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Finca „Don Peter“
Coordinates: 15.607299, -88.624930
Total area: 180 hectares
Height above sea level: Finca buildings 72 metres above sea level
Finca’s highest point 220 metres above sea level
Cocoa variety: Criollo “Indio Rojo / Mayan Red”
Number of cocoa trees: 23,500 (last update: June 2017)
Number of employees: 4
“Don Peter” is situated around 30km from Morales and 25km from Puerto Barrios, home to Guatemala’s two Caribbean ports. Having reached the 273km point from the capital Guatemala City, the Finca can be found by leaving the Carretera Atlantico and turning left in Sinai. Located in a picturesque river valley, the Finca comes into view around 7km down the road.
45 hectares of the overall area is currently filled with cocoa trees of the “Indio Rojo / Mayan Red” variety, whilst 25 hectares is devoted to a state-sponsored reforestation programme. Two areas covering 31 hectares comprise protected original rain forest. The remaining land is divided into areas for future cocoa cultivation and grazing land for 70 cattle and 7 horses.
The cocoa trees grow among banana plants, mango, orange, lime and grapefruit trees, as well as yucca and avocado trees. The Finca is home to numerous species of wild animals and birds – including howler monkeys, jaguars, parrots and toucans – as well as insects and reptiles, such as scorpions, tarantulas, iguanas and the extremely venomous Barba Amarilla snake (Bothrops Asper).
“Don Peter” is named after Carla’s husband Peter Stahle, with whom she bought the Finca in 2008 and who died far too young in 2013. Before his death, Peter planned and built the large main house at the heart of the Finca. This is the family home which boasts a large patio area for guests and parties.
In future, “Don Peter” will also be used for tourism. Day tourists arriving on their cruise ships in the nearby port of Puerto Santo Tomas de Castilla, can spend a day at the Finca, observing the staff at work on the plantation, making chocolate from raw cocoa “the Mayan way” and rounding off the day with a BBQ and cool beer, before returning to their cruise liner. Plans are also in the pipeline to build bungalows for nature lovers wanting to spend a few days in this scenic landscape. The Finca is the perfect base for extended treks: on foot, on horseback or on a mountain bike. It is also an oasis of calm and the perfect place for recharging the batteries. There is nothing more relaxing than lying in a hammock in front of the bungalow and enjoying the sounds of the rain forest. A small restaurant provides guests with local and international specialities.
Coordinates: 15.467318, -88.945287
Total area: 50 hectares
Height above sea level: Finca building 114 metres above sea level
Finca’s highest point 447 metres above sea level
Cocoa variety: Criollo “Indio Rojo / Mayan Red“
Number of cocoa trees: 56,400 (last update: June 2017)
Number of employees:10
“Virginia” Finca is located close to the eponymous village between Morales and Quirigua, home to some impressive Mayan ruins. The Finca can be reached by leaving the Carretera Atlantico at the 228km point from the capital Guatemala City. The Finca is nestled in steep terrain.
Compared to its sister estate, the cocoa trees at “Virginia” are slightly older and are situated in a natural setting among banana plants and mango, papaya and orange trees as well as in the shade of giant trees and coconut palms. The nearby “Lake Izabal”, Guatemala’s biggest inland lake, and regular rainfall create a hot and humid climate and thus perfect growing conditions for cocoa. The steep terrain provides well drained soil, which is of great benefit given that cocoa trees do not tolerate standing water.
The buildings at the Finca are used to accommodate seasonal workers and for processing the harvested cocoa.