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Origins: Guatemalan Cacao Tour - March 2023

Join Soul Lift Cacao founder Nick Meador in March on a 7-day adventure through Guatemala to visit cacao farms and collectives who make some of the world’s best ceremonial cacao.

Seeing all the stages from tree to cup at the origin is the best way to truly appreciate this superfood and plant ally, and to grasp the difference when cacao is prepared at the source using ancient indigenous methods.

This is also an opportunity to meet and thank the people who work hard to make the cacao that you love, and to learn more about Mayan culture first-hand.

Nick has made extensive trips through Guatemala over the last six years and will mindfully curate this journey to be both educational and transformative, with the help of local guides, farmers, and artisans. 

On the trip it will become clear how the true ceremonial cacao is not just a movement for spiritual self-development, but also a movement for ethical international trade and environmental sustainability.

Woven into the texture of the tour will be Nick’s guidance on how to travel responsibly, so that we can have a positive impact in the places we visit.

THIS TRIP INCLUDES: *

  • Tours of two sustainable cacao farms
  • Visits with the Mayan collectives and artisans who make Heart of the Earth (Ruk’u’x Ulew), Lavalove, Springs, Ullulawl, and other varieties of ceremonial cacao
  • At least two ceremonies with cacao, led by Mayan guides
  • A modern cacao journey with Nick to help process anything that comes up, and to demonstrate ethical, respectful way of working with cacao in modern contexts
  • Eight (8) nights lodging (private & shared options)
  • All ground transportation (starting and ending in Guatemala City)
    • Options available for those who need to start or end in Antigua or Lake Atitlán. (There might be additional cost depending on your needs.)
  • Most meals from breakfast on Sun, Mar 19 to lunch on Sat, Mar 25
    • Vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options
    • Some organized meals will only be vegetarian due to limited food supplies in rural Guatemala
    • Due to the unpredictable nature of travel in a developing country, organized meals will happen 2-3 times per day during the tour. Participants will have the option to bring snacks or find more food. There will be no refunds for missed meals.

ITINERARY: *

  • Sat, Mar 18 - Arrive in Guatemala City and meet at the hotel
    • NOTE: Airfare is not included in the trip package. Please schedule your flight to arrive at La Aurora Airport (GUA) by 11pm on Saturday at the latest. The hotel is only 10 minutes from the airport.
    • You might want to consider arriving a day early, since international travel is so unpredictable these days. Last time someone missed the first day of the tour due to a flight cancellation.
  • Sun, Mar 19 - Visit Nuevo Amanecer women's collective who grow Mama Amor cacao.
  • Mon, Mar 20 - Visit the farm where Springs cacao is grown and experience a workshop on sustainable agroforestry from Cacao Source.
  • Tues, Mar 21 - Bird tour at Los Tarrales nature reserve. (Possible other activities TBD)
    • Tues night: Arrive at Lake Atitlán
  • Weds, Mar 22 - Fri, Mar 25 - Visiting cacao collectives in San Marcos la Laguna, Lake Atitlan, who toast and peel Heart of the Earth, Lavalove, Springs, Ullulawl, and Mama Amor cacao
    • Bonus: visit to a natural dye textile cooperative in San Juan la Laguna
  • Sat, Mar 25 - Experience a fire and tobacco ceremony with cacao with Ixquik Lopez Zavala and her family (makers of La Noche cacao) in Santa Lucia Utatlán.
    • Sat night: Arrive back in Guatemala City
  • Sun, Mar 26 - Fly out of the Guatemala City airport or continue traveling on your own

*Note: Specific activities and lodgings are subject to change as plans for the tour become refined, and also due to factors out of our control. We are doing our best to represent the essence of the tour and what it will involve. We will update the group of any alterations to the plan. If in the unlikely chance that a whole day has to be cut from the itinerary, a partial refund would be issued to participants.

AREA OF TRAVEL:

Western Highlands March 2023
(click to enlarge the map)

 

    LODGING (scroll to the bottom of the page for photos):

    • Guatemala City nights - La Inmaculada, a small, modern hotel in upscale Zona 10 of the capital city.
    • Cacao Farm nights - Los Tarrales, a peaceful nature reserve that also has a working coffee plantation on site.
    • Lake Atitlán nights - Lomas de Tzununa, a secluded retreat center on the northern shore of the lake, overlooking three volcanoes
    • All lodging options have been carefully selected based on Nick’s extensive experience with traveling in Guatemala.

    GROUND TRANSPORTATION:

    • A private bus will take our group from one destination to the next each day.
    • Upon arriving at Lake Atitlán, we'll take a private “lancha” (taxi boat) to get to San Marcos.
    • Pick-up trucks will be available to carry people uphill/downhill to cacao farms when necessary

    REGISTRATION – LIMITED TO 10 PARTICIPANTS. ONLY 3 SPOTS LEFT!

    Shared Lodging - $1,600 USD per person

    Private Couple  - $1,750 USD per person

    Private Individual - $1,900 USD per person

    First two people to register get $100 off their total price - BOTH TAKEN!

    • Prices in the drop menu above include a 2.9% service fee for using credit/debit card or Paypal. See below for other payment options to avoid the fees.

    Options to save your spot:

    • Pay a deposit of $600 now and then manually pay the remaining balance by November 1 (can be one or two payments after the deposit).
    • Pay all at once so you can relax (select "full registration" and use the regular checkout).
    • NOTE: ShopPay automatic installments are not an option for registration.
    Whichever option you choose, if starting with a deposit in advance, the full trip balance will be due by March 10, 2023.

      Due to hefty credit card/Paypal processing fees on our end, Venmo is the preferred payment method and will save you the service fees. You can send Venmo payments to @soulliftcacao. A wire transfer is another option to avoid service fees. You can email nick@soulliftcacao.com for our bank info.

      Because we have to pay deposits to reserve lodging and other activities, registration is non-refundable. Please look into trip insurance if you have any concerns.

      ABOUT NICK MEADOR

      Nick spent years traveling throughout Central America connecting with cacao farms, collectives, and experts. He founded Soul Lift Cacao to create a positive impact in the world by helping Mayan collectives share their cacao in the U.S. and beyond.

      On top of that, Nick has been on a path of facilitation, leadership, and self-development for about a decade. He has trained in various traditions, schools, and lineages for healing and self-development, and looks for the parallels that tie them together. 

      Nick created the Soul Lift Cacao Method to provide an ethical and responsible way to share ceremonial cacao in modern settings, and to create safe containers for transformational journeys. He has been training people to share cacao on their own since 2017.

      HEALTH & SAFETY

      Extensive consideration will be taken for health and safety at every step of the tour.

      Guatemala is a developing nation. However Nick has always felt safe traveling there – sometimes safer than in American cities.

      One factor to consider will be food and water. It’s important to only drink purified water and eat food in clean establishments. All arranged meals on the trip will take this onto consideration.

      Please consult a medical professional if you are curious about potential inoculations and other health considerations for the trip. 

      ETHICS

      Nick Meador is of mixed European heritage and not of Guatemalan or Mayan descent. So he puts a lot of effort into making sure his work is ethical and responsible. Nick works in close partnership with Mayan teachers and cacao workers in an ongoing effort to bridge cacao into the modern world. It's all based on direct, consensual relationship, and an attitude of curiosity about this special plant that has changed Nick's life so profoundly, particularly on his path of healing from chronic illness. As an American who started traveling to Guatemala in 1996, and who has a deep background in facilitation, Nick is in a fitting position to lead this tour for Americans and people from other Western countries. The intention is to bring positive impact for both visitors and our Guatemalan hosts, while minimizing or eliminating potential harm. Feel free to write to hello@soulliftcacao.com with any questions.

      LODGING PHOTOS (subject to change)

      La Inmaculada (2 nights in Guatemala City):

       

      Los Tarrales Nature Reserve (2 nights near cacao farms):

       

       

      Lomas de Tzununa (Lake Atitlán lodging):

       

       

       

       

       


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