BFREE in Belize: Yoga, Cacao, & Adventure Eco- Retreat

April 28 - May 4, 2019

At the BFREE Biological Field Station in southern Belize

Join Wildflowers Yoga as we venture to Central America for a 7-Day/6-Night Yoga Retreat. We have teamed up with BFREE, a non-profit based in Gainesville, FL operating an active biological research-station in southern Belize. BFREE aims to promote environmental education and scientific research in the heart of the Mayan Mountains. Their more than 1,100 acres of privately protected land is home to an organic, shade-grown cacao agroforest, a breeding and research facility for the critically endangered Central American River Turtle, and numerous hiking trails through lush tropical forests teaming with wildlife.

Our adventure includes an overnight at the Tropical Education Center upon arrival and an up-close encounter of Belize’s resident critters with a tour of the Belize Zoo known as the “best little Zoo in the world!” We will then travel south to southern Belize where our 4-nights at the BFREE Biological Research Station begins. Surrounded by the largest continuous expanse of tropical rain forest north of the Amazon, we will need to hike in the 6-miles to reach BFREE from the nearest highway (gear transported by 4x4 truck). The walk includes breathtaking scenery, impeccable bird-watching and ends with cooling off in the crystal-clear, freshwater river bordering BFREE. Time to relax, explore, and immerse ourselves in one of last remaining unspoiled wilderness areas of its kind. We wrap up our time in Belize spending our final night on the Caribbean coast in the quaint and colorful beach town of Placencia.

This eco-adventure retreat is for the curious and adventurous while still leaving plenty of room for R&R. Offerings include, twice daily guided yoga practices, cooking classes, lounging in hammocks and swim breaks in crystal-clear rivers.

HOSTS: Wildflowers Yoga and BFREE

DATES: April 28 - May 4, 2019

ITINERARY: Scheduled activities are optional and you may sign-up each day to participate. Participants can enjoy as much free time as they like to swim, relax in a hammock, read, nap, explore the many nature trails or the BFREE organic garden and orchard. You can choose to work alongside BFREE farmers in the shade-grown, organic cacao agroforest, learn from an award-winning chocolate chef how to make delicious and healthy meals using cacao, take guided night hikes to search for nocturnal animals, or climb the 112-foot observation tower to watch the sunrise or sunset above the rainforest canopy. This is your adventure!


Itinerary

Day 1 – Sunday, April 28               Arrival/Tropical Education Center (TEC)

Arrive at Phillip W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City no later than 2PM. You will be greeted by a BFREE tour guide and van for transportation to your first accommodation. Spend the night at the Tropical Education Center, accommodations adjacent to the Belize Zoo. Settle in and explore the many nature trails, or relax by the pool prior to dinner. Following dinner visit the Belize Zoo, “The best little zoo in the world” for a night tour featuring the many nocturnal animals of Belize. The Belize Zoo keeps animals which were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, or rehabilitated animals. Return to TEC for the evening.

Day 2- Monday, April 29                  BFREE Field Station

Morning Meditation followed by Morning Flow Yoga. Breakfast in the TEC dining hall then pack up and board the van and head south arriving at the BFREE entrance road. Prepare for your 6 mile hike to BFREE. Gear will be transported in by BFREE vehicle. You will travel through several distinct habitats, each with unique plants and animals that occur there including tropical savannah, the transition zone, and lowland broadleaf tropical rainforest. Arrive at BFREE and settle into the bunkhouse or cabins. Meet in the Cool Spot for a BFREE orientation, including health and safety followed by an evening Cacaoga Class. Dinner. Following dinner discussion on the coming days. Sleep at BFREE Field Station.

Day 3 – Tuesday, April 30              BFREE Field Station

Morning Meditation followed by Morning Flow Yoga. Breakfast. Tour the BFREE facilities and trails including the Hicatee Conservation & Research Center (HCRC), a breeding and research facility focusing on the Hicatee, a critically endangered freshwater turtle. Learn about the captive breeding program and the challenges this rare turtle is facing due to over-harvesting for its meat. Then visit the 15 acre Cacao Agroforest for a tour and discussion on how chocolate is helping save the rainforest. Lunch. Free time to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Bladen River, take a dip in the Blue Pool, or relax in a hammock. In afternoon, meet in the dining room for an introduction in making chocolate. Cacaoga class. Dinner. Optional guided night hike to search for nocturnal animals.

Day 4 – Wednesday, May 1           BFREE Field Station

Morning meditation followed by Morning Flow Yoga. After breakfast, optional opportunity to join BFREE staff for a rainforest hike to learn more about birds, wildlife and the forest, as well as how the Maya use the forest both past and present. Swim in the crystal clear waters of the Bladen River. Return to BFREE in the early afternoon. Optional opportunity to work alongside Chef Gomier as he explores the many uses of cacao in cooking for a delicious and healthy dinner. Free time to swim, relax, or help in preparation for dinner learning how to make traditional tortillas. Cacao and Cacaoga class. Dinner, then hang out to watch BFREE’s own documentary, “Hope for Belize’s Hicatee.”

Day 5 – Thursday, May 2          BFREE Field Station

Morning meditation followed by Morning Flow Yoga. Breakfast. Tour of the BFREE Garden and Orchard. Free time. Lunch. Make cohune nut jewelry to take home as a souvenir. Free time to swim, relax, nap, or assist BFREE staff in the Cacao Agroforest to harvest cacao. Optional opportunity to work alongside Chef Gomier as he explores the many uses of cacao in cooking for a delicious and healthy dinner. Cacao and Cacaoga class. Walk to the 112 Foot Fire-Tower to experience sunset over the rainforest. Dinner. Optional guided night hike.

Day 6 – Friday, May 3           Placencia

Morning meditation followed by Morning Flow Yoga. Breakfast. Prepare for hike out of BFREE. Gear transported by van. Picnic lunch provided. Drive a short distance to Independence Village and board the bus for a 15 minute boat ride to Placencia. Settle into hotel. Lunch. Free time to swim in the ocean or explore the colorful shops and cafes of Placencia. Evening Yoga Flow on the beach. Dinner on your own, enjoy one of the many oceanfront restaurants in Placencia. Sleep in hotel in Placencia.

Day 7 – Saturday, May 4                  Departure Day

Early morning transportation by van provided from Placencia to the Phillip W. Goldson International Airport in Belize for flights after 11AM. For those with earlier flights, domestic flights from Maya Island Air from Placencia to Belize International can be purchased. For those wishing to stay in Belize longer can add additional nights to the hotel reservation and van transportation can also be arranged for your departure date at an additional cost.