Site, Modern Town
19th Century: The Finca
and Cultural Challenges
the Town Today
Cautions for Western Visitors
Employment and Other Needs
Tourism and Crafts
Community: Cacao, an Ancient Breadbasket
Coffee arrived around 1850, and became, along with sugar cane, the
major export cash crop in the region, which comprises one of the
great breadbaskets of Central America.
pre-Conquest to post, the owners and beneficiaries changed from
indigenous Maya to foreigners, a pattern of great surplus agriculture
evidence, including ethnohistory, indicates that the major export
crop both before and for a few hundred years after the Conquest
was cacao, which PACH hypothesizes constituted the material underpinning
for the rise of Maya civilization in the seminal Southern Maya Zone
to coffee include a return to a great prehispanic Maya crop, cacao;
other opportunities for sustainable development exist in varying
scale and robustness and include eco- and archaeotourism, and furniture-making.
lies in the heart of the ancient region of Mesoamerica where, as
attested by ethnohistory, not only the greatest quantities but the
highest quality cacao was produced. Needless to say, marketing of
“authentic Maya cacao” offers boundless promise for
philosophy of the project is that a carefully guided return to this
great prehispanic endeavor for niche markets and without middlemen
could bring prosperity, greater autonomy, and cultural protections
to the Chocolenses. Seeking partners for this effort, the project
has initiated discussions with chocolate companies in the United
States and Europe.
The Cacao trees in and around Chocolá have
ancient historical and cultural roots.
Some Chocolenses still gather and
process cacao in the old traditional ways.