Ecuador tourism is promoting chocolate… with good reason. The country is considered as producing exceptional cocoa, with a distinctive floral flavour… and is the world’s largest fine cacao producer.
Ecuador supplies more than 60% of the world’s “fine flavour” cacao production, generating revenues of over €600m for the economy. Over the past years, there has been a move to add value to this Ecuadorian product with several fine chocolate brands being now present in Europe, America and Asia.
Chocolate is deeply linked to the country’s history and heritage. Following European colonisation, the country went through its first major cacao boom between 1779 and 1842.
Routes have been created to promote “chocolate tourism”. Along the Pacific Coast, travellers start-out from the Hacienda Cañas to Guayaquil, the city at the centre of the cacao boom. The first visit comprises 340 hectares of cacao plantations. It integrates the Organic Cacao Museum, plantations and packing facilities, horseback riding, local cuisine and the visit of local rural communities. In Guayaquil, tours are organised to learn about the cacao boom and its activities as well as storage techniques.
In the Amazon forest, Pappllacta Hot Springs is a resort with special spa treatment with chocolate-based massages, while Cotococha Lodge in the Upper Napo has tours to learn the ancient culture of cacao production, and the techniques and craft around cocoa.