From Colin Duffy – Investment banker who has participated in tours of Belize by LaQua Travel in 2012 and 2013
I was introduced to David LaQua in November of 2011. At that time he had mentioned to me that he was in the beginning phases of LaQua Plantation which lies near the village of Pomona, Belize. I asked myself, “Wow, this is amazing that a kid from South Dakota is actually pursuing a dream of tree farming in the Caribbean.”
From that point on I knew there was something unique about David. Since I had prior experience with building materials and have researched different species of precious hard woods I decided to ask further questions to see how or if I could get involved. I understood the importance of teak and especially its strength in flooring and cabinetry and sadly it’s a precious hardwood that is in decline.
Combining my knowledge of farming in rural South Dakota plus my knowledge of building materials I know that LaQua Plantation has a purpose to provide more precious hardwood globally and to build a local economy that offers jobs to the people of Belize.
By the beginning of December, just a month after meeting David, I had my first trip booked for Belize. In February of 2012 I arrived to Belize City. Within minutes after arriving to Belize City I boarded a hopper flight to Dangriga, Belize. In the hopper flight I noticed the dark green vegetation of Belize and the gorgeous turquoise colors of the Caribbean colliding together to form a canvas of colors that a person doesn’t get to experience in South Dakota let alone other parts of North America. David greeted me at the small airport and from there we jumped into his truck and made a journey to the Macaroni Hill View Hotel. The Macaroni Hill View Hotel is a beautiful little gem nestled into orange groves right off the Hummingbird Highway.
LaQua Plantation is located approximately 5 to 10 minutes up the road from the Macaroni Hill View Hotel. Waking up in the morning you will experience the beautiful sun rising above the orange groves. I would suggest getting a smoothie and taking in all of the natural beauty at the top floor of the hotel before departing to the plantation.
When I made my first trip to LaQua Plantation I was told by my Dad (who arrived to Belize 2 days before) that the magnitude of this place is remarkably gorgeous. It’s still something that is so hard to explain let alone digest once you see it. A good friend of mine got out of the vehicle before me and walked up the ditch off the road going up the hill on LaQua Plantation. His reaction was like seeing something he had never seen before.
When you first experience LaQua Plantation you will mostly like realize that this place is unprecedented. The massive hillside has a steep slope covered in an army of trees all planted perfectly in a diamond pattern which are outlined by an assortment of plants. David will narrate the history and development of how it actually was created. You will then realize LaQua Plantation took thousands upon thousands of hours to develop. There is an instant magnetism of appreciation for all of the hard work that went into the process of clearing the brush, to harvesting the wood, to planting the baby teak trees.
My first trip concluded with the trees ranging in height from 2’ to 5’ not only a year later when I arrived for my second trip the trees ranged from 20’ to 30’. This is a testament that LaQua Plantation desires to have the highest quality trees. I have done a lot of investigating and web searching of other Teak Plantations and I can tell you no plantation is more organized or cleaner than that of LaQua Plantation. I would stress that you do web searches for yourself. One thing you will notice are many unkept trees, they will not have a consistent height, and will most likely have many leaves dangling all over the place. As a current owner and future stake holder into LaQua Plantation it is my desire to see the plantation stay beautiful and pristine. Mr. LaQua has done a profound job of exceeding those expectations.