Dominican Republic Cacao
After sugar cane, cacao is the largest exported crop in the entire Dominican Republic–even more than coffee. Even before the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and Latin America, cacao was prized by the native peoples for its richness, flavor, and taste. In fact, in the Aztec societies of Mexico, cacao was used as a form of currency when bartering for other goods (30 cacao beans, for example, could net you a large rabbit).
Today, the Dominican Republic is the world’s 8th-leading producer of cacao beans used for chocolate. Over 45,000 tons per year are harvested on Dominican hillsides, most of which is grown in the countryside of the north and eastern parts of the country.
Here, a cacao plant in its natural state is displayed in Cabarete.