Guide to Corozal District
The northernmost district (state) in the country, Corozal has long been overlooked by most tourists, although that is beginning to change.
Near the district’s capital of Corozal Town can be found the Maya ruins of Santa Rita and Cerros. The ruins now known as Santa Rita once controlled vital trade routes between present-day Mexico and Guatemala. After the Caste War ended in 1901 in neighboring Mexico, thousands of ethnic Mestizos emigrated to Corozal to become farmers.
For most of Corozal’s modern history, the region was best known for its agriculture, particularly the sugar cane crop. Now that tourists have begun to explore this beautiful area, Corozal has become a leading site for eco-tourism, with visitors flocking to the fishing villages of Consejo and Sarteneja to experience an authentic taste of local life in Belize.
Corozal is also becoming a popular haven for expats and retirees from America and around the world, drawn to the town by its sleepy charm and easy access to affordable goods, high-quality medical care, and shopping opportunities just across the border in Mexico.
Things to Do in Corozal
Visitors are recommended to visit the nearby Mayan ruins of Cerros and Santa Rita. Cerros is located in the Bay of Chetumal, right on the coast, the only Mayan city in the world with an oceanfront view. It’s still possible to climb the steep steps of the main temple, offering visitors an unparalleled view of Chetumal, the New River, and the panorama of the Corozal District.
Another popular local attraction is visiting the fishing village of Sarteneja. Originally built by the Maya, it is now the largest fishing village in the country, home to locals who still fish the rich waters in small boats.
Birdwatchers will enjoy a trip to the Shipstern Nature Reserve, over 27,000 acres of unspoiled territory. The nature reserve is home to all five of Belize’s wild cat species, as well as more than 300 species of birds, including the endangered Baird’s Tapir.
Food and Drink
Just across the border from Mexico, Corozal is a great place to enjoy authentic Mexican food and drink. Local Belizean delicacies and snacks are also popular in Corozal, and visitors can explore the local markets to get the best in fresh produce and seafood. Roadside vendors sell some of the best fresh juice in the country, popular with locals and visitors alike.
Since Corozal is only just now being discovered by tourists, there are no large hotel chains or luxury accommodations. Quality lodgings can be found at the numerous family-owned small hotels and inns clustered on the coast or in the southern part of Corozal.
Getting to Corozal
Most international visitors to Corozal first fly to Belize City at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. From there, taxis or shuttles can take you to any location in Corozal District.
For visitors coming in overland from Chetumal City in Mexico, public transportation on so-called “chicken buses” is the only option, which offer little in the way of comfort, but ticket prices are extremely affordable.