Nestled inside the lush green forest off the coast of Belize, dozens of green and red cacao pods grow.
Cacao has been cultivated here since 1800 BCE, when the Mayans first discovered they could turn these pods into a rich drink.
Today, Mopan Maya chocolate maker Julio Saqui continues to make the fullest use of his country’s native cacao trees and the fruits they produce.
Now, though, unsustainable land development and the introduction of outside cultures threaten to extinguish the Mayan traditions he holds dear.
Cinematography + Editing: Jeremiah Rhodes and Matthew Westmoreland
Additional Cinematography: Ari Sen
Music and foley by Epidemic Sound
Special thanks to: Julio and Narciso Saqui, Lil Bill Hill Ranch, and the staff at Che’il Mayan Chocolate