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Live in a sustainable eco lodge deep in the Belizean jungle and help 14 sustainable farming, Mayan families in rural Belize

Program Highlights:

  • Live in an exotic eco lodge in the jungle, alongside a beautiful river
  • Assist Mayan farming families in harvesting cacao and making chocolate for export
  • Work with farms which are both organic and sustainable
  • Enjoy river sunset cruises, snorkeling adventures, cave explorations and more in your free time
  • Combine this program with our Private Island Marine Experience for a complete, in-water and on-land Belize volunteer adventure
Your Schedule at a Glance:

Day 1, Saturday: Arrive into Punta Gorda Airport (PND). Volunteers will be picked up from the airport and taken to the eco lodge to settle in. Volunteers can enjoy the rest of the day relaxing at the lodge.

Day 2, Sunday: Free day for volunteers to relax or to join an adventure add-on at a reduced rate! (See "Travel Highlights" below for a few recommendations!)

Days 3-6, Monday-Friday: Rewarding morning volunteer work at the cacao farms and with the local chocolate maker. Volunteers have the afternoons and evenings free.

Day 6, Saturday: Volunteers staying for just one week will be taken to the airport for departure. Free day for volunteers extending their stay.

 
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Location of the Project:  Punta Gorda, Toledo District, Belize
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Project length:  Min 1 week - Max 12 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Punta Gorda Airport (PND). NOTE: All international flights arrive into the Belize Airport (BZE). GoEco offers an special package to assist in booking round trip in-country flights to Punta Gorda. Please inquire with us for logistics and added pricing.
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Volunteer Work:  Farming, agriculture
Age:  Minimum age of 18. Children under 18 may apply, but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 58 international volunteers
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Important Note:  The cacao harvesting high season is from January until early July, but there is plenty of work to do year-round. This program welcomes families.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared rooms at a eco lodge
Food:  Three meals per day
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Airport Transfers:  Airport transfers are provided on both arrival and departure days
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Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, personal expenses.

Belize lies on the eastern coast of Central America and consists of a mainland plus a variety of cayes. Several of these are a part of the Toledo District, which is the southernmost district of Belize, and is truly a hidden gem. There are numerous traditional Mayan villages, turquoise waterfalls, winding rivers and dewy green rainforest waiting to be explored. Punta Gorda is the main city of the district and a sea port. It is very similar to Belize City, only smaller, with a more homey feel.

As a volunteer you will divide your time between a cacao farm and the workshop of a local chocolate maker. The local organisation seeks to create sustainable agricultural and food processing jobs. The cacao farm began planting in 2016 and the first major harvest will be in 2019. All cacao is organic, shade grown, hand-processed and sun-dried. The cacao harvesting high season is from January until early July, but there is plenty of work to do all year- round. If you are someone who enjoys hands-on work as well as chocolate, this is a great project for you!

At the cacao farm placement, volunteers will work side by side with farmers, providing support and participating in every step of the growing and processing, including weeding, planting shade trees, pruning, and harvesting the cacao pods, as well as helping with the fermentation and drying of the cacao beans and processing of the juice inside the cacao pod that are sold in both the national and international market.

When working with the local chocolate maker, volunteers are involved with the roasting, winnowing, and grinding of the cacao bean as well as depositing, molding, and wrapping the finished chocolate bars.

Some of your tasks may include:

  • Weeding
  • Planting shade trees
  • Harvesting cacao pods
  • Roasting, winnowing and grinding cacao beans
  • Molding and wrapping chocolate bars

A typical day: Volunteers will work from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM Monday-Friday and have both afternoons and weekends free.

Add to your volunteering experience by extending your Belize trip with our Private Island Marine Experience!

Internet
Internet:  WiFi is not available, but volunteers can rent cell phones with hotspots and data for an additional fee.
Laundry
Laundry:  Laundry is available for an additional fee.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Volunteers will be in shared, single-gender rooms with up to three other people within an eco resort that is situated along 100 acres of the Moho River bank. There is a custom yoga studio on the entire top floor of the Garden Vista. The space is constructed with all-natural materials and has a grand view over the entire valley. It is available for guest use 24/7. Volunteers can upgrade to a private room for an additional fee. Transport from the lodge to work sites is provided every weekday.
Food:  Three meals per day are included. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and other special diets can be accommodated with advance notice. Tap water at the lodge is filtered and safe to drink.
Please take note of this program's minimum requirements:
  • Basic level of English
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Ability to work outside and in the sun for up to four hours at a time
Volunteers can take part in over 12  select activities and tours at a reduced rate! These activities can be arranged by the eco lodge and just a few examples include the following:
  • Sunset river cruise
  • River tubing or jungle kayaking
  • Fishing in the Caribbean or local rivers
  • Jungle survival tour
  • Mayan cultural experience
  • Snorkeling
  • Tiger Cave exploration
  • Mountain hikes
  • Spice farm tour
  • Creole cooking and drumming
  • Medicianl plant walk
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