The main agricultural activity of the HACIENDA EL CASTILLO is its cocoa plantation, which currently has 90 hectares and is constantly growing. 


Its all begins at the greenhouse, where new Don Homero coca plants are developed. The best and most productive cocoa trees are carefully selected to provide the seed to the new plant. Once the seed has germinated and the cocoa bush is approximately one month and a half old, a graft is done in its stem with twigs selected from the reproductive trees. This way we make sure we are working with the field’s best material, which has been proven for its productivity and yield. Once the graft has been successfully done, the plants stay in the greenhouse for an additional couple of months to get acclimatized and to be monitored. This way the new plants undergo less stress when they are planted in the field.

The sowing process is done combining the cocoa plants with plantain plants. The main reason for it is to provide the cocoa plants with shade. First, the plantain is sowed, and after six months, when the plant has grown enough to provide the shade, the cocoa plant is planted. After one year and a half, approximately, the cocoa trees begin to produce and gently, the plantain trees are taken away from the plantation.

At the HACIENDA EL CASTILLO we undergo a meticulous field control in order to obtain a better yield from the plantation. Annual formation and maintenance pruning are made. Irrigation controls are made to make sure the field’s humidity is right. We manage the plantation with a strict fertilization plan, where we give more importance to natural products like humus. The scrub, which obstructs the growing of the cocoa trees, is constantly been cut. There are many factors which affect the plantation’s productivity and more important the quality of the product, which is why at the HACIENDA EL CASTILLO we give a lot of importance to good agricultural practices in order to optimize results. 

Cocoa’s harvest happens all year around, with two high seasons. The mature cobs get picked up at the field, they are opened and the seeds get gathered in jute sacks. Immediately after, the seeds are taken to the fermentation and drying area where a rigorous process takes place.

The fermentation is very important, because is when the chocolate’s flavor and aroma begins to develop. From the moment the seeds are taken out of the cob, they get in contacts with microorganisms that are needed for the fermentation process to take place. At the HACIENDA EL CASTILLO we do a pre drying of approximately 12 hours to get rid of the seed’s excess pulp, 

this way we attain the adequate temperatures during the fermentation process. The seeds are gathered in jute sacks, which are covered so the yeasts start to do their work and turn the sugar from the pulp into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The alcohol oxides and becomes lactate acid first and then acetic acid, while it produces heating to the seeds. The jute sacks get moved once a day to favor ventilation and homogeneity in the fermentation which lasts approximately 4 days. During this period the seed basically dies and this chemical process contributes to the growth of the flavor and aroma of the cocoa bean.
After fermentation, the cocoa beans are exposed to the sun to get dried. This process last between 5 and 7 days, depending on the weather. At this point the product is ready to be exported and to produce chocolate. 


The mango plantation in the HACIENDA EL CASTILLO is of approximately 12 hectares. The tree’s blossoming begins at the end of July and August, and the fruit is harvested between November and December. The rest of the year the plantation is non productive, however a maintenance work has to be done to control scrubm irrigation and plagues. When the end of the year is approaching, one can appreciate a fabulous spectacle of colors: the red fruits decorate the green tree’s tops, as if they are announcing the coming Christmas.