TLDR? Taking a cacao tour is a great way to explore ecotourism and learn more about how to sustainably check out Medellin.
Experiencing different adventures and unique activities has always been my goal when I go on vacations. And when I booked a trip to Medellin, I knew I had to check out tours to spice up my stay.
I came across a Cacao Day Trip from Expedition Colombia. The activities all seemed new to me, and I was intrigued by what I’ll learn about cacao. Also, it’s an added bonus that I love anything chocolate. So it was definitely a day trip I was looking forward to.
Indeed, it was one of the best day trips I had in Medellin! I learned a lot and had fun, so I’ll share my experience with you! Sit back, relax, and discover Medellin’s best cacao day trip.
An Introduction to Cacao
Before we start talking about the tour, let me take a second to talk about what cacao is. You’re probably confused about whether cacao is the same as cocoa. While both words came from the same classification, there are specific differences between the two.
Cacao refers to the tree where we source our coca. It’s a raw and unrefined bean. After the bean has been roasted, that’s the time when you call it “cocoa”. There are two edible parts to a Cacao plant. These are the fruit and the seeds or beans.
So if you have eaten any chocolate, it’s likely you also have eaten cacao seeds. Cacao seeds are fermented and ground to form a paste. Then, farmers sweeten them while there are manufacturers who add flavoring to some.
The main purpose of cacao is, of course, to make chocolate for us to eat. It’s also made into cacao nibs which bakers use as chocolate confections. They add crunchiness and texture to most pastries.
With the Cacao Day Trip, you’ll experience everything. This includes harvesting cacao seeds and processing them to make your favorite chocolate bars. It’s a memorable day trip that will let you appreciate the hard work and dedication of cacao farmers.
Who is Expedition Colombia?
Before I share my entire Cacao day trip, let me introduce how and where I booked my adventure. I was looking for a tour agency online and landed on Expedition Colombia.
Expedition Colombia is a group of knowledgable guides passionate about Colombia’s tourism. Also, there are professional athletes and conservationists who love exploring and educating tourists.
You might find other tour companies online, but it’s hard to find one like Expedition Colombia. The people behind this company love what they do and are dedicated to preserving Colombia’s beauty.
Why I Chose Expedition Colombia
Yes, it’s my first time booking a tour through Expedition Colombia. But trust me, it was the best decision ever! For one, Expedition Colombia takes you to remote and unique places you’ve never been to. It’s how you will appreciate Colombia’s beauty even more.
Also, I love how this tour company was very hands-on with fixing every aspect of the trip. They always keep in contact with local communities, especially when there’s a scheduled activity. This is a plus because I’m positive that they don’t have the intention of harming the locals.
I also tried to read testimonials online; most clients loved how informative the tours were. This was one of the main reasons why I knew I had to choose Expedition Colombia.
I wanted to learn more about Medellin, Colombia. And I just knew that this tour company would give me what I wanted.
Also, knowing that the tour guides were bilingual was also a plus for me. It’s an excellent way to practice inclusivity among everyone so that no one is left out or discriminated against.
Cost, Transportation, and Booking
Booking a trip from Expedition Colombia was a breeze. The website was very responsive and was quick to load. I browsed through their FAQs so everything would be clearer. My trip was good for a day, so I booked it a day in advance.
Even the payment method was easy. I used my credit card to pay for my reservation, and everything went quickly. You can also pay in cash or transfer to their bank account if you prefer.
For transportation, you have two options. The first option is to commute to the meeting place where you’ll meet your tour guide. You can book a private ride to pick you up from your doorstep.
I went with the second option. It’s more convenient and less hassle. You just have to contact Expedition Colombia directly for rates and pick-up address.
The rates for the Cacao Day Trip are listed below:
Solo Travel (Private) – $879.000 COP
2 Persons (Private) – $659.000 COP each
3 Persons (Private) – $499.000 COP each
Four bigger groups – $359.000 COP each
These prices still don’t include the IVA or value-added tax. The following are the rules regarding IVA:
1. If you’re a foreigner, you’re exempted from it.
2. If you’re a Colombian resident, you’ll be charged 50% of the IVA
3. The full IVA will be charged for agencies and companies.
What the Cacao Day Trip Was Like
With the trip booked and the logistics out of the way, it was time for me to head off on my adventure. Expedition Colombia instructed me to bring the following items:
A pair of hiking shoes
Lightweight hiking pants
Sunblock, sunhat, sunglasses
Refillable water tumbler
We covered a lot on the trip, so buckle up—you’re in for a full eight hours of cacao-themed fun.
The Tour of the Cacao Farm
The first agenda of the trip was to take a tour of the cacao farm. I met my bilingual tour guide on the cocoa farm. It took me two hours to arrive from Medellin’s town proper. I met two farmers who patiently explained what they do and how they harvest cacao.
Even though we were just beginning the tour, I was already enjoying it. I loved how informative and knowledgeable my tour guide was. And the best part was, I think he and the farmers were really good friends.
They worked hand-in-hand in explaining the fruit’s cultivating process. I also learned how cacao fruits have different strains, explaining why not all chocolates taste exactly the same.
Grinding Your Own Cacao Butter
This part was probably my favorite. I was given a chance to grind my own cacao, from the harvested fruit to forming the chocolate candy I love! It was indeed a memorable experience. Also, my guide and the farmers were very approachable whenever I had questions.
The entire process was certainly not easy, especially since it was my first. But believe me when I tell you that it’s worth it. I learned how tedious and challenging the process was. And I appreciated the local farmers even more.
The next time I eat a chocolate bar, I will be thinking about my guide and the two farmers I met.
The Hike Through the Jungle
After exploring the coca farm and grinding my cacao butter, hiking was on the next agenda. We hiked through the jungle nearby, where I saw more of Medellin’s ecosystem. I also witnessed different birds and butterflies, and they were beautiful.
The hike was not very hard, but it was tiring. Don’t forget to bring a refillable water bottle and some snacks to keep you energized during the walk.
Swimming in a Waterfall
The truth is, I was excited about the hike because of the waterfalls at the end. The view was breathtaking, and the air was relaxing. Before I swam in the clear waters, I tried cocoa therapy. It was part of the adventure, and it felt amazing!
Cocoa therapy is a local Colombian therapy to exfoliate the skin with a cocoa bath. It was my first time trying it, and I enjoyed the experience. I loved how my skin felt soft and soothing right after the therapy.
After the cocoa therapy, I jumped directly into the waters for a calm and relaxing swim.
Homemade Traditional Lunch
And, how can I forget the delicious homemade traditional lunch I had? It was prepared by the local community who runs the farm. So expect the food to be purely Colombian. The lunch break was also a time to hear local historical stories.
Our Hike Back and My Final Thoughts
After exploring the cocoa farm, hiking, swimming, and having lunch, it’s time to hike back. Even though the trip was almost ending, I was still able to try more locally made candies and chocolates.
When we were back at the cocoa farm, I took the bus to go home. The entire day trip took 8 hours, but it definitely did not feel that long. Every aspect of the adventure was unique and memorable.
I learned a lot about chocolate-making, making me love this candy even more. The Cacao Day Trip is something I would recommend to my friends and family.
Take a Cacao Tour and Experience a Different Side of Medellin!
Taking a Cacao Tour is a completely different experience. You’ll witness the step-by-step process of cultivating the fruit to make the chocolate bars you eat. If you will visit Medellin anytime soon, be sure to book this trip.
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