The Chocolate Road

It is a new, socially sustainable tourism destination in Bolivia and a sweet chance for cocoa farmers and tourists alike

The problem we aim to solve:

Small cocoa farmers highly depend on cocoa prices and lack options to create alternative incomes. Encounters between locals and tourists are unsuccessful and both sides leave them with a bitter aftertaste instead of positive, enriching experiences. Tourism encounters lack mutual understanding

The solution our project offers:

Together with the local communities, we developed a theme road about cocoa, taking their needs, desires and possibilities into consideration. We pave the way for good experiences for tourists and locals alike, alternative incomes for farmers, independence from cocoa prices, environmental protection

The impact our project had so far:

Awareness of the needs, desires and limitations on both ends, to make encounters a valuable and good experience for all.

About the project

Once upon a time …

… there was an innovative cocoa cooperative, following the trails of an idea; a globe trotter at the brink of finishing her degree in tourism management in need of a topic for her research paper and a newspaper article about a “chocolate president” with a blueprint of a theme road about cocoa in his back pocket.

3 years, a field trip to Bolivia, numerous exciting interviews, a Master’s thesis and many, many e-mails and skype calls later it is settled: The dream of the Chocolate Road will become reality – though the El Ceibo cooperative and our help; mine and the help of my team from destination:development.

The face in front of the camera …

… is mine. I am Kerstin, the globe trotter who had an open and enthusiastic ear for the idea to design a tourism destination out of the blue and into the green. I mean, how often do you get the chance to develop a whole destination, especially under such unique circumstances and in accordance with all rules of sustainability? Exactly, so I took it. Ever since, I am working hard and with great enthusiasm to make the dream of the Chocolate Road come true.

What makes me right for the job?

First of all my enthusiasm and love for the project and the people behind it; and of course my team, because great things can only be achieved together. A Master’s degree in intercultural communication in German/English/Spanish and another in tourism management come in quite handy, too.

To us, the key to successful encounters between the local population and tourists is respectful communication . It is indispensable to understand each others needs, desires, expectations, hopes, possibilities and also limitations. In our work, we listen a lot and look for solutions, which respect everybody's boundaries and leave the space for joyful and fruitful encounters which leaves all participants with a good feeling and lovely memories.
The Board of the El Ceibo Cooperative is working hard to improve the living conditions of their members. In tourism, they see not only the opportunity to get more independent from cocoa prices and create new job opportunities in their communities. They also very much appreciate the chance to receive visitors, share their cultures with them and show them how they live and what life as a cocoa farmer is like. They are proud of their land, their trees and their cocoa. However, the values and principles of their ancestors are engrained in their way of life. Respect for mother nature is a core value, and organic production methods like agroforestry their way of conserving and protecting natural diversity.

Project activity

Kerstin Dohnal just created a new need
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We are currently looking for a small exhibition space in Vienna. We would like to invite everybody to take a short trip …

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Kerstin Dohnal wrote a new status update

Check out the preview of The Chocolate Road Documentary @ https://youtu.be/quqfP3EBNQg

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Kerstin Dohnal wrote a new status update

After our successful crowdfunding campaign, we visited the cocoa farmers of the El Ceibo cooperative in Bolivia. Together, we developed a concept for the Chocolate Road, taking the needs, desires, expectations and possibilities as well as one or the other limitation of all people and communities involved into account. We have documented our work in Bolivia in a documentary.

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Kerstin Dohnal created this project
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