Cacao Ceremony: What It Is + Main Benefits

Person Holding A Cacao

When hosting a retreat in Costa Rica or simply attending one, the more spiritually healing events you can partake in is the cacao ceremony. Our staff offers the opportunity for you to enjoy your own cacao ceremony to refresh your mind, body, and spirit. 

But what is a cacao ceremony, and what can you expect during one? Partaking in this ceremony by enjoying cacao beans and drinking cacao is a cleansing experience with a long, storied history. Below, we explain the process of enjoying ceremonial-grade cacao and what you, along with the other members of your retreat, can expect from your cacao ceremony.

At Vajra Jahra Retreat Center, we offer pure cacao during our ceremonies, along with our own ceremonial cacao recipe. Enjoy this moment with friends, loved ones, or team members when you host a spiritual or wellness retreat with us. 

What is a Cacao Ceremony? 

At its heart, a cacao ceremony is a chance to open your heart. This process may include extended meditation, intention setting, or creating art. The specifics of your ceremony may depend on the benefits of cacao you want to receive and the purpose of your retreat overall. 

This ceremony includes drinking ceremonial cacao made from whole cacao beans or partaking in cacao nibs or cacao butter. But a cacao ceremony would not be such a special experience if this was all we offered. 

So what do you need to know about this ceremony before you partake? Understanding the history and what we can offer during your retreat can help you prepare for this special experience. 

Cultural Roots of the Cacao Ceremony

Thousands of years ago, the ancient Mayans, Aztecs, and other cultures of South America enjoyed a ceremony much like ours using the beans of the Theobroma cacao tree. These cacao ceremonies hold medicinal and cultural significance for the indigenous people performing them, as the cacao tree and cocoa beans are revered for their many special properties. Today, we use heirloom strains of cacao beans that are as close as possible to these ancient traditions.

Many of the people of Central and South America found not only spiritual benefits but also health benefits from this ritual. By partaking in pure cacao paste and other byproducts of the cacao tree, they were able to enjoy benefits like improved blood flow. 

What Can I Expect When I Participate? 

Participating in ancient rituals can give you a better understanding of the cultures that came before. Because of this, we adhere to certain traditional standards you might expect in ancient cultures, though we offer these services with beautiful modern amenities. So what is ceremonial cacao, and what can you expect? 

First, this is not like the chocolate you will find in chocolate bars. This is cacao in its purest form, a cacao paste also called cacao liquor. This paste is created with no additives, nothing but whole cacao beans minimally processed until the moment before the powder splits from the cacao butter. 

It is also typically not sweetened or flavored with ingredients like maple syrup, raw honey, or cayenne pepper, though ancient cultures often enjoyed it this way in their day-to-day lives. 

When you arrive for this spiritual practice, your chocolate shaman will begin by preparing you mentally for the journey you are about to undergo. They may also tell you a little about where the raw cocoa came from and the rich history of this bean before you take your first sips of warm cacao. 

Once you have enjoyed your raw cacao drink, the shaman will guide you through this ceremony to get the most out of this spiritual ritual.

Person Holding Caco By A Fire

Cacao’s Spiritual Significance

Cacao has been used in many spiritual ceremonies, dating back to the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. But why cacao? The answer lies in the effects of cacao, which can bring both new calmness and mental energy. However, unlike caffeine, this energy is calmer and more meditative. 

According to Mayan legend, the cacao pod was considered a gift from the gods. Because of this, the pods were used for their medicinal and ceremonial properties. While the religion of the Mayans may not be part of your spiritual practice, these rituals can be of great value to those seeking to deepen their spiritual practices.

Going on a spiritual journey? Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, a cacao ceremony can provide ritual practice, which can help bring mental clarity and peace as well as the specific medicinal properties of cacao. A look at our cacao ceremonies can demonstrate just how much this process can impact your spiritual standing.

Vajra Jahra Retreat Center’s Approach to the Cacao Ceremony

When approaching participation in a cacao ceremony, you may find multiple avenues and experiences available to you. However, because you have options, you may be unsure what to expect. Our team offers our own specific experience, one built to respect past cultures and provide many of the same effects and benefits in the present.

When you host a wellness retreat at Vajra Jahra Retreat Center, you can expect your cacao ceremony to follow many of the traditions of the ancient cultures that first used cacao in their practices. We strive to respect the traditions that came before us and provide a similar, enlightening experience for you. 

You can also expect many other practices, activities, and events to support you before and after your cacao ceremony. Whether you wish to experience nature, express yourself through art, or relax on the beach, we offer flexible options for every type of gathering. 

Benefits of a Cacao Ceremony

You may know of meditation and yoga as restorative, healthy practices. You may also enjoy the sweet, rich taste of chocolate. But how can you expect a cacao ceremony to benefit you? 

First, a cacao ceremony is heightened by the cacao itself. Cacao or chocolate can have mood-boosting effects as well as chemicals that can help boost mental clarity, provide energy, or help soothe your mind. When engaging in any sort of ritual or ceremony, being able to clear your mind, focus, and relax is important. Cacao can help with this element of your ritual.

A cacao ceremony can also give you new insight into the ancient cultures of South and Central America. Experiencing these rituals can help you better understand them and bridge the gap between the ancient and the modern.

Cacao can impact multiple facets of your personal growth. Below are just a few examples of the specific changes you may be looking for when planning your cacao ceremony.


When people choose to enjoy a spiritual or wellness retreat with us, one of the biggest concerns they have is how a cacao ceremony can aid in physical health and how it increases wellness for those who partake in it. Discussion of the cacao ceremony’s stimulating effects focuses on the spiritual growth of participants, but it can have a powerful effect on your physical health.

First, cacao can be great for your cardiovascular health. Eating high-quality, unsweetened cacao can lower your blood pressure over time. Continuing this practice after your ceremony can support your health journey. Cacao is a more grounded energy source and may provide a smoother amount of energy, rather than the jitters and crashes of caffeine.

Cacao is part of a long practice of powerful plant medicine, and its spectacular effects on the nervous system are just one part of it. A molecule called theobromine offers some of the stimulation of caffeine, but it can provide other major benefits to your health and even increase blood flow to the brain. That sharpens your mind while impacting your health in major ways.

Person Pouring Cacao


Whether you are seeking to release emotional blockages, overcome difficult emotional experiences, or build a deeper connection with the people around you, the cacao ceremony can open these feelings and allow you the space to have these experiences. Many cultures of Central America used cacao, not just for its sacred connections, but for its emotional growth properties — also called the bliss molecule. 

This molecule can make subtle but important changes to your emotional openness. These changes can help you make the moves toward the emotional state you would like to be in.

This ceremony is excellent for emotional growth and opening up to the people around you. If you struggle with this in your daily life, the ceremonial aspects and the warm, comforting atmosphere of this ceremony can help you access emotional vulnerability that you would not have otherwise had. 


One of the most sought-after effects of the cacao ceremony is the spiritual growth many people feel during this experience. As you complete the steps of the ceremony, you may feel a stronger connection to your spiritual side. Opening yourself up in this way can help you strengthen your spiritual path or forge a new one.

Cacao ceremonies have been used for spiritual guidance for centuries. We use many of the same tools, such as music and meditation, to help you reach these spaces. With the process of the ceremony, the effects of the cacao, and the safe and inviting atmosphere of the ceremony space, you may reach new depths you were not aware of before.

How We Maximize Your Benefits 

When you experience the ceremonial properties of raw cacao, you experience many healing effects stemming from the natural world. But while drinking cacao in its raw form alone can be beneficial, we want to make the most of your cacao ceremony. 

To do that, we strive to make the location of your ceremony a sacred space. Providing the tools and space to fully sink into this experience helps participants savor every moment of this process without worries or strain. That gives them time to process and enjoy the experience. 

We also work hard to maximize the benefits you receive by giving you the fullest picture of who revered cacao and why. We want to center the story of the indigenous cultures that came before, and we find that our retreats provide plenty of relaxation and aid for many of our guests. 

Explore the Benefits of a Cacao Ceremony on Your Next Retreat 

Getting to experience cacao ceremonies, especially with cacao grown on small family farms, can be a special experience. Cacao is more than chocolate. It can provide a boost to your energy that lasts beyond a cup of coffee. Experiencing a cacao ceremony can also help you connect to the indigenous communities of the area and experience some of the same rituals performed by Aztec cultures in the past. 
When you are ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery, reach out to the team at Vajra Jahra Retreat Center to plan your retreat. We offer many options for different group sizes, and our team offers plenty of other opportunities for adventure, rest, relaxation, and personal growth. Are you ready to speak with our team about scheduling and pricing? All you have to do is reach out to us via email at

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