Ecuador has been more than a century the most important producer of cacao worldwide. Until the 1920s the cacao production contributes almost 80% to the national budget until the global cacao industry was hit by several crisis and the sales went constantly down. During the last years Ecuador has been fighting its way back to the top position number 3 as cacao producer on the global market and about 30% of the cacao is sold to the German speaking market where about an average 10kg of chocolate made with Ecuadorian cacao is consumed per person each year.
Most of the cacao farms are very small and run by families with little knowledge about farming and are mostly located in the provinces Los Rios, Guayas, Manbi, El oro, Esmeraldas and Sucumbios. The number one cacao brands in Ecuador are National or Arriba, although most Ecuadorians prefer whole milk chocolate and white chocolate like the famous Galak and Manicho. Ecuador is a huge cacao plantation and several farms, haciendas and small chocolate factories are open for tourists. Travelling in Ecuador you could start the cacao route in the capital Quito and visit for example “Ecuatoriana de Chocolates” who produces a wide variety of exotic chocolates or “Pacari” specialized in producing dark chocolate. Along the Amazon Region you will also have plenty of possibilities to visit haciendas and farm until you get to the south of Ecuador close to Guayaquil where you could visit “República del Cacao” and the “Hacienda Cañas” who offer tours along the plantation and demonstration of the chocolate process.
Here an interesting video about where Cacao in Ecuador is coming from: