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Origins: Guatemalan Cacao Tour - December 2022

Join Soul Lift Cacao founder Nick Meador this December 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 only way to truly appreciate the superfood and plant ally that is ceremonial cacao.

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 three 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 fire ceremonies with cacao, led by Mayan guides
  • 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
  • All meals from breakfast on Sun, Dec 11 to dinner on Sat, Dec 17
    • Vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options
    • No lunch included on the "free day" Weds, Dec 14 (see below)
    • On the 2 days/3 nights at Lake Atitlán, organized meals will be vegetarian only for food safety reasons (more info below)

ITINERARY: *

  • Sat, Dec 10 - 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.
  • Sun, Dec 11 - Depart Guatemala City at 8am. Visit Nuevo Amanecer women’s cacao collective, who grow Mama Amor cacao.
    • Sun night: Arrive at hotel in Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa.
  • Mon, Dec 12 - Visit the farm where Springs cacao is grown and experience a workshop on sustainable agroforestry from Cacao Source.
  • Tues, Dec 13 - Visit the cacao farm of Izaias Mendoza, founder of Lavalove, and enjoy a Mayan fire ceremony in the cacao trees.
    • Tues night: Arrive in San Marcos la Laguna.
  • Weds, Dec 14 - Free day to rest or explore in San Marcos or another village at Lake Atitlán.
  • Thurs, Dec 15 and Fri, Dec 16 - Visits with Ruk’u’x Ulew women’s cacao collective, the Lavalove Cacao workshop, Catarina (who toasts Springs, Ullulawl, and Mama Amor cacao varieties), and Rene (the maker of Fuego cacao).
  • Sat, Dec 17 - Experience a Mayan fire ceremony with cacao with Ixquik Lopez Zavala and her family in Santa Lucia Utatlán.
    • Sat night: Arrive back in Guatemala City.
  • Sun, Dec 18 - Fly out of the Guatemala City airport or continue traveling on your own

*Note: Specific activities and lodgings are subject to change 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.

CLICK HERE TO EXPAND THE MAP

    LODGING:

    • Guatemala City nights - Quetzalroo, a simple yet comfortable traveler’s hostel in upscale Zona 10 of the capital city.
    • Cacao Farm nights - Hotel Santiaguito in Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa. All rooms have A/C (it's more hot and humid there), and there’s a swimming pool.
    • San Marcos nights - Private rooms at Kula Maya, a brand new boutique hotel with a swimming pool right on the banks of Lake Atitlán. Shared rooms will either be at Kula Maya or the nearby, lush Eco Hotel La Paz, a landmark in San Marcos for decades.
    • All lodging options have been carefully selected based on Nick’s extensive experience with traveling in Guatemala.

    Scroll to the bottom of the page for lodging photos!

    GROUND TRANSPORTATION:

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

    REGISTRATION – LIMITED TO 12 PARTICIPANTS!

    Shared Lodging - $1,700 USD per person

    Private Couple  - $1,850 USD per person

    Private Individual - $2,000 USD per person

    Options to save your spot:

    • Pay a deposit of $500 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).
    • Set up automatic installments with ShopPay. To pay with installments:
      • Select a "full registration" option, proceed to checkout, and look for the ShopPay button.
      • Only the 3-month installment plan is allowed.
      • A debit card is required.
      • Interest will be added onto the total, but the advantage is that you don't have to think about it. (NOTE: If ShopPay installments are not completed, it could impact your credit score. More info here.)
    • Whichever option you choose, the full trip balance must be paid by November 1, 2022.

    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.

    During our time at Lake Atitlán, arranged meals will be vegetarian only (with vegan options) due to the limitations of food refrigeration in rural Guatemala. Eggs will be available everywhere we go.

    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

    Quetzalroo (2 nights in Guatemala City):

    Hotel Santiaguito (2 nights near cacao farms):

     

    Kula Maya (private San Marcos lodging, 3 nights):

    Eco-Hotel La Paz (San Marcos overflow lodging):

     

     


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