Excerpt from Brief History of Cacao in Ecuador by Jeffrey Stern:
In the second half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, cacao boomed in Ecuador. Fifty thousand hectares were under cultivation and landowners and exporters bought titles and left their properties to sojourn for extended periods to France, bringing with them their extravagant customs and manners. Even Vinces, a small town in Ecuador and one of the main hubs of the cacao trade, became known as “Little Paris,” with its elegant homes.
In the 20th century, Ecuador produced up to 40,000 metric tons annually. In 2011, that volume has tripled and surpassed 130,000 metric tons annually, with over 400,000 hectares under cultivation. However, Ecuador still only represents approximately 4% of the world’s cacao production. In 2010, Ecuador exported approximately $402 million worth of cacao, including semi-processed products such as cocoa powder, liquor, and cocoa butter.
Legend for meals included in your tour:
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Itinerary subject to change: every effort will be made to keep the itinerary
as it appears here; however, the final itinerary may vary due to schedules,
availability and factors beyond our control.
Independent arrival in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
We'll start our cocoa adventure after breakfast as we travel to Quevedo city, then on to a cacao plantation. Overnight in Quevedo City.
We'll spend the day visiting cacao collection centers and a farmers' cooperative in order to understand the commercial chain for cacao in Quevedo, Limon, La Mana, and El Empalme. Overnight in Quevedo City.
After breakfast, we travel to Mindo where we'll learn from and work with Mindo Chocolates in their chocolate factory. Overnight in Mindo.
After breakfast, we'll visit Ecuatoriana de Chocolates factory on our way to the Amazon region. We'll observe the different processes and stages at the plant, and learn where they get their cocoa as well as the social and commercial realtionships they build with producers. We'll cross the Andes to arrive to Huasquila Amazon Lodge where we'll spend two nights.
Thursday: B,L, D
After breakfast, we'll go by boat across the river to one of the Kallari farms and then on to the collection centre operated by Kallari in Tena. Overnight at the Lodge.
Friday: B,L, D
After breakfast, we'll travel back to Quito for a cacao-processing lecture and tasting by Steve De Vries at the Gianduja laboratory. We then check into our hotel and enjoy a Farewell Dinner.
Independent departures from host hotel.
Note: Images above from Jeffrey Stern