Live in a sustainable eco lodge deep in the Belizean jungle and help 14 sustainable farming, Mayan families in rural Belize!
- 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
Day 1, Saturday: Arrive at 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.
What's not Included
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 organization 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:
- 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!
- Basic level of English
- Minimum age of 18
- Ability to work outside and in the sun for up to four hours at a time
- Sunset river cruise
- River tubing or jungle kayaking
- Fishing in the Caribbean or local rivers
- Jungle survival tour
- Mayan cultural experience
- Tiger Cave exploration
- Mountain hikes
- Spice farm tour
- Creole cooking and drumming
- Medicinal plant walk