Corozal Town

CZLREGATTA206The northernmost town in the country, quiet Corozal Town, is located about 85 miles from Belize City. With a population of about 10,000, and an economy based primarily on the sugar industry, the town has a relaxed atmosphere, which is quite different from the hustle and bustle of the border just twenty minutes away. The town got its name from the Cohune Nut Palm forest (Corozal) that was found when the area was first inhabited.

When driving into Corozal Town, the first noticeable scene is the emerald green water of the Corozal Bay. Residents, mostly children, can be found swimming weekends, or playing in the park. The town is relatively quiet, with a well-manicured park in the center of town (Central Park). In addition to government buildings, schools and churches, a clock tower stands near the center. Another point of interest is the mural painted by Manuel Villamour at the Town Hall, which reminds viewers of Corozal’s history and the revolts during the Caste War.CZLREGATTA295

Much of Corozal’s history is related to the Caste War. After the Battle of Bacalar in 1849, thousands of refugees fled south to then British Honduras, and settled. The town was also the location of subsequent attacks. The remains of an old fort can be found near the center. Corozal, which was originally built of thatched buildings, was destroyed by Hurricane Janet in 1955. Today, it is believed that much of Corozal is built atop the ancient Mayan city of Chactemal (Chetumal), evidenced by the ruins of nearby Santa Rita.

The Mexican border town of Chetumal is just across the Rio Hondo, and non-residents can enjoy shopping in the Corozal Free Zone before leaving the country. New border facilities in the north make traveling to and from Mexico more convenient.

Corozal is accessible by road, and is just less than a two-hour drive from Belize City. The airstrip at Ranchito also allows for convenient regular flights around the country. The town is a good hub for nature and archaeological tours in the north.

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