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Origins: Guatemalan Cacao Tour - Western Highlands, Nov 2023

Join Soul Lift Cacao founder Nick Meador in November on a 7-day adventure through the Western Highlands of 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 seven 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.


  • 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 circle 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, Nov 12 to lunch on Sat, Nov 18
    • 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.


  • Sat, Nov 11 - 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 9pm 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.
    • Transfer from/to the airport to the hotel is covered by the hotel if arranged in advance. Otherwise Uber is the best/safest/cheapest way to get around (to the hotel it's about $4 USD)
  • Sun, Nov 12 and Mon, Nov 13 - Visit cacao farms in Suchitepéquez
  • Tues, Nov 14 - Travel to Lake Atitlan and check in at Eco Hotel Uxlabil Atitlán.
  • Weds, Nov 15 - Exploring San Juan la Laguna to learn about Mayan textile weaving and participate in a traditional ceremony
  • Thurs, Nov 16 and Fri, Nov 17 - Visiting cacao collectives in San Marcos la Laguna: (1) Catarina who toasts Springs, Ullulawl, and Mama Amor cacaos. (2) Visiting the Lavalove Cacao shop. (3) Tour of the Ruk’u’x Ulew (Heart of the Earth) women’s cacao collective
  • Sat, Nov 18 - Experience a Mayan fire ceremony
    • Sat night: Arrive back in Guatemala City
  • Sun, Nov 19 - 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.




    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 - Eco Hotel Uxlabil Atitlán, a beautiful yet humble lodge right on the lake shore near San Juan la Laguna.
    • All lodging options have been carefully selected based on Nick’s extensive experience with traveling in Guatemala.


    • 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 our hotel.
    • Pick-up trucks will be available to carry people uphill/downhill to cacao farms when necessary.


    Shared Lodging - $1,700 USD per person

    Private Couple  - $1,850 USD per person

    Private Individual - $2,000 USD per person

    • Payment can be all at once, or you can save your spot with a $600 deposit.

    First two people to register get $100 off their total price

    • Payments by credit/debit card, Venmo, or Paypal are subject to a 2.9% service fee. Options to avoid the fee include paying by Zelle or wire transfer.

    • 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 November 5, 2023.

      • 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.


      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.


      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. And currently it's stable in the context of Latin American politics.

      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. 


      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 with any questions.

      LODGING PHOTOS (subject to change)

      La Inmaculada (2 nights in Guatemala City):


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




      Eco Hotel Uxlabil Atitlán (Lake Atitlán lodging):






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