Cotton Tree interns had the opportunity to travel to San Pedro to help out the community schools with the fledling Reef View Education Center. In collaboration with Blue Tang Inn, which is creating a program to send college students to Belize to volunteer in schools, the interns visited six schools on the island. At the schools, the interns had the opportunity to interview the principles about specific needs, as well as wish lists for supplies. Photographs of classrooms and students were taken at each of the schools for the Reef View Education Center's website, to generate further interest in the project. The school visits were interesting, and the interns had a great time learning about education on the island. Cotton Tree was glad to be able to help out this new program promoting education in the country of Belize.
Stay tuned to hear about the non-governmental organization (NGO) that Cotton Tree is launching to help out the villages surrounding the lodge. We have an intern here from France who is hard at work getting the program set up, which will give guests the opportunity to give back to the neighboring communities.
It has been HOT here in Belize. A tropical, humid, wonderful, Belizean kind of heat. Here at the lodge, we always have ways to cool down. Go for a swim, swing in a hammock to enjoy a cool breeze, or grab a cold drink from the bar. Now we have a spot that combines all of these elements... introducing our NEW riverside bar! With a vision, some excellent ideas, and a lot of hard work from our local crew, Cotton Tree Lodge now has an outdoor bar right next to the Moho River. Complete with hammocks, music, chairs, a thatch roof, drink specials, and tiki torches, this is the place to be on a hot afternoon. Guests have been enjoying appetizers down here for the last several afternoons and it really is quite a magical spot to relax. Order a drink while never leaving that hammock or take a beer with you out on a tube while you float on the river. This bar brings relaxation to a whole new level. Come join us!
A whole week filled with chocolate?! Yes, please. Chocolate Week at Cotton Tree Lodge brings together chocolate-lovers, cacao experts, and industry insiders for a week spent learning about the source of chocolate and exploring the beautiful surroundings. There is no better place to learn about where chocolate begins than here at Cotton Tree surrounded by the cacao trees that provide the beans.
This week brought people together from as far as Boston, Vermont, Berkeley, and Belize. In addition to learning about all about cacao, participants had plenty of chance to relax and adventure to beautiful locales like Blue Creek Cave to get the full experience of Southern Belize. Back at the lodge, presentations and informal talks ensued with discussions ranging from sourcing and fair trade, to high-end artisan chocolate.
Most importantly, chocolate and cacao products were consumed. Chocolate-makers from around the US brought samples of their chocolate to share with each other. Participants had the chance to try traditional Mayan chocolate and the famous “hot chocolate” drink that is being made right here in Belize. There was even a chocolate and cacao liqueur tasting where guests had the chance to sample chocolate and cacao liqueur that neighbors of Cotton Tree are making with local cacao.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. Chocolate week comes to a close here at Cotton Tree Lodge, and we look forward to next year when we can do it all over again.
We are so delighted to have the Road Scholars here with us this week! This group always brings a good vibe to the lodge and these folks are no exception. It's neat to see a group of people from all over the US get to know each other over the course of a week and form a bond. These folks hail from Seattle, Minnesota, Boston, and North Carolina and we have so enjoyed getting to know them.
This week has been action-packed so far and highlights include visiting the ancient Mayan ruins at both Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun, visiting Rio Blanco National Park, ziplining, and river tubing. Afternoons have been spent in the gazebo listening to a variety of speakers address current issues facing the country and the people of Belize. A drink in hand for these talks is optional, but many have opted to start happy hour along with the educational lectures.
The Road Scholars only have one full day left, but are still looking forward to visiting Eladio's farm and learning all about how his family grows cacao trees and produces raw chocolate from plant to bar. The last evening will be topped off with a sunset river cruise down the Moho. Friday will come too fast, but we hope to keep in touch with these Road Scholars and see their faces here at Cotton Tree again in the future.