The Costa Chica region of Guerrero state in Mexico is noted for its population of Afro-Mexicans – descendants of African slaves brought to the New World in the 16th century. The region is also a noted culinary hotspot and its most iconic gastronomic offering is a delicious drink called chilate. Served ice cold, the drink is a gorgeous blend of chocolate, cinnamon, rice and brown sugar. It combines rounded and complicated flavors in a cooling, refreshing drink.
Chilate is found in restaurants or street stands throughout the state of Guerrero. In the beach town of Zihuatanejo, vendors offer the drink on Saturdays at the Eco-Tiangus Sanka.
The drink also powerfully symbolizes the mixing of cultures in Mexico. The Afro-Mexican community, which makes up approximately 1.2 percent of the total population, has been ignored for centuries and the Costa Chica region is one of the poorest in the country. Yet the historic and cultural contributions Afro-Mexicans have made to Mexico have been vast. Several leaders of the Independence movement, including Vicente Guerrero and José María Morelos were of African heritage.
In Mexican gastronomy, the African influence is evident in the use of rice. Rice cultivation was brought to Mexico from West Africa in the 16th century. The inclusion of rice in chilate highlights the African roots of the drink.
The chocolate flavor of the drink symbolizes the indigenous cultures of Guerrero, who have intermarried extensively with African descendants in the state. Chocolate is native to Mexico and Central America, where cacao has been cultivated for at least 3,000 years.
For the Aztecs, chocolate was mostly a drink rather than a food, so chilate has more in common with the beverage known as xocolātl or “bitter water” by the Aztecs. The key difference however, is in the taste. The cinnamon in chilate gives the drink a spicy edge, but the brown sugar means the drink is anything but bitter.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.