This trip is geared toward industry professionals and those looking to enter the industry who want to deepen their knowledge base and make professional connections. If talk of fermentation and exporting interests you as a layperson, though, let's talk.
Ecuador is a well-developed South American country, with decent roads and good political climate. Still, this is a road trip! And we'll be off the beaten path at times, heat, bugs and humidity are de rigeur, driving is much more aggressive and dangerous, and being physically fit is essential to enjoy all activities. If you wouldn't go camping, you're likely to be uncomfortable on this trip.
Absolutely! You'll get an excellent sense of how things work, what's available, what's on the horizon and more. Some producers have cacao available.
The per-person cost of the first trip is a bit dependent on the size of the group, but expect your cost to run between $150-$200/day. This includes breakfast, meals, lodging, transportation, translator, guides, experts, tour fees, entry fees, park donation and the work invested in pulling this all together. It doesn't include airfare, travel insurance, alcohol, guide/translator/driver tips, medical care, incidental expenses or shopping.
Expect more than one trip next year, and more than one itinerary. A trip in May is on the horizon, for example. Please send a message about your interest on the Future Trips link.
Lucky for you, most of the people involved in this project are fluent in English. Even better, Nicole Martinetti will not only help guide the tour, she'll translate. She's fluent in cacao as well as Spanish.