CacaoFest 2012 - Friday 18 May to Sunday 20 May 2012
It's time to stimulate your senses, and head down to Belize's beautiful deep south for the Toledo Cacao Festival. Packed with activities for the young and old alike, CacaoFest pays tribute to the organic cacao farmers and Belizean chocolatiers.
Join us over the Commonwealth Day Holiday Weekend for the Toledo District's celebration of cacao, and our rich cultural heritage - 18th to 20th May 2012!
Wine and Chocolate Night, Friday 18th May
Wine and Chocolate Night includes decadent chocolate creations from Belize's formost chocolatiers - Kakaw, Goss, and Cotton Tree. There'll be sumptuous food and premium wines with a closing firework display!
Taste of Toledo, Saturday 19th May
Saturday's festivities provide visitors with a true Taste of Toledo! Daytime activities in Punta Gorda Town include live music at venues throughout town, a Chocolate Centre at PG's Chocolate Factory, tortilla making at the Fajina House, and art and archaeology exhibits. Savor Belize will be announcing the winner of the Best Chocolate recipe competition, learn about Cacao and Conservation from Toledo's leading NGOs, and learn about cacao production and processing at the Toledo Cacao Growers' Association open day.
Children will enjoy the free Cacao for Kids activities, leaving you free to visit the different activities in Town, knowing that they are safe, supervised, and having fun.
Special Festival tours are offered for those wanting to experience the delights of the District, with Cacao Trail tours, and Sea Toledo snorkelling trips to our beautiful offshore cayes.
Enjoy evening musical performances from some of Toledo's finest musicians at the vairous Culture in Harmony performances around PG Town, or head out to one of our local lodges to enjoy a delicious chocolate-themed dinner.
Culture, music and dance - Sunday 20th May
With its beautiful location at the foothills of the Maya Mountains, views of the Rio Grande and bordered by streams, the ancient Maya site of Lubaantun provides a mystical setting for our grand finale.
Learn more about the "Place of the Fallen Stones: with specialist guided walking tours of the site, and a talk by a renowned archaeologis specialising in ancient Maya history, and then sit back and enjoy a magical contemporary Maya dance performed by the Folkloric Ballet of Quintana Roo, and great steelband music from the Pantempters and the Paneriffix.
Full details of the events are published in the special Festival edition of the Toledo Howler newspaper.
Please use our contact form if you have any questions about the Festival, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Festival Office at 722-2531.
CacaoFest is the product of a committed group of volunteers from the Toledo community, including Toledo Cacao Growers Association and BTIA Toledo, but it would not be possible without the invaluable help and support of our Festival sponsors:
"The Toledo Cacao-Festival Committee was formed in 2006 by members of the Toledo branch of the BTIA and other key stakeholders, to organize an annual community development event.
We seek to raise awareness of the Toledo District and its unique cultural and environmental diversity, promote sustainable tourism throughout the District, and extend the tourist season for the benefit of the entire community."
Our Aims and Objectives
- To organise an annual community CacaoFest, designed to raise awareness of the Toledo District through the development and promotion of a sustainable tourism product
- To increase the number of visitors to the Toledo District to the benefit of the entire community through the 'ripple effect'
- To work with other stakeholders in the Toledo District with similar and comparable interests, including the Toledo Cacao Growers Association, and the BTIA Toledo Chapter in supporting the BTIA's goals of promoting sustainable tourism while maintaining the natural and cultural integrity of Belize.
- To provide a fair and transparent process for businesses to tender for all elements of the Festival which are sub-contracted.
- To assist those local businesses identified as a result of the tender process through the provision of mentoring and training, as necessary, to improve the professionalism and quality of the product.
- To improve the infrastructure and appearance of the area.
- To do all such other lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of any of the above objectives.
How the Festival Makes a Difference
As a responsible tourism event, the Festival draws together a wide range of stakeholders from the community - the cacao farmers, environmental groups, artisans, performers, restaurants, tourism and transportation providers among others. As well as a cultural celebration to help foster a resurgence of ethnic pride, the Festival raises funds for community projects - including the ongoing re-development of Punta Gorda's Central Park, and improvements to the Lubaantun visitors' centre. Marketing workshops are held to develop new product ideas and help the artisans with their packaging, display and selling skills, and the Festival also aims to raise awareness of the Toledo District as a responsible tourism destination, thereby benefitting the community through the associated ripple effect.