Ecuador’s chocolate is renowned as being one of the best in the world. The country’s chocolate-makers have won growing recognition over the last years for their amazing flavours and aromas.

Their latest awards were received at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France, on November 1. And, it turns out, the source of the cacao plant is not Mexico, as is commonly believed. It’s in fact the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Now travellers can get closer to the source of the world’s favourite treat with chocolate experiences across three out of four of Ecuador’s worlds.

“Ecuador: Land of Chocolate” is a new initiative led by the country’s Ministry of Tourism to promote the exciting experiences that await visitors to this small yet incredibly biodiverse nation in South America. “Chocolate tourism has agrotourism at its heart, benefitting rural communities while enabling tourists to explore more of the country, experiencing its culinary heritage, natural wonders and adventure opportunities,” explains Dominic Hamilton, Ecuador’s Deputy Minister of Tourism Promotion.

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“We want to associate the country with a gourmet product that’s already positioned on the international stage, creating a virtuous cycle between consumer and tourist.”

Dominic Hamilton, Ecuador’s Deputy Minister of Tourism Promotion

“Land of Chocolate” is also about encounters in the rural worlds of Ecuador. Cacao trees grow in tropical climates on both sides of the Andes: in the Pacific coastal lowlands and amid the towering trees of the Amazon rainforest. Both make fascinating places to find out more about this tree and its fruit, whose Latin name translates as “food of the gods”.

The Ministry of Tourism has worked hand-in-hand with the country’s chocolate and travel trade over the last months, with tour and cruise operators and accommodation suppliers who will soon offer products that include chocolate – whether a full-blownfarm tour or a tasting, for instance.

These include the Ecuadorian Railways (Tren Ecuador), who will offer chocolate experiences on two of their products: the new coast-plus-Andes route of Duran-Bucay-Alausí, and aboard the award-winning, four-day TrenCrucero upscale train journey.

Did you know Ecuador is famous for its chocolate?