Belize’s northernmost district of Corozal has traditionally been one of the least visited regions, but that is slowly starting to change as this border town gets more publicity.
Originally thought to be a part of Chetumal, the Maya site of Santa Rita, is what gave rise to the town of Corozal. Historical data lends evidence to the belief that Santa Rita was in control of trade routes through Chetumal and other Yucatan cities in what is present day Guatemala and Mexico. After the Caste War, Mestizos from Mexico sought refuge in Corozal putting their farming skills to work.
Not surprisingly, agriculture is historically an important business in this district. As tourism increases, there has been more emphasis placed on eco-tourism with fishing villages like Consejo and Sarteneja garnering the attention of travellers looking for that “authentic” Belizean experience.
Corozal is also an up and coming spot for expats who have been caught by the border town’s sleepy charm. With immediate access to medical treatment and necessities just over the border, the region is seeing an influx of retirees who find the laid back vibe the ideal spot for retirement.
Things to Do
While Corozal doesn’t have the wealth of attractions Belize’s other districts do, you’d be missing out if you didn’t pay Corozal a visit. Take a trip to the fishing village of Sarteneja, which was originally settled by the Maya as a trading area, it’s now the largest fishing village in Belize.
The Maya sites of Cerros and Santa Rita are worth a visit as well. Cerros is worth a visit for its location alone – it’s the only Mayan site on the coast, located in the Bay of Chetumal. Climbing the main temple will reward you with stunning views of Chetumal, Corozal, and the mouth of the New River.
Corozal District is home to the Shipstern Nature Reserve, which is over 27,000 acres, is home to Belize’s five cat species and the endangered Baird’s Tapir. Bird watchers will want to spend some time exploring Shipstern with almost 300 catalogued species of birds in the region.
Food and Drinks
Given its proximity to Mexico, Mexican food is abundant and delicious in the Corozal area. Much like other districts in Belize, you will find the standard local fare and Belizean snack foods that are so beloved around the country. Corozal also has excellent markets offering some of the freshest produce, especially the downtown market near the bus station. Be sure to stop at one of stands in town and try fresh fruit juices, another local specialty that is even better in Corozal.
As the region is not prone to as much tourism as other districts in Belize, lodging options are more limited. Look for small family run properties near the coast or in the southern part of Corozal.
It is easy to get to Corozal. If you fly into the Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) you can easily catch a cab to wherever in Corozal that you want to go or consider arranging a transfer (Belize shuttle).
If you arrive to Belize via a land border, public transportation is easily accessible and cheap but it requires giving up some comforts since all the vehicles are chicken buses.
Check out the beautiful weather in the coast of Corozal: