Day One Of the Belize Chocolate Festival: Arrival in Punta Gorda, The Wine & Chocolate Party and More

After one day and two nights in beautiful Placenca, yesterday morning I hopped on the 9am express bus for the 1.5 hour hop to Punta Gorda.   (I don’t why more people don’t do a Placencia/Punta Gorda combination trip…fantastic way to experience Belize is you have just limited time.  Beach + fantastic restaurants of Placencia and the wildife + wild beauty + culture + diversity of Punta Gorda?  But that’s another blog.)

Once setting foot in Punta Gorda, I stopped at the always MAGNIFICENT MayaBag shop, work room and office.  I met Judy, the owner and creator and then just gawked at all the beautiful things the women (and now men are creating).

Just a picture or two, this is about chocolate festival!


This photo taken yesterday by my friend Christine.


I then stopped to drop off my bag at Hickatee Cottages.  Room Number Three.

IMG_6116 IMG_6115

I then went way up in the hills to the tiny village of Columbia, Toledo to visit the largest commercial butterfly farm in the world.  YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY BUTTERFLIES.   Thousands and thousands are shipping out each week…in pupae form.   But…I’ll have to tell you more about that too.  Here’s a picture of the view…


And just one of THOUSANDS of butterflies.  I think he winked at me.

IMG_6121This whole area…Punta Gorda… is absolutely amazing to me.  SO so beautiful.  But it was time to get ready for the night’s event.

My friend JC from Belikin Beer brought a case of the new Galaxy beer from Bowen & Bowen.  A special release for the San Pedro wedding of Sir Barry Bowen’s youngest child, Courtney.  She marries tonight in San Pedro.


We all headed out to the party at Garbutt’s Marina just on the edge of Punta Gorda.

IMG_6153The crowd was big and got bigger and bigger as the night went on.  The master of ceremonies and representatives from the Cacao Growers Association and the BTIA made some quick speeches.


Though it was officially a wine event, there was plenty of the Belikin Chocolate Stout flowing…


This picture does it NO justice but this gorgeous flower arrangement was the center piece of the upstairs area.  It has a fishing pole through it and is dangling with fishing lures.



The obviously talented creator moved here from the states a few years ago and opened a farm/bed&breakfast called Sirmoor Hill Farm.  Something to look into…

Some San Pedro friends…sorry about the dodgy picture.  I pretty much forced them to do an over the shoulder shot.

IMG_6168Fresh from a bit of buying spree at MayaBags too!  (Well…mine was more a window shopping spree.)

IMG_6169And then chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.  The Belize Chocolate Company, Cotton Hill chocolate…there were four different tables with ENDLESS samples.

My photos are not so hot.  It was dark!  And so is chocolate!


The beautiful Anita who hosted me at the Living Maya Experience in November (read about it in my post:  Experience Mayan Culture in Southern Belize).  This is Anita with her oldest son.    Oldest of TEN!


The food they were passing around was delicious.  Conch fritters, shrimp, lion fish…it just kept coming.

JC from Belikin and Shera.

IMG_6181The band from Corozal was pretty amazing and by the end of the night everyone was dancing…

Throughout the night, I remained pretty obsessed with these giant coasters from Belikin.  Did you know that your ice bucket needed a coaster too?  I did not.  But now that I think of it…it makes perfect sense.

It also makes a great fan.

IMG_6188Fun night, great music, LOTS of chocolate and wine and fun to meet and just see a whole new group of people.

Today is the street festival in downtown Punta Gorda, followed by 7pm fireworks.

Now if it would ONLY stop raining…tough to take 10000 pictures in the rain.


Follow the official Page on Facebook for the Chocolate Festival of Belize for more.