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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Corozal, Belize

Currency Conversion Site

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

The last time we came to Belize we left by boat from Livingston, Guatemala and entered Belize from the southern city of Punta Gorda.

On this trip we enter by land. Leaving Xcalak, Mexico in the morning, we travel through Chetumal, cross the border and reach our first stop at Corozal.

 

Corozal is left of center at the top of this map

After one of the easiest border crossings we have ever experienced, our entrance into Corozal had a bumpy beginning.

 We had chosen a Hemingway type of hotel that promised bay views, hot water, private bathrooms and Wifi connection. When we arrived, the woman I spoke with at the desk told me there were no rooms available at all. Then she told me there might be one, and quoted me a price double what we had expected to pay.

This last remaining room was tiny, hot, had no private bath, no view and was generally a disappointment.

We decided to dump our bags in the room, get something to eat and look for another place to stay. Upon our return, we packed our bags and got ready to move to another location when Billy unexpectedly met up with the owner of the hotel. Quinn apologized profusely, said we should never have been taken to that room and then showed us the best room in the hotel. Then he gave it to us at half the quoted price of the dumpy room.

What just happened?

 

Wifi connected bar with bay view

Things were looking up. We just had the best meal we had ever eaten in Belize at Patty's Bistro, and then had gotten in to the best room of our hotel. Wifi was available at the bar or just outside our room 24/7, and the water in our shower was steaming hot.

 

View from the hotel's bar

Life in Corozal is pretty laid back and Belize is a simple county. We often joke that in Belize, you can eat chicken with rice and beans or chicken with beans and rice.

The photo above shows the view we had as we worked on our computers in the hotel bar. Delicious fresh brewed coffee was available downstairs in the kitchen or you could grab a cold beer at Quinn's bar on the honor system.

Corozal is the northernmost town in Belize and was founded in 1848 by refugees from the Maya Indian uprising against the Spanish in the neighboring Yucatan. Thousands of Mayans left the massacre at Bacalar, Mexico and crossed the Rio Hondo, the river that now serves as a boundary between Belize and Mexico.

 

Apartment building with a bay view

Corozal itself was built upon an ancient Maya city that dominated this area for more than 2,000 years.

Today the city has a population of about 10,000 residents and is a great mixture of Maya, Chinese, European and American expats, Meztizos, Creole, Garifuna, East Indian, and Mennonites.

Everyone finds a place and an expression.

 

Private gated home with carport

Corozal is a convenient base for day trips to Chetumal for shopping and the Mexican beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula. There are numerous Maya ruin sites close by, wildlife sanctuaries and Ambergris Caye - which is Belize's most popular destination for scuba divers and snorkelers - is 15 minutes away by air from the Corozal airstrip.

 

It's easy living in Corozal

The town of Corozal is pretty simple and easy going. Street traffic was minimal and you could probably get around pretty well on just a bicycle like the one in this photo.

 

Small restaurants dot the town

People are friendly here and this town is attractive to the expat population which numbers between 300-400 residents. Corozal is located between two rivers, the New River in the Orange Walk district and the above mentioned Rio Hondo.

 

Menu items written on a chalk board is standard

Most restaurants let you know the daily specials by easy-to-see sandwich boards.

This photo also gives you a closer view of the sidewalk and street. Remember, it's an easy, slow-go town.

 

The Chinese have a strong presence here

Many people from China have moved to Belize to make their futures. We saw stores, bars and restaurants all owned and run by the Chinese. Some spoke English and yet, many didn't.

Notice the Chinese lettering above the blue and brown doors.

 

An afternoon snack

We had a couple of these bean and cheese tacos with a large, sweet, fresh squeezed orange juice for $3.50BZD

 

Young Belizean boy takes a peek at us

Walking around the quiet streets of this town you will find several banks, a library, a small museum, a couple of churches, some primary schools, a few shops and a small produce market all within 10 minutes walking distance from each other. Any major shopping with all the discount stores is done in Chetumal, Mexico which is nine miles away.

 

A meat shop lists what is available

If you enjoy bone fishing or deep-sea fishing, the waters of Corozal Bay provide lots of opportunities for anglers who want to avoid crowded shores. The largest tarpon in the country swim through the northern lagoons, rivers and estuaries of Belize. Local fishing guides are happy to take you out if you want to throw your line in.

 

Akaisha orders 2 coconut ice cream cones

In the tropics, coconut ice cream is very common, and if it is offered we almost always give it a try.

We like to take advantage of the healthy benefits that coconut offers in any of the delicious forms it comes in! Coconut water right from the freshly cut nut is not only refreshing, it is packed with electrolytes, essential vitamins, is fat free, calms an upset stomach and is an energy source. Then, when the coconut water is finished, the nut can be cut open and the sweet and very moist coconut inside can be scraped out.

Coconut meat is rich in lauric acid, which is known for being antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, and boosts the immune system. 

 

Town clock at the Main Plaza

Just like most plazas in Central America, it is a place to hang out, relax in the shade and meet up with friends. This is where we bought our coconut ice cream.

This clock is a proud town feature.

 

Patty's Bistro

Everything is within walking distance in Corozal. Patty's was a 5 minute walk from our hotel.

 

Inside Patty's Bistro

We were told by taxi drivers and locals on the street that Patty's Bistro had the best food in town. They were right! It was probably the best food we ever had in Belize, and huge plates for dinner ran $15BZD each. It was a great value.

 

Patty's dinner plate

Two chops, rice, salad, fresh vegetables and a basket of bread was more than we could eat. Their fresh watermelon juice was scrumptious.

 

Police station in Corozal

The police didn't look too busy the days we were there. Nor does the building look very intimidating, painted in Caribbean style colors.

 

Belizean bus schedule

This is the daily bus schedule in and out of Corozal. We were headed to Orangewalk next, so we needed to find out what time the bus left.

 

Mission Statement at the Methodist School

We spoke with several children on the street in Corozal, and they said they attended the Methodist School. We walked around to see if we could find it, and it is located right on the road that lines the bay.

 

School was just letting out

Food carts line up at the school's edge and when the kids get out, they often buy a snack. Their favorite? Anything with sugar.

 

Corozal Bay

Our hotel is just past the yellow and turquoise building in the center of this photo. The School is about 5 minutes walk from this location.

A beer and a view

The Chill & Grill is a local Gringo hangout just down from the school and about a 6 minute walk from our hotel. The first time we passed this place, there were 2 large macaws sitting at the front  table downstairs. The whole front of the bar - upstairs and down - is open air and has a bay view.

 

Billy on the second floor of the bar

Couldn't get much more tropical than this.

We just had lunch, watched the kids get out of school and caught a beer in the bar on the way back to the hotel.

 

Akaisha working the bar

We met Peter on our way out the door. Having lived all over the world, he was a conversational delight with a quick wit and an inquisitive mind. Coincidentally, he owns property in the small beach town of Majahual just outside of Xcalak and he knew some of the same people we had just spent time with there in that tiny beach town!

Small world.

Peter still has a strong sense of adventure and travels like we do: if he likes a place he stays. If he doesn't or if the weather pattern doesn't work for him, he goes. He would love a travel partner... any takers?

Next we visit Orangewalk, Belize where we stayed in the smallest, cleanest hotel room ever, and take a fantastic boat ride to the ancient Maya ruins of Lamanai.

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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