Corozal and Orange Walk

The Mestizo capitals of Corozal and Orange Walk are a delight to visit. With the beauty of the turquoise waters of the Corozal Bay, to the flavorful tacos of Orange Walk town – visiting the north is an enriching cultural experience.

Corozal is conveniently located between Mexico and Ambergris Caye, with its own turquoise shores and diverse landscape; from beaches and historical sights to a nature reserve. In town, remnants of historical and cultural heritage are on full display.

Only an hour north of Belize City, Orange Walk, affectionately known as “Shuga City”, for its sugar cane production, is home to the majority of the country’s Mestizo population.  Beyond the tempting rum factories, Orange Walk is both rustic and authentic. This is a place where it is not far-fetched to go for a morning rainforest run and spot an ocelot stealthily crossing jungle trails.

Corozal

Corozal is conveniently located between Mexico and Ambergris Caye, with its own turquoise shores and diverse landscape, from beaches and historical sights to a nature reserve. In town, remnants of historical and cultural heritage are on full display. There are gun turrets at Fort Barlee used during the 19th century during the Caste War; the vibrant Corozal Town Mural depicting the district’s history, and the Maya temple of Santa Rita, where the mestizo population of Belize was born.

santa rita - corozal
Santa Rita Photo by NICH
Cerroscerros
Cerros Maya Site. © Leonardo Melendez Photography

  • Corozal Town Hall – Something you must see in this small town is the vibrant mural that depicts the history of Corozal.
  • Local Market- Where you can find a wide selection of locally grown vegetables and some of the best fruits in Belize. You can also get a taste of the culture in this district on your visit here.
  • Swimming in Corozal Bay- What a better way to start but to hit the beach at Corozal Bay! Pack your bags with your favorite swimwear, sunshades, sunscreen, and bring some friends to have some fun.
  • Art in the Park– Art in the Park is an experience. As casual as it may be, the community and visitors attend to sample the culinary art, to buy a piece of handmade art, to listen to music, to meet new people, and if the timing is right, attendees will witness a cultural performance.
  • Corozal house of culture- You can also explore the culture that Belize has to offer in at the Corozal House of Culture, which was originally built to be a market. It is a museum, art gallery, and a cultural center.
  • Cerros Archeological Site – Located on the northern coast of Belize, Cerros was an important trade center for imports like obsidian and Jade. Still only partially excavated, the site has three large buildings and several plazas surrounded by pyramids. The tallest structure stands seventy-two feet high above the plaza.
  • Santa Rita Archeological Park – Corozal town sits where the ancient city of Santa Rita once flourished. It was an important part of the trade route, with products like cacao, vanilla, and honey exported from here. Only a few original structures are still standing, but the main temple provides a gorgeous panoramic view of the town.
  • Sarteneja Village – An hour ferry ride east from Corozal, you will encounter the sleepy fishing village of Sarteneja which produces Belize’s traditional wooden sailboats; if curious, you can peak into the impressive workshops.
  • Shipstern Conservation and Management Area – Venture deeper into Sarteneja and you will find the Shipstern Conservation and Management Area, one of the most ecologically diverse areas of Belize. From mangrove shorelines to rainforests and botanical trails. Inside the reserve thrives 300 bird species, 270 butterfly species, manatees, and crocodiles.

     

Orange Walk

Located about an hour’s drive north of Belize City, you can identify this sweet town by an old tollbooth at the entrance of Orange Walk and a large town clock in the center of the town. One might wonder, why is it referred to as “Shuga city?” Orange Walk used to be the primary district that made sugar; as you will be able to see smoke coming up the stacks of the sugar mill on your visit there. If you’ve been researching Belize, then you would know the Mayas were the first inhabitants of this country; and here in Orange Walk, you can find archaeological sites and many locals who are descendants of the Mayas (Mestizos). As well as their yummy, juicy, and mouth-watering Orange Walk tacos; the absolute best in the country. 

bird
Crimson-collared Tanager. Photo by Jason Tiesman
lamanai
Lamanai
orange walk
Photo Courtesy: Leonardo Melendez Photography

  • Visit and climb the Mayan archaeological site of Lamanai just through the New River. 
  • Go birding on a tour down the New River. 
  •  Visit the quiet village of Blue Creek to get a look at the Mennonite culture. 
  • In downtown Orange Walk, you can visit Banquitas House of Culture. 
  • Relax at Honey Camp Lagoon – this once used to be an area for Mayan ceremonies and rituals. 
  • Visit the Rio Bravo Conservation Area. 
  • Visit La Milpa Archaeological Reserve, which is the third-largest Maya site in the country; located inside the Rio Bravo Conservation Area.  
  • Eat delicious rolled corn tortilla tacos from one of the local shops, or if you want something different, try their refreshing ceviche and salpicon”; a type of salsa. 
  • If you’re visiting in November, be sure to stop by their annual taco festival to try beef, chicken, and pibil tacos from the locals. (meats cooked in a pit.) 
  • Take a walk through Orange Walk town, explore the different cultures, and meet the friendly locals.
lamanai boat ride

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  • Visit Banquitas House of Culture
  • Try the Famous Orange Walk Tacos
  • Visit Queen Victoria Park on Saturdays
  • Enjoy birding at Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area
  • Cruise the New River Lagoon on a boat tour
  • Explore El Pilar, La Milpa Lamanai and Cuello
  • Swim and picnic at Honey Camp Lagoon
  • Visit Shipyard Mennonite Village