It is the least populated country of Latin America.

The population of 300.000 is composed of a mixture of mankind and origins who seem to live together in a harmonious way.

Only one road goes from north to south.

During the Maya period the border with Guatemala did not exist of course.
Hence it is logical that there are Mopan and Kekchi Mayas both sides of the border.

The population is more or less composed as follows :

Kriols 40 %
Mestizos 15 %
Kekchi Maya
Mopan Maya
and Mennonites 15.000

There is a sound tradition as far as consumption of cocoa is concerned, as well as its use as part of the culture.

In a very remote place, in a tomb, human remains and several objects have been found, amongst them were 5 cocoa beans.
The number 5 appears to have had a special meaning. It relates back the Maya “quincunx”, symbolizing the four corners of the earth and its center.

In certain Central America countries, the gift to the bride, today still contains 5 cocoa beans.

The use of cocoa in drinks remains widespread in Belize, especially in the south of the country.

The preparation is most of the time simply, ground cocoa beans + water.
Sometimes pepper and cinnamon are added. The ingredients being mixed together by hand.

The cocoa region of Belize is situated in the south of the country.
Production is low and so are the prices obtained by the farmers for the beans.

Organic cocoa receives a premium of 14 Belize dollar cents per pound and fair-trade 18 cents.
This adds up to 2,3 US $ per kilo, which is low.

There are 2 Maya languages spoken in Belize : Mopan and Kekchi.

In both languages the word for cocoa is the same : Kakaw.

But the translation of “hot water” slightly differs. It sounds more or less like “choco-ha” (“choco” = warm and “ha” = water).
The word for a “metate” (= grinding stone) is “ka”.


on the way to the plantation of Saul Garcia


Saul Garcia coming back from a visit to his plantation


a small but aggressive tortoise


roasting the beans




grinding the beans


Patricia Sho-Mes