February 15, 2006
When I gather enough funds, I would love to take a tour of cacao plantations pretty much wherever it is safe & relatively cheap (I'm a starving artist fresh outta college). I have seen various things on the web from agrotourism to ecotourism and getting involved in processing beans with the locals. I would like to know if anyone has ever been on any of these tours, where they went, how much the trip cost them, the best and worst of the tours, and whatever else there is to share. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks in advance for any response
In my experience (which has been limited to parts of the americas and caribbean), there are very few organized tours of cacao plantations, but they're generally quite open to visitors--it's just that it's basically up to you to contact them and organize the visit. You've probably already found the exceptions to this online, like the University of Chocolate...
Keep in mind that any cacao plantation worth its salt will want to know where else you've been visiting, for pest control reasons, and will probably have at least rudimentary field controls like shoe coverings, etc.
What region are you interested in? I might be able to offer some pointers.
February 15, 2006
Grenada chocolate company is terrific and friendly if you can get there, and there are many plantations on Trinidad and in the Dominican Republic (especially Los Ancones) that are great to visit.
In Venezuela, the Chuao cooperative is worth checking out, and there are quite a few spots in the Maracaibo region...in Costa Rica I'd check on Finca Lapa Roja, and there's quite a bit of cacao grown in the Pacure river region these days.
Hope that helps a bit!
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