM.
What to bring: A swimsuit and towel, camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash in case you want to purchase chocolate or Maya crafts at the craft center. Wear comfortable walking shoes and long shorts or lightweight long pants. Email us to book your tour now!

Chocolate Nibble: If you want chocolate without taking a full day away from Placencia, this tour is for you! We depart for Che’il Chocolate in Maya Centre Village at 8AM and have you back after lunch by about 1PM. We can also schedule this tour for the afternoon if you want to sleep in! We leave at 11AM, have a tasty Maya fire-hearth cooked lunch, tour the cacao farm and make our own chocolate as described above in the Jungle Chocolate tour. This tour can also be booked without lunch included.

This is a half day tour that departs Placencia at 8AM and returns by 1PM or can be booked for 11AM to 4-430PM. What to bring:  Camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash in case you want to purchase chocolate or Maya crafts at the craft center. Wear comfortable walking shoes and long shorts or lightweight long pants. Email us to book your tour now!

Choco-Banana: Explore Maya chocolate making with Che’il Chocolate as described above, then after lunch we head back towards Placencia peninsula to learn all about bananas on Sagitun Banana farm. Fun, educational and hands on, you will appreciate chocolate and every banana you buy in a new way after this tour!

This is a full day tour that departs from Placencia at 8AM and returns around 4-430PM.
What to bring: Camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash in case you want to purchase chocolate or Maya crafts at the craft center. Wear comfortable walking shoes and long shorts or lightweight long pants. Email us to book your tour now!

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