cacao seed
Taste Belize is the home of Placencia Peninsula’s first and best chocolate tour, created in January 2013 as 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. Soon after it became one of the most popular activities at my first tour company. 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 us you are guaranteed a knowledgeable guide who can answer your questions about cacao cultivation, chocolate making and the history and culture of cacao and chocolate, from 4,000 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.

All tours listed below are full day tours with transportation, guiding, all activity and entrance fees, samples, lunch and 12.5% General Sales Tax included in the total tour price.

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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Two Activity Excursions: These combine Ixcacao’s famous chocolate tour and a second activity into one wonderful day exploring the best of what Belize has to offer. If you don’t see the combination you are looking for email us at tastebelize@gmail.com and we will be happy to customize a tour for you! These are full day tours that depart (unless otherwise noted) at 8AM and return by about 530PM.

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. During harvest season, sample the ripe cacao fruit itself! After enjoying a wonderful all you can eat farm to table meal prepared by The Chocolate Queen we cool off with a relaxing afternoon at a beautiful jungle waterfall (depending on the season we visit San Antonio Falls, Rio Blanco Falls or Banana Farm Falls). Swim, sunbathe and learn about the surrounding rain forest from your guide.

Tour Price: 115.55 US dollars plus 14.44 US dollars Sales Tax=130 US dollars per person. 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 Country (Ixcacao Organic Farm & Factory tour & Chocolate Making):
Combine chocolate making as described above with a hands on guided tour of Ixcacao Chocolate’s beautiful certified organic farm, where cacao, spices, sugar cane, 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. 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) for a longer day of activities.

 Tour Price: 115.55 US dollars plus 14.44 US dollars Sales Tax=130 US dollars per person. We offer two departure times: Depart Placencia 7AM and return around 330 in the afternoon, OR sleep in, depart at 1030AM and return by 6PM. Combined with one other Toledo District activity (ask for pricing) departs 7AM returns around 6PM. 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 Town: Perfect for the confirmed chocoholic. Head to Punta Gorda, Belize’s most culturally diverse town, for a tour and chocolate samples at Cotton Tree Chocolate factory. Explore new ingredients, fruits and vegetables at the farmers market 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 from Juan and Abelina at Ixcacao. 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.

Tour Price: 111.13 US dollars plus 13.89 US dollars sales tax=125 US dollars per person. 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 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.

Tour Price: 115.55 US dollars plus 14.44 US dollars Sales Tax=130 US dollars per person. 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. The second largest piece of carved jade found in Belize was discovered here in 2015. Your guide will paint a compelling picture of the Maya civilization prior to European contact. Learn about Maya history and culture past and present and explore the green grounds and views of this royal complex.

Tour Price: 111.13 US dollars plus 13.89 US dollars sales tax=125 US dollars per person. 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 Lubaantun Maya Site: Drive through picturesque Maya villages to explore the green plazas and black slate structures of Lubaantun, The Place of The Fallen Stones. Admire the sacred tree of the ancient Maya, hear the legend of the crystal skull & learn about Maya history and culture past and present as your guide paints a compelling picture of the Maya civilization prior to European contact. Then head to Ixcacao Chocolate for a delicious all you can eat lunch, chocolate samples for dessert and their famous chocolate tour.

Tour Price: 111.13 US dollars plus 13.89 US dollars sales tax=125 US dollars per person. 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 Ranger:  Support rain forest conservation in Belize as we join a Ya’axche Conservation Trust forest ranger for a guided hike through the Golden Stream Conservation Corridor followed by lunch at Ixcacao Chocolate and their famous chocolate tour. 30% of the tour price goes to support Ya’axche’s conservation efforts.

Tour Price: 142.22 US dollars plus 17.77 US dollars sales tax=160 US dollars per person. Departs from Placencia at 7AM and returns around 530 PM. What to bring: Sturdy hiking boots or tennis shoes that can get muddy, binoculars, camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash to buy chocolate to take home!  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.

Tour Price: 124.40 US dollars plus 15.55 US dollars sales tax=140 US dollars per person. 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!

Ixcacao owner Juan Cho with students on a field trip

Three Activity Excursions: Due to popular demand we now offer longer excursions that combine three amazing activities into one action packed day. See descriptions of the different activities at the top of this page. If you don’t see the combination you are looking for below email us at tastebelize@gmail.com and we will be happy to customize a tour for you! These are full day tours that depart from Placencia at 7AM and return around 530-6 PM. Scroll up to see descriptions of the individual activities earlier on this page.

Ixcacao Chocolate, Nim Li Punit (OR Lubaantun) & Belize Spice Farm. Tour Price: 128.88 US dollars plus 16.11 US dollars sales tax=145 USD per person.

Spice Farm, Ixcacao Chocolate & Waterfall. Tour Price: 128.88 US dollars plus 16.11 US dollars sales tax=145 USD per person.

Nim Li Punit (OR Lubaantun), Ixcacao Chocolate & Waterfall. Tour Price: 128.88 US dollars plus 16.11 US dollars sales tax=145 USD per person.

Nim Li Punit, Ixcacao Chocolate & Lubaantun Tour Price: 124.40 US dollars plus 15.55 US dollars sales tax=140 US dollars per person.

What to wear and bring: Tennis shoes that can get muddy, camera, sunblock, bug spray and extra cash to buy chocolate to take home, bring a towel and swimsuit for waterfall.  Email us to book your tour now!

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. Don’t see what you are looking for? Email us for customized day trips in the Stann Creek district, there are many great combinations that we can arrange 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!

Tour Price: 106.66 US dollars plus 13.33 US dollars sales tax=120 US dollars per person. This is a full day tour that departs from Placencia at 8AM 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!

Bitter Chocolate (Belizean Bitters & Cheil Chocolate): This tour combines chocolate with an adventure featuring Belize’s most famous alcoholic beverage, rum and anise based bitters concocted with jungle herbs. Krishna and Dez Molefi, featured on the Travel Channel’s show Booze Traveler, take us on a hands-on adventure from the jungle and farm to the bottle in your hands. Learn about the importance of bitters in Belize and in Garifuna culture. We start on the farm and in the jungle where Krishna shows us local plants used in bitters making. Then we head to the bar to sample some of Krishna’s bitters and learn about the medicinal qualities of each plant. Krishna then helps us to concoct our own personal bitters blend to carry home with us.  After our bitters tour, enjoy a delicious Maya style lunch in Maya Centre Village after which we make our own dessert! We tour a local organic cacao farm and make our own chocolate from scratch using traditional stone tools at Che’il Chocolate!

Tour Price: 115.55 US dollars plus 14.44 US dollars Sales Tax=130 US dollars per person. Departs Placencia 830AM, returns to Placencia by 4PM. What to Bring: Wear comfortable close toed walking shoes and sensible shorts or light long pants. Bring your camera, bug spray, sunblock and extra cash in case you want to buy teas or more bitters to bring home.

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!

Tour Price: 106.66 US dollars plus 13.33 US dollars sales tax=120 US dollars per person. 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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