Corozal Town Tourist Attractions
Corozal Town is the largest settlement in the Corozal District. Refugees fleeing the Caste War in Mexico founded Corozal in 1849, and Spanish is the town's predominant language, although residents also speak English and Creole.
1955's Hurricane Janet destroyed most of Corozal's original thatched and adobe buildings, and the town has since been rebuilt in the classic Mestizo style; a grid pattern around a central plaza. Much of the town's wood and cinderblock architecture dates from the late 1950s.Corozal is a prosperous farming town since the area's fertile land and climate create favorable agricultural conditions. Sugarcane is the leading crop cultivated in the area. The town offers many amenities including hotels and restaurants and is a popular stop with travelers en route to Mexico. Corozal is situated on the Bay of Corozal and water sports such as sailing and windsurfing are popular activities.Corozal Town has been built on the foundations of a Mayan ceremonial center once called Chetumal, and now called Santa Rita. Ruins can be seen on the northern outskirts of town, however most of Santa Rita's structures were not elevated, and excavations in the 1980s revealed that more than 50% of the site's structures lie under the Corozal Town. Mayans had been living in the area since 1500 BC. The Caste War refugees named modern Corozal after the Spanish word for cohune palm, a strong symbol of fertility.
Santa Rita Archaeological Site
The Santa Rita archaeological site was an important coastal city called Chetumal by the Maya, dating to c2000 BC. Santa Rita is located under the modern Corozal Town, and only one structure exists above ground for viewing. The restored Mayan Temple dates from the Classic period and contains a complex series of rooms, including a ceremonial center room and two burial chambers.Santa Rita is situated on an ancient trade route from the coast of the Bay of Chetumal to two major rivers; Belize's New River and Mexico's Río Hondo. Due its position on these two river mouths, the city was an important site, gaining wealth from trade items including honey, vanilla and cocoa. Santa Rita's was at its most prominent during the Post-Classic period, still occupied when Spanish explorers reached the area.At least 50% of Santa Rita's structures remain underground. Excavations in the 1900s uncovered jade and pottery artifacts that were dispersed to various museums. A lot of structures where destroyed during the expansion of Corozal Town, when many stones from ancient temples were used as building foundations.
Corozal Town Library
The Corozal Town Library began as a small scale operation in the 1930's and with the help of locals and the National Library Service has grown to become a respectable size library. The original building was expanded in the 1990s to accommodate the growing collection.
Old Town Market and former Cultural Center
The Old Town Market was built in 1886 and is one of only 11 buildings to survive 1955's devastating Hurricane Janet. The building did hold a small museum but it has since closed it's doors.
Pan America Day (Columbus Day Fiesta)
Each year on October 12, Corozal Town celebrates Mestizo culture with Pan America Day (Columbus Day) festivities that include beauty contests and horse and cycle races.
Progresso Village and Lagoon, Belize
Along the shores of Progresso Lagoon is the village of Progresso. In recent years this area has begun to develop as a tourist spot in Belize. The village is very quiet and low key, offering a glimpse of traditional living.
Corozal Town Hall
Corozal's Town Hall features a large, colorful mural depicting the history of the Belizean town.
Krem New Year's Cycling Classic
Taking place annually on New Year's Day, the Krem New Year's Cycling Classic bike race begins in Corozal and ends in Belize City.
Corozal Town Surroundings
Cerros Maya Archaeological Reserve
The Cerros Maya Archaeological Reserve is situated on a peninsula overlooking Chetumal Bay. Cerros Maya ("Maya Hills") was an important Mayan trading center founded c400 BC. The city flourished during the Late Pre-Classic period because of its proximity to the New River and acted as a gateway into other Mayan settlements.Cerros is dominated by three acropolises, though the site is mostly a mass of grass-covered mounds. Cerros sits on top of a hill and offers an attractive panoramic view of the surrounding areas. Cerros' tallest structure is a 65ft/20m-high temple (Structure 4) that can be climbed by visitors. Another interesting feature of the site are the canals around Cerros that have remained clear of vegetation.Riches such as jade and obsidian were traded through Cerros, so the city became very prosperous. However, c100 AD the trade routes that supported Cerros were re-routed, and the city was subsequently abandoned. Cerros Maya was first recorded as an archaeological site in1969, and excavations of the site took place between 1973 and 1983.
Consejo Shores is a retirement development established in the 1970s by Canadian Bill Wildman. The small expatriate community is home to mainly North American and Europeans who enjoy the beach, sunny weather and relaxing atmosphere.