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50% higher income for hard-working farmers while delivering better coffee straight to your door.
The coffee trade isn't fair to small-scale farmers. Most earn less than $2,000 per year. That's why we pay a 50% bonus directly to the people creating your coffee, 4 times higher than "fair" trade. Levanta Coffee is now Farmers First Coffee Company.
The coffee trade isn't fair to small-scale farmers. Most earn less than $2,000 per year. That's why we pay a 50% bonus directly to the people creating your coffee, 4 times higher than "fair" trade. Levanta Coffee is now Farmers First Coffee Company.
616 backers pledged $52,638 to help bring this project to life.

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Levanta Coffee—Let's Boost Coffee Farmers' Incomes, Together

$52,638

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Year after year, despite hopes of a better income through programs such as "fair trade," the reality is that many coffee farmers are still barely getting by. As coffee drinkers, can't we do better?

We're Matt Hohler and Robert Durrette. We aim to change this situation by paying a 50% higher price directly to coffee farmers, and then shipping their delicious coffee straight to your door. With your support here on Kickstarter, we're creating Levanta Coffee.

The Spanish word Levanta means wake up—but also rise up.

By waking up each morning with a cup of Levanta Coffee, you’re giving hard-working coffee farmers from Honduras and Peru the opportunity to lift themselves up economically.

We've set a new stretch goal of $50,000 to buy coffee from a third farmer, Emiliano. We still have until Sunday, August 20th at 11:59pm EDT to reach it!

Emiliano, our potential third partner-farmer
Emiliano, our potential third partner-farmer

 

Meeting with Emiliano during our second visit. "When I pick coffee I listen to talk radio. Gotta know about politics, otherwise people won't take you seriously."
Meeting with Emiliano during our second visit. "When I pick coffee I listen to talk radio. Gotta know about politics, otherwise people won't take you seriously."

 

Emiliano's daughter was the valedictorian of her high school class. Now she picks coffee in hopes to pay for college.
Emiliano's daughter was the valedictorian of her high school class. Now she picks coffee in hopes to pay for college.

And now, we return to our original Kickstarter profile:

Why we're doing this:

We too used to think that "Fair Trade" was the best way to support small scale farmers. We sipped our coffee believing we were helping farmers like Daniel and Rosa earn a good living. Problem is, that just wasn't true.

"Fair trade" offers 20 cents more per pound of coffee, but very little of that extra money actually makes it back to small-scale farmers. Although they had been promised higher prices and better returns on their hard work, many coffee farmers are still struggling to put food on the table.

In the best-case scenario, farmers might get a few hundred extra dollars per year. This translates into an income of $2,000-$4,000 a year for the average farmer who is often providing for a family of 4-6 people.

Here's the reality: "Fair Trade" coffee, while well intentioned, simply isn't good enough—and the coffee industry isn't changing quickly enough.

Why don't most coffee farmers earn enough money?

Coffee travels a long, complex road before reaching your cup, but the majority of manual labor in coffee production is done by small-scale farmers.

After the harvest, average coffee farmers are usually at the mercy of only 1-2 buyers who offer extremely low pay. As their coffee is mixed together to save money on shipping, it can pass through anywhere from 2-6 middlemen or more prior to export.

After arriving to your country, it usually heads directly to a coffee roasters or distributor. Then it makes its way to your local coffee shop or grocery store. Each step of the way means that coffee changes hands and someone profits.

There's nothing wrong with profit. Most distributors, roasters, importers, and exporters are not bad businesses or uncaring people. But, with a focus on keeping prices low for their customer (you), the unfortunate result is this: 

The average coffee farmer only profits 7-10% from the sale of a bag of coffee at a grocery store and about 1% of the price of one cup of coffee at your neighborhood cafe. 

This forces most farmers to make a choice: support their families or invest in their coffee plantations.

Here's what we're going to do:

We'll purchase coffee sourced directly from farmers we partner with, starting with Daniel and Rosa.

We can’t completely bypass all intermediaries in order to bring farmers’ coffee to your door—although we did cut out several. 

But the key thing that makes us different is this: once the harvest has finished we’ll actually jump over all middlemen to make a second, direct payment to farmers.

We call this the Levanta Bonus. 

If you order a bag of our coffee, then a farmer in Honduras, Peru, or elsewhere will be paid 50% more than he or she would normally receive.

Bonus paid to farmers per pound in 2017. Source: Fair Trade USA & Fair Trade International
Bonus paid to farmers per pound in 2017. Source: Fair Trade USA & Fair Trade International

What impact will this bonus make? Such a dramatic increase in pay will allow our partner-farmers to invest in their fields—ensuring even better quality coffee (and higher pay) in the future.

Meanwhile, they'll also be able to improve their homes and pay for their children's educations. They'll be able to improve their quality of life in any way they wish to.

50% more after the harvest so that farmers can lift themselves up economically and solve their own problems.

The Levanta Bonus model: 50% more.
The Levanta Bonus model: 50% more.

And now, meet the farmers creating your coffee—starting with Daniel

Daniel Diaz with his brother, Elias (left)
Daniel Diaz with his brother, Elias (left)

Daniel Diaz, 40 years old. Married. Originally from the coastal city of Trujillo, Peru, he and his family moved to the jungle when he was just a child. He began by harvesting in coca fields as a boy but when he was 15 his family switched to growing coffee. 

Daniel and his family have now been producing coffee for more than 25 years in the mountains above the city of Moyobamba in the San Martin region. Their farm is located at 4,130 ft (1,260m) in elevation.

As one of the founders of the Frutos de Selva cooperative and later its president, Daniel spent countless hours serving his fellow coffee farmers. But, Daniel sacrificed so much time helping to build up the cooperative that he was unable to maintain his own plantation and his farm is now in need of major renovation and replanting.

He shared with us that his favorite interests outside of coffee are nature and reforestation. 

"The only problem you can't solve is death. For everything else there's a solution."

Daniel's Mom, Maria
Daniel's Mom, Maria

 

Daniel and his father manage their small farm located 90 minutes outside of Moyobamba, Peru
Daniel and his father manage their small farm located 90 minutes outside of Moyobamba, Peru

And our second partner-farmer, Rosa:

Rosa Lloclla, 42. Widowed. A fighter. She's faced hardship few have known. Raised by her grandparents after her single mother passed away when she was only a small child, Rosa is from the small village of Bajo Ihuamaca just outside of San Ignacio, Cajamarca region.

Tragedy struck again when her own husband passed away and left her widowed with three children. Her teenage son, Nolberto, was suddenly thrust into the role of "man of the house"—forcing him to assume his father's responsibilities on their family's coffee plantation.

Yet their story isn't finished: Rosa and Nolberto are determined, together, to improve their farm and, as Nolberto states, "be innovative" in producing even better coffees at their lush mile-high plantation.

"In my case, being a woman who is an entrepreneur, and now when I've ended up all by myself—people might think this is too hard. But I've still got my kids."

Rosa Lloclla, your determination inspires us.
Rosa Lloclla, your determination inspires us.

 

Nolberto, her oldest son, manages their family's plantation together with his mom.
Nolberto, her oldest son, manages their family's plantation together with his mom.

 

"I'd like to be an innovative coffee producer," says Nolberto. He recently turned 22 and takes classes at a nearby university each year after the harvest ends.
"I'd like to be an innovative coffee producer," says Nolberto. He recently turned 22 and takes classes at a nearby university each year after the harvest ends.

And now, let's drink their coffee!

Your coffee is being harvested from now through September in Northern Peru and from October through February in Honduras. It will be carefully prepared for export by our partner-farmers and their supporting cooperatives.

After a long journey by boat to New York, we'll receive the coffee and transport it to a small town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina before roasting.

After the Kickstarter campaign has finished, we'll begin work on professional packaging designs for our coffee bags. We're also looking to improve your coffee-preparation experience by using bags with built-in ziplocks—no more need for scissors to open a bag, or spilling coffee all over your countertop!

We'll roast, bag, pack, and ship directly to you from North Carolina. Your coffee will be mailed within days of being roasted and will be packaged in individual 12 oz. bags—just how you'd find specialty coffee for sale in your local grocery store.

After the Kickstarter campaign is over you'll be able to choose your roast preference as well as if you'd like to receive your coffee pre-ground or whole bean.

Working Timeline:

August 20th: Kickstarter campaign ends.

September: We receive Kickstarter funds.

Late September: Coffee harvest ends in Peru.

October: Coffee harvest begins in Honduras. We begin to select partner-farmers in Honduras.

November: Coffee arrives to North Carolina. Fulfillment begins promptly. Online store launches.

With funds raised from Kickstarter we'll be able to design bags that look even nicer than this!
With funds raised from Kickstarter we'll be able to design bags that look even nicer than this!

And other Levanta Coffee gear...  

Who doesn't love a good t-shirt? We've chosen 3 colors: red for Peru, blue for Honduras, and dark grey because we love this color and hope you will too.

At the end of the Kickstarter campaign we will reach out to you asking your color and size preference.

Be the first to get your hands on Levanta Coffee swag!
Be the first to get your hands on Levanta Coffee swag!

Let your friends and family know you believe in better opportunities for hard-working coffee farmers with every sip you take: be sure to pick up a set of our Levanta Coffee mugs and exclusive, limited-edition french press.

Press it. Press it real good–with your Levanta Coffee mugs to match.
Press it. Press it real good–with your Levanta Coffee mugs to match.

 

Want a bag of coffee AND a t-shirt? You can do that with an "add-on!"

How do add-ons work?

After making your initial pledge, you can include extra funds for more gear. Carefully follow the instructions below to include "add-on" rewards to your pledge:

1. Click the "manage your pledge" button. If you have not pledged yet, it will say "Back this Project."

2. Increase your pledge in the "Pledge Amount" box by the total ($) of the add-ons you wish to include.

3. After the end of the Kickstarter campaign you will receive a survey that will allow you to specify which add-on rewards you'd like.

4. Still have questions? Email us at team@levantacoffee.com. We're happy to help in any way we can.

But seriously—Come and meet the farmers creating your coffee in person with our Coffee Origin Rewards

Don't just drink Levanta Coffee: experience it for yourself! Meet the people producing your cup in Honduras and Peru by selecting a coffee origin awardWe'll take you to meet our partner-farmers on their plantations in a limited-edition experience.

After having lived in both countries, we also feel a visit to Honduras or Peru wouldn't be complete without visits to nearby waterfalls, archaeological sites, and nature reserves.

Coffee Origin Reward #1—Honduras (3 nights/4 days) for 2 people: $500
4 days in the rain forest at a top-rated lodge located near picturesque Lake Yojoa.

What's included:
  • Guided trip to visit a Levanta Coffee partner-farmer on his or her farm
  • 3 nights in a private cabin
  • All breakfasts and dinners
  • Unlimited non-alcoholic drinks
  • Unlimited usage of kayaks
  • Private transport to-and-from airport or bus terminal
  • A bag of Levanta Coffee + 2 t-shirts
Coffee Origin Reward #2—Honduras (6 nights/7 days) for 2 people: $950   
7 days in the rain forest at a top-rated lodge located near picturesque Lake Yojoa.  

What's included:  
  • Guided trip to visit a Levanta Coffee partner-farmer on his or her farm
  • 6 nights in a private cabin
  • All breakfasts and dinners 
  • Unlimited non-alcoholic drinks 
  • Unlimited usage of kayaks 
  • Guided hike in a national park (PANACAM or Santa Barbara Mountain)
  • Pulhapanzak Waterfall Experience: go behind a waterfall and then zipline over top of it!
  • Guided walk inside of a local nature reserve
  • Private transport to-and-from airport or bus terminal
  • 2 bags of Levanta Coffee + 2 t-shirts
Come discover the beautiful Lake Yojoa region.
Come discover the beautiful Lake Yojoa region.

 

Coffee Origin Reward #3—Peru (6 nights/7 days) for 2 people: $3000

7 days touring northern Peru with Robert or Matt as your personal guide. We'll visit our Levanta Coffee partner-farmers at their plantations. In addition, we'll explore one of the world's tallest waterfalls as well as an ancient pre-Colombian fortress.

What's included:

  • Guided visits to the coffee plantations of our first two Levanta Coffee partner-farmers
  • 6 nights lodging (including 1 or 2 nights in Lima depending on your flight)
  • Visit to Gocta Falls, the #15 tallest waterfall in the world
  • Cable car experience over a canyon (brand new in 2017!) 
  • Guided tour of the ancient pre-Colombian fortress of Kuelap
  • Visit to the charming colonial town of Chachapoyas
  • All internal flights in Peru
  • All transport to and from airport
  • All ground transport in Northern Peru
  • All meals
  • All non-alcoholic drinks
  • 2 bags of coffee, 2 t-shirts, and 2 coffee mugs.
Sights from Kuelap Ruins and Gocta Waterfall in northern Peru
Sights from Kuelap Ruins and Gocta Waterfall in northern Peru

Who are we?

We met in Honduras 4 years ago. Matt was a volunteer English teacher and Robert was serving him a drink at his lodge.

Robert strongly believes in business-based solutions to poverty's toughest problems. He moved to Honduras in 2009 to work for a non-profit, but after a rewarding stint he opted to remain on the ground and try his hand at running his own business. When two employees at his lodge in Honduras shared their past struggles to survive producing only coffee, Robert knew it was time to act.

Matt graduated from college in 2012 and felt called to adventure. The opportunity arose to teach English in Honduras. While on the ground, Matt received a surprise donation from his family accompanied only with the following instructions: “go do something good with it.” 

He was referred to Sister Maria, a woman who has dedicated her life to serving her community near Lake Yojoa, Honduras. Her nutrition-focused organization, Casa de Angeles, provides 100+ children at risk of malnutrition lunches every day throughout the school year. 

Matt soon discovered that many of the children in Maria's nutrition program came from families that made a living growing coffee. Impacted by this realization, Matt went on to complete a Master’s in Public Health after leaving Honduras. He's dedicated himself to finding solutions to coffee's biggest problems so that no more kids end up in centers like Maria's.

Honduras made a huge impact on each of our lives, one we both feel compelled to share with others. Last fall, we decided it was time to team up and pursue a dream we have been talking about for years. We have started in Peru, where Robert was enrolled in a Master's in Business Administration with a focus on innovation.

After living in Honduras and Peru, we've had numerous opportunities to interact with coffee farmers and hear exactly what they face day to day: their realities, their struggles, and their challenges. 

We can tell you, then, with certainty what coffee farmers need most to create a more prosperous future for them and their families: a more ethical, better income for their hard work.

Robert (left) and Matt (right). Matt really likes that hat.
Robert (left) and Matt (right). Matt really likes that hat.

 

                                              

 

 

 

 

 

   
   

 

 

   

 

Risks and challenges

Bringing any kind of agricultural product from farm to table is never easy, especially when sourcing directly from individual farmers in other countries. However, the very nature of our model means we've spent months working on the ground researching how we'll get our coffee to the U.S. as cheaply as possible. That being said, there are always challenges. Here are a few possible risks we've identified:

1. Weather

Coffee is grown in regions that are highly-prone to extreme and unpredictable weather. A drought in one valley often means flooding in another. In Peru, we have sourced our coffee from three separate regions for this reason. Likewise, we're also sourcing coffee from Honduras in order to ensure we have access to coffee in one country should things go wrong in another.

2. Delays at source

Since coffee is an agricultural product, occasional delays occur in harvest and delivery. That being said, should anything change--we hope you'll understand, and, either way, we'll keep you informed and offer full transparency as we move towards our shipment date.

3. Delays in creating your product

We anticipate having ample time to create packaging for Levanta Coffee, including the bag design as well as getting our roasting and fulfillment capacity up and running. However, it's always possible that something out of our control might crop up such as a delay in receiving supplies from providers, etc. We will always keep you up to date if we become aware of delays in the roasting, bagging, or shipping end of the creation of your product.

4. The "unknown unknowns"

Things never go perfectly as planned, and you know what? That's OK. We have past entrepreneurial experience and we are prepared to find creative, resourceful solutions to unforeseen issues as quickly as possible. Specifically regarding your contribution: when faced with unforeseen circumstances, the saying "honesty is the best policy" rings true: we'll let you know and provide you with timely updates.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    1 BAG OF LEVANTA COFFEE

    Receive one bag of freshly-roasted Levanta Coffee, grown by our partner-farmers and shipped directly to your door!

    You will be able to choose your preference of roast and if you'd like your coffee whole bean or pre-ground after the campaign has finished. (12 oz./340g)

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    LEVANTA COFFEE T-SHIRT

    Not a coffee drinker? You can still support our project by picking up one of our premium t-shirts! This exclusive swag is designed for ultimate comfort and will soon be one of your favorite tees.

    Sizes: Small-2XL

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    2 BAGS OF LEVANTA COFFEE—2 FARMERS

    Receive two bags of freshly-roasted Levanta Coffee, grown by two of our partner-farmers and shipped directly to your door!

    You will be able to choose your preference of roast and if you'd like your coffee whole bean or pre-ground after the campaign has finished. (12 oz./340g apiece)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THE COFFEE LOVER SPECIAL—3 BAGS

    Receive three bags of freshly-roasted Levanta Coffee and be certain that you won't run out anytime soon!

    Grown by our first partner-farmers and shipped directly to your door!

    You will be able to choose your preference of roast and if you'd like your coffee whole bean or pre-ground after the campaign has finished. (12 oz./340g apiece)

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    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    EARLY BACKER SPECIAL: 1-YEAR OF COFFEE

    Be one of our first supporters and receive one bag of Levanta Coffee delivered each month for an entire year—featuring different producers and coffees from Peru and Honduras. You will get to enjoy coffees from different farmers, delivered fresh!

    You will be able to choose your preference of roast and if you'd like your coffee whole bean or pre-ground after the campaign has finished. (12 oz./340g apiece)

    Includes:
    • 12× 1 Bag of Levanta Coffee (12oz/340g)
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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    1-YEAR COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION (12 BAGS)

    Receive one bag of Levanta Coffee delivered each month for an entire year—featuring different producers and coffees from Peru and Honduras. You will get to enjoy coffees from different farmers, delivered fresh!

    You will be able to choose your preference of roast and if you'd like your coffee whole bean or pre-ground after the campaign has finished. (12 oz./340g apiece)

    Includes:
    • 12× 1 Bag of Levanta Coffee (12oz/340g)
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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    THE FOUNDER'S PACKAGE

    Help support our project and you will be fully decked out with Levanta Coffee gear. This package will help to take your coffee game to a whole new level!

    Along with (3) bags of coffee, you will also receive (2) premium T-shirts, (2) signature mugs and (1) limited edition Levanta Coffee french press.

    Includes:
    • Levanta Coffee Signature Mug
    • Levanta Coffee Signature T-shirt
    • Levanta Coffee Limited Edition French Press
    • 1 Bag of Levanta Coffee (12oz/340g)
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    Pledge $375 or more About $375

    1-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION: 2 BAGS/MONTH + GEAR

    This package is for the ultimate coffee lover. With two bags sent directly to your home or office each month you will be set with premium, freshly-roasted Levanta Coffee for the entire year. You will also receive (2) Levanta Coffee T-shirts and (2) signature mugs with your first shipment.

    You will be able to choose your preference of roast and if you'd like your coffee whole bean or pre-ground after the campaign has finished. (12 oz./340g apiece)

    Includes:
    • Levanta Coffee Signature Mug
    • Levanta Coffee Signature T-shirt
    • 24× 1 Bag of Levanta Coffee (12oz/340g)
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    OFFICE SPECIAL: 3 BAGS/MONTH + GEAR

    Make sure to keep the entire office caffeinated and productive with the ultimate year-long Levanta Coffee subscription. You will get (3) bags of coffee each month, as well as (6) Levanta Coffee mugs.

    You will be able to choose your preference of roast and if you'd like your coffee whole bean or pre-ground after the campaign has finished. (12 oz./340g apiece)

    Includes:
    • Levanta Coffee Signature Mug
    • 36× 1 Bag of Levanta Coffee (12oz/340g)
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    COFFEE ORIGIN EXPERIENCE #1—HONDURAS

    4 days in the Honduran rainforest for two people!

    Come see the story of coffee yourself. Meet our partner-farmers and discover the beautiful Lake Yojoa region of Honduras. This package includes:

    -Guided trip to visit a Levanta Coffee partner-farmer on his or her farm
    -3 nights in a private cabin at one of the top-10 lodges in Honduras
    -All breakfasts and dinners
    -Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages
    -Unlimited usage of kayaks
    -Private transport to-and-from airport or bus terminal
    -A bag of Levanta Coffee + (2) t-shirts!

    This will be an experience you will never forget!

    (Valid for one year from Nov. 2017-Nov. 2018)

    Includes:
    • Levanta Coffee Signature T-shirt
    • 1 Bag of Levanta Coffee (12oz/340g)
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    Pledge $950 or more About $950

    COFFEE ORIGIN EXPERIENCE #2—HONDURAS

    7 days in the Honduran rain forest for two people!

    Spend an unforgettable week at a secluded Honduran paradise. Come see the story of coffee yourself. We are pulling out all the stops to ensure you have a memorable trip! This package includes:

    -Guided trip to visit a Levanta Coffee partner-farmer on his or her farm
    -6 nights at one of the top-10 lodges in Honduras
    -All breakfasts and dinners
    -Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages
    -Unlimited usage of kayaks
    -Guided hike through a nearby National Park
    -Pulhapanzak Waterfall Experience (zipline over a waterfall!)
    -Guided tour of a local nature reserve
    -Private transport to-and-from airport or bus terminal
    -(2) bags of Levanta Coffee + (2) t-shirts!

    This will be an experience you will never forget!

    (Valid for one year from Nov. 2017-Nov. 2018)

    Includes:
    • 1 Bag of Levanta Coffee (12oz/340g)
    • Levanta Coffee Signature T-shirt
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Business Sponsorship Package

    Let your customers know that your business believes in supporting coffee farmers like Rosa and Daniel. Become a sponsor of Levanta Coffee and receive the following:

    -50 bags of Levanta Coffee shipped to you any way/time you'd like (all at once, several bags a month, etc.)
    -Your business name and logo immortalized on our website as one of our founding sponsors
    -Your business name and logo included in our press kit as a founding sponsor
    -First access to our coffee at wholesale pricing in late 2017

    Note that for shipping outside of the United States the smallest amount we would be able to send at one time would be 25 bags (2 shipments of 25 bags each).

    Includes:
    • 50× 1 Bag of Levanta Coffee (12oz/340g)
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    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    COFFEE ORIGIN EXPERIENCE #3—PERU

    7 days touring northern Peru with either Robert or Matt as your personal guide. We will be visiting our first Levanta Coffee partner-farmers, along with experiencing all of the beauty this region of Peru has to offer. This package includes:

    -Guided visits to each of our first two partner-farmers' farms
    -6 nights lodging
    -Visit to one of the tallest waterfalls in the world
    -Guided tour of Kuelap Ruins
    -Overnight in the charming colonial town of Chachapoyas
    -All internal flights
    -All transport throughout the trip
    -All meals and non-alcoholic beverages

    (Valid for one year from January 2018-January 2019)

    Includes:
    • 1 Bag of Levanta Coffee (12oz/340g)
    • Levanta Coffee Signature Mug
    • Levanta Coffee Signature T-shirt
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Funding period

- (34 days)