Amazonian Cacao Napo is comprised of Andean slopes and Amazon lowlands; its extraordinary natural beauty and contrasts make it a popular tourist attraction. It has mountains such as Antisana, which rises up to 5.700 m above sea level, and lowlands that plunge to 200 m above sea level; sun and rain, as well as wind and high temperatures, give rise to a plant and animal macrodiversity that defies belief. Amazonian cacao’s best habitat is in this province under crop systems that make up very productive forest. Its performance and structure are very similar to those of the forest, without decreasing its organic production potential, biodiversity friendly. It provides socioeconomic and ecological benefits, and it will become a premium product with its own identity. This province produces fine quality Fino de Aroma cacao, known around the world as “Arriba” cacao, highly regarded by the premium
chocolate industry. 88% of small producers of cacao are Quechua, and 12% are mestizo settlers. In the Amazon, 60% of Quechua women are responsible for cultivating cacao. The maximum volume of production per family is between 10 and 15 quintals. Each family generally dries out 50% of the fermented cacao, and the other 50% of the fresh cacao retains its layer of mucilage (“en baba”). Cacao is the basis for the production of gourmet chocolate, thanks to its high quality taste. Furthermore, scientific and archaeological studies have proven the existence of heritage and culture related to the use of cacao. The cacao and Amazonian chocolate circuit is part of the Yaku Ñamby route, or the Route of Water, which aims to promote and disseminate this region in the regional, national and world tourist market.