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  • Writer's pictureCindy Van Dyck

Excursion Tip: Kahkow Experience in Santo Domingo

Updated: Jan 12

Kahkow Experience: enjoy Dominican Cocoa at its best in Zona Colonial, Dominican Republic
Picture Credits: Cindy Van Dyck

Tourism in the Dominican Republic has been increasing dramatically in recent years and months. With not only travelers opting for all-inclusive vacations or arriving by cruise, we are also gaining tourists who like to come and discover the culture and history of the island. Therefore, a visit to "Zona Colonial" in the capital is not out of the question: in fact, you will visit the oldest continuously inhabited European-based settlement in the Americas. The area has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there is much to discover! Including Kahkow Experience, where you experience everything about Dominican chocolate, its origin and how it's made. You will even be able to attend workshops. Are you curious for more? Then read on quickly!

Chocolate is a proven source of happiness.

The history of the Dominican Chocolate

Cocoa was introduced to the island of Hispaniola (which now includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic) by the colonizers at the end of the 16th century. The cocoa introduced came from different regions and did not have the same genetics as the cocoa in Latin America. Over the years, cocoa was planted in an undifferentiated manner regardless of its genetics, which contributed to the fact that Dominican cocoa today has such a diverse genetic base.

It was not until the mid-19th century that cocoa became an important export product for the country. Dominican cocoa, at that time unfermented and considered of poor quality, was traditionally exported through the port of Sanchez, hence it acquired the name "Sanchez cocoa" in international markets. While the country exported cocoa, in the fields Dominicans regularly prepared and consumed something similar to what today are cocoa balls (a ball-shaped molded paste obtained by crushing roasted cocoa beans with a mortar and pestle).

When the Spanish began to colonize the region at the end of the 15th century, they discovered cocoa and quickly understood the monetary value that its exploitation could represent. They then began to invest in establishing commercial cocoa plantations in the various colonized lands. And until today, Dominican cocoa is very known for delivering high quality chocolate! Even Belgium uses Dominican cocoa for the production of their chocolate. And we know how good Belgian chocolate is, right?

Source History: Kahkow website

Kahkow Experience: enjoy Dominican Cocoa at its best in Zona Colonial, Dominican Republic
Picture Credits: Cindy Van Dyck

Visit Kahkow Experience

With so much quality Dominican cocoa, it is normal to find delicious chocolate on the island as well. Often less sugared than the imported brands found in supermarkets, but so high quality! And thanks to Kahkow Experience, you'll experience chocolate in a way you've never seen before.

Kahkow Experience is located on the same street as Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando: Zona Colonial's most famous boutique hotel. And recently, "Calle Las Damas," also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was made completely car-free. So you can stroll through it carefree and, in addition to Kahkow, visit "Fortaleza Ozama," which overlooks the Ozama River itself. This river separates the bustling city center of Santo Domingo with the eastern part, towards the airport.

Once you arrive at Kahkow Experience, you are welcomed at the front desk where you can choose from three experiences:

1. Kahkow Experience: learn about the origins of chocolate in their holographic theater; then taste the delicious fruit in our mystical forest and learn about post-harvest techniques. Continue the tour and go to the sensory room where you will use your five senses to appreciate the ingredients for making quality chocolate.

2. Chocolate Factory (our favorite!): During this experience you can make your own chocolate bar at their Kahkow chocolate factory. Here the fun continues and the chocolate comes to life! You will be able to choose between milk chocolate or two types of dark chocolate. Then two toppings of your choice are added and then you can start making your own personal chocolate bar. After a few minutes of cooling you can take it home with you (it's included in the price).

3. Soap workshop: make your own soap with our cocoa butter formula made on our La Esmeralda farm and add a special touch with your favorite scent.

Each workshop is about $8, depending on the current exchange rate. When you travel with a booked tour, this is included in the price of your guide and transportation. But you can certainly explore Zona Colonial on your own. Parking is also easy in the parking garages located right downtown at $1 an hour.

Opening hours: open every day of the week, including weekends, from 10am to 7pm.

Address: Calle Las Damas 102, Santo Domingo

Kahkow Experience: enjoy Dominican Cocoa at its best in Zona Colonial, Dominican Republic
Pictures Credits: Cindy Van Dyck

Grab a coffee and a piece of chocolate

After your workshop, you can enjoy the best chocolate with a cup of coffee or tea. At both Kahkow Experience and their coffee bar in Blue Mall (on the second floor), you can choose from a selection of chocolates and chocolates to accompany your coffee. And in their shop, you can buy as much chocolate as you want. During Christmas you'll even find chocolate with peppermint and their own ponche made from vanilla and pistachio.

Our favorite chocolates were the white chocolate with chinola and coconut, the colorful dulce de leche chocolates and finally the chocolates infused with Jack Daniel's. So delicious!

Kahkow Experience: enjoy Dominican Cocoa at its best in Zona Colonial, Dominican Republic
Pictures Credits: Cindy Van Dyck

Plan a night in La Zona

Want to take enough time to explore Kahkow and the other activities you can discover in Santo Domingo? Plan an evening in Zona Colonial and stay at the top 3 hotels* we personally picked for you: Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando, Hotel Billini and Hotel Mosquito Colonial. These three boutique hotels, located in the historic streets, will make your stay unforgettable! And don't forget to take a moment in the evening to dance to Salsa and Bachata music.


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