Gather @ The Source | Cacao Farm & Ceremony Immersion in Belize

  • $2,127.00
  • 2 Reviews

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Description

Sunday, April 19 - Saturday, April 25, 2020

Like a retreat but more hands-on, we will immerse ourselves in cacao culture and ceremony for 6 nights in the abundant Belizean jungle where we source our best selling Boundless Belize cacao from.

To reserve your spot with a $500 deposit, select DEPOSIT below.

Registration Closes on Monday, March 16th

Gather with us from Sunday, April 19 - Saturday, April 25, 2020

Registration Closes on Monday, March 16th

What Is Included:

  • All vegetarian meals & accommodations (not camping gear)
  • All the cacao you could ever desire + more
  • All in-country transportation from the moment you land at BZE until departures on 4/25. This includes all shuttles & a domestic flight from Punta Gorda to BZE on the last day.
  • All activities

What Is Not Included:

  • International flights
  • Camping gear
  • Money for shopping & other personal expenses

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For those of you wanting to directly commune with cacao trees and the small family farmers that grow the cacao you love, this trip is for you!

We will start the trip with an overnight stay with an elder Maya couple who are community leaders, healers & cacao ceremonialists to bless our journey for the week ahead.


  


We will then immerse ourselves for three nights at the Belizean Foundation for Research & Environmental Education. Six miles away from any road we will commune with a rare ancient wild cacao forest, have sunrise cacao ceremonies, get hands-on in the cacao nursery, go on epic agroforestry hikes and make chocolate the traditional way.

            

To complete the trip we will enjoy our last two nights camping under the stars on the Chiquin family farm, which is a very special place. After working at a banana plantation for many years underpaid & overworked, Martín decided to bring his vision of a thriving agroforestry farm that he could tend with his family to life.  He now grows 1,500 cacao trees among many other medicinal, plants, with a small team of him, his son Daniel, and a couple of employees during harvest time. Martin's daughter & daughter in law, Yolanda & Caterina will cook all of our meals over a wooden stove in the middle of the farm and it is some of the best food we've ever had. We will be entering into the cacao world of the Q'eqchi' Maya and it is an honor for us to bring a group to their special land & legacy. 

We will experience cacao ceremony in a sacred jaguar cave on the land, eat delicious traditional Maya meals with ingredients from the farm, and learn about the life of a Belizean cacao farmer & his family.

        

There will be ample time for swimming and nature hikes in the beautiful natural lands of Belize, too!

We will enjoy locally sourced home-cooked meals, and receive the simple magic of gathering in community, communing with nature and sharing many cups of cacao together.
  

See full photo album here!

Gather with us from Sunday, April 19 - Saturday, April 25, 2020

Registration Closes on Monday, March 16th

Draft Itinerary 

Day 1- Sunday arrival

  • Arrive by 2:00pm in BZE
  • Stop at swimming hole on the way to our cabins
  • Traditional Maya dinner
  • Orientation Circle & settle in
Day 2 - Monday
  • Light breakfast
  • Morning Cacao Ceremony & Maya Culture discussion by Maya Elders
  • Lunch
  • Shuttle to the Belizean Foundation for Research & Environmental Education
  • 6-mile hike in through distinct habitats including tropical savannah and lowland broadleaf tropical rainforest. *Gear transported by truck*
  • Dinner 
  • Land Gratitude & Cacao Stewardship Circle focusing on Belizean History

Day 3 - Tuesday

  • Morning Yoga /Movement / Practice led by Sena & Jonas
  • Breakfast
  • Cacao based agroforestry tour of the nursery, organic cacao farms, fermentation & drying
  • Lunch
  • Hands-on with planting cacao seedlings, harvesting cacao pods, filling fermentation boxes & working at the drying shed
  • Free time to swim in the river, hike, or relax in a hammock
  • Dinner
  • Animal Spirit Cacao Ceremony around the bonfire

Day 4 - Wednesday

  • Morning Yoga /Movement / Practice led by Sena & Jonas
  • Breakfast
  • Heirloom Cacao Rainforest Hike
  • Lunch
  • Traditional Chocolate Making from Bean to Cup!
  • Free time to swim in the river, hike, or relax in the hammock
  • Dinner
  • Guided Nocturnal Wildlife Night Hike 

Day 5 - Thursday

  • Sunrise Cacao Ceremony & Land Gratitude overlooking the jungle
  • Breakfast
  • 6-mile hike out through distinct habitats including tropical savannah and lowland broadleaf tropical rainforest. *Gear transported by truck*
  • Lunch in shuttle
  • All About Fermentation & Ceremonial Cacao Quality Workshop & the local community fermentary
  • Settle into family cacao farm & set up camp
  • Dinner
  • Free time

Day 6 - Friday

  • Morning yoga in the cacao forest led by Sena & Jonas
  • Cacao Ceremony in the Jaguar Cave
  • Brunch
  • Family Cacao Farm Agroforestry Tour
  • Lunch
  • Cacao Spirit Journey in the forest
  • Dinner
  • Land Gratitude & Trip Reflections Circle

Day 7 - Saturday

  • Dawn Cacao Ceremony in the Cacao Grove
  • Breakfast
  • Departures

What Is Included:

  • All vegetarian meals & accommodations (not camping gear)
  • All the cacao you could ever desire + more
  • All in-country transportation from the moment you land at BZE until departures on 4/25. This includes all shuttles & a domestic flight from Punta Gorda to BZE on the last day.
  • All activities

What Is Not Included:

  • International flights
  • Camping gear
  • Money for shopping & other personal expenses
SEE PACKING LIST

Gather with us from Sunday, April 19 - Saturday, April 25, 2020

Registration Closes on Monday, March 16th

FAQs

I've never traveled to Belize, what's it like?

  •  Belize is a place full of gorgeous protected tropical jungle, ancient Maya ruins & a cultural mix all it's own. The population of Belize is a mix of indigenous Maya, Garifuna, Creole & Mestizo and you will hear a sing-song Carribean accent from many locals. The national language of Belize is English and you can use American dollars, although we do recommend converting some currency to Belizean dollars for a better exchange rate.

I am looking for a vacation, is this a good retreat for me?

  • Our intention with this immersion is to provide as much direct connection with cacao, and cacao culture as possible, so we will be quite active on this trip! Self-care is always a priority for us so we will be nourishing the group with the highest quality locally sourced meals and there will be daily yoga or movement activities as well as lots of hiking & swimming options. There will also be free time for reflection & relaxation mixed in. If you're looking to sit by the beach and sip cocktails, this is not the retreat for you :) 

What are the accommodations like? Can I have a private room?

  • As cacao is all about building community, we decided to keep the retreat price lower and opt for shared accommodations at centers that would give us a direct connection with cacao forests. Meaning, everywhere we are staying besides the first night there will be cacao trees within walking distance from your bed for you to commune with. The first night we will be staying in a Maya village and there will be a mix of shared & private accommodations. At the Belize Foundation for Research & Education Center we will be sharing rooms in bunks of 2-4 people for three nights, and then camping in tents the last two nights before departing. This truly is an immersive experience where we will be immersing with mother Earth, Mama Cacao and building life-long connections with each other.
  • If you feel strongly about having a private room email sena@fireflychocolate.com and we can chat! We can't guarantee that it will be private the entire trip, but we will see what we can do. This will be on a first come first serve basis.

Do I need to handle any transportation once I arrive? How do I get from the airport to the retreat center?

  • We will have everything covered for you once you land at the Belize Airport (BZE). You will be greeted by one of our team, and the group will take a shared shuttle together to the retreat center. If anything were to come up, say a flight delay, you will have our contact information and a team to help troubleshoot. We will also be booking a flight for everyone on the day of departure from Punta Gorda (the cacao growing region) back to BZE to catch your international flight.

I have special dietary restrictions, will you be able to accommodate them?

  • Yes! As a baseline, we will be providing vegetarian meals for the group. After you sign up you will complete a registration form where you can let us know any dietary restrictions that you have and we will share them with the chefs and families that are cooking our meals. Everyone we are working with is familiar with cooking food for large groups and accommodating many different dietary needs.

How do I pack for this trip, isn't camping gear heavy?

  • While this may add an additional complexity to your trip packing, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to bring you to the cacao forest we camped in last year & connect directly with Martin and his family - it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! We recommend lightweight (think backpacking) camping gear, and personally we will be bringing large backpacks. We recommend backpacks over rolly bags, although we can work with either.
  • REI locations usually rent camping gear, and you can also search online - Arrive will ship you a backpacking kit straight to your door!
  • We'll be spending much of our time hiking and being outside, so we are recommending a straightforward packing list that is different than what you would pack for a vacation with lots of fancy dinners. We encourage you to channel your minimalist, wild, outdoorsy adventurous side for this trip - you will be thankful that you did! :) 

This retreat looks really active - I'm not sure I'm physically capable

  • We hear you! There is an option to ride in the truck that will carry our luggage for the 6-mile hike in/out, and all of the hikes and activities are optional. That being said, we will be moving from place to place and enjoying lots of time walking around outdoors, so please tune into what feels comfortable & do-able for your body. We recommend being confident doing a 30-minute hike with some incline for this trip.

Will I have wi-fi access on the trip?

  • You will have access to wifi on our first night to let your family & friends know you've arrived safely. If you have an international phone plan your data plan should work when we are driving on the main freeway. When we are at BFREE & camping at Martin's farm, you will not have wi-fi access and likely no data service either. This will be an opportunity to truly disconnect from the internet & connect with nature, yourself & each other.

Can I pay with a payment plan?

  • Yes, you can select pay with Klarna at checkout to see if you qualify.

Is my deposit refundable?

  • We have limited spots for this trip and your deposit is non-refundable as it is holding a spot for you to join us.

 

Other questions? Email sena@fireflychocolate.com

Your Guides

Jonas Ketterle

After first encountering chocolate making with a Zapotec elder in Oaxaca Mexico in 2012, Jonas founded Firefly Chocolate in 2014, with the mission of inspiring awe and wonder through cacao. As his third entrepreneurial venture and his first at the helm, starting a business was a big initiation. Building a modern chocolate factory to produce purely 100% ceremonial cacao took many years, and now Firefly has found its footing with a unique expertise as a leading supplier of ceremonial cacao in the US and internationally. Jonas loves that every day he shows up to work, he gets to work with cacao, and it is always teaching him. One of his favorite parts about working with cacao is sharing it in ceremony with cacao lovers and newbies from around the world! He has shared cacao at ecstatic dance events, festivals and in many group ceremonies.

Jonas goes by he/his, and he identifies racially as white and ethnically as a first generation American, having immigrated from Germany at 4 years old. He grew up in Boston, occupied land of the Massachusetts people, and lives in Northern California, occupied land of the Nisenan people. 

Sena Shellenberger 

Sena worked at Google pioneering their hardware projects for 5 years before discovering cacao in a ceremony in Mexico in 2015. She eventually left her corporate job which led to travels in Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Belize to deepen her connection with cacao. She joined the Firefly team in 2018 after teaching many about ceremonial cacao through her online courses and in addition to her marketing support for Firefly, continues to lead ceremonies and retreats to connect people to the heart field of cacao. You can listen to one of her cacao songs here to get a feel for what she brings to her ceremonies!

Sena goes by she/hers, and identifies as half-Mexican and half-European. She grew up in the land of the Dakota Sioux, now called Minnesota, and lives in Northern California, occupied land of the Nisenan people. 

 

Questions? Send us a chat in the bottom right-hand corner of our website, or email Sena@fireflychocolate.com. We would LOVE to share this journey with you!


Customer Reviews
5 Based on 2 Reviews
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M
09/06/2019
Michelle
HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND EXPERIENCING AND LEARNING FROM THIS CLASS.

Jonas and Sena are a wonderful team of knowledge, a great balance, and beautiful space holders. Highly, highly recommend experiencing and learning from this class. You will connect with great people, you will love working with cacao. I learned so much about the plant and myself, which is a continuing experience as I grow in this journey with Mama Cacao. So much gratitude for Jonas and Sena, their tremendous knowledge and respect, and the lovely space they create for this special class.

V
09/06/2019
Veronica
Thank you

This course was both deeply spiritual and practical. It was created and shared with huge generosity, knowledge, honesty, integrity and heart. I feel that I will still be basking on what I have learnt for years and it has increased even more my desire to share cacao. My heart is so full and ready to share the blessings of cacao. I always felt that sharing cacao was an impactful and healing practice but this course have shown me the real depth and gift that sharing this medicine is. Thank you very much Firefly, Sena and Jonas. It’s very refreshing to see how much you cared. I’m excited about continuing this journey and thanks for the opportunity to keep connected to this community.