Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler
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.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
There wasn't much to keep
us in Corozal,
and when we woke up early in the morning to head on into Orange Walk, healthy
sea breezes wafted through our hotel room. When the breezes became stronger and
blew through the banana palms right outside our window, it sounded just like
Corozal and Orange Walk are very
We walked to the bus station just
down the street from our hotel, but before we got there, we stopped
at the local bakery and bought some travel food. A tropical favorite
in the Yucatan is a jalapeno and pepperoni "sandwich" with sugar on
Waiting with our gear at the
bus station, we took the 8:45 a.m. bus and paid $4BZD each for the
29 miles to Orange Walk Town. It was an easy ride.
Another simple town with
As usual, we met up with
some locals on the bus ride. This family was very gracious and since we didn't
know where our hotel was located, they walked us there. However, on the way we
found another hotel and decided to try that one instead. A quick look at their
rooms and price schedule, and it was an easy decision to change our minds.
What a deal!
Not only was it cheaper
than the prices quoted to us by our other choice, we had excellent Wifi in the
room, and a decent breakfast is offered in the mornings for guests. With air
conditioning and a small refrigerator, it is easily one of the best rooms we
have ever had in Belize.
Coincidentally, it was also
one of the smallest!
Deciding on which piece of chicken we wanted
With the excellent hot water in our shower
and Wifi connection in our room, we cleaned up after the dusty ride to Orange
Walk and caught up on some internet work. Then we strolled the town looking for
some late lunch eats.
We planned to go to a recommended restaurant
across town, but came across this local BBQ at the park. Grilled chicken,
coleslaw, potato salad and a HUGE tortilla, this lunch set us back a whole
$7.50BZD per person, just under $4USD.
The tortilla for this meal covered the whole
Sitting on a park bench, we enjoyed the
activities of the afternoon. Some music played from a CD player at one end of
the park, children played with sticks and balls at another. Women had their
embroidery out while keeping an eye on their kids, a couple of well behaved (!!)
stray dogs watched us eat, and people strolled on through. A very easy going, kicked
More clapboard buildings, not a lot of
Orange Walk Town has a long and knotty
history dating back to 2500 B.C. The earliest residents were Maya who cleared
the forests and used an advanced type of agriculture which included raised,
irrigated fields. But around 925 A.D., the Maya civilization collapsed for
reasons that are still debated.
The Maya continued to live their simple lives
here but things changed when the Spanish arrived in the 1500's.
Buying bananas on the street
The Spanish attempted to conquer the city of
Chetumal on the other side of the bay which is now Mexico, and Maya from all
around came down to defend their territory. These attacks by the Spanish and the
defense by the Maya lasted for 20 years.
And, the uneasy peace afterwards did not last forever.
Small restaurants, little snack stores of
In the mid 1600's British logwood cutters
arrived and raided any villages they came across. They tried to enslave the
indigenous peoples, but the Maya moved to the interior to places where neither
the British nor the Spanish had control.
Gambling houses, slot
machines, lottery ticket businesses are owned by the Chinese
The New River flows through Orange Walk, and
during the late 1600's and early 1700's this was a highway to the sea used by
traders and loggers.
The city of Orange Walk probably began as one
of these riverside logging camps since logwood was abundant in this area. Some
of these early settlers made villages of thatched houses and small farms. It was
these British settlers who named their village after a plantation of orange
A Belizean street vendor selling hot meat
There were 25 years of trouble for the people
of Orange Walk between the years of 1847 and 1872. The War of the Castes raged
throughout the Yucatan to the north and the angry disturbance came closer and
closer to the small colony. Refugees flooded across the border and with them
came news of advancing warriors.
The border settlements were thrown into a
A closer look at the hot meat pies, a common
light meal in Belize
In 1872, Orange Walk was a small town of
about 1,200 people made up of Creole woodcutters, Mestizo small farmers and
storekeepers and an upper class of English managers and government officials.
September 1, 1872 began as an ordinary Sunday
morning for the people of Orange Walk with the early morning spent having
breakfast and leisurely preparing for the day's activities. Residents had
learned to live with the rumors of attacks coming from Chetumal, and no one
expected this day to be any different.
However, on Saturday, the day before, more than 150 men
crossed the Rio Hondo and were headed right for Orange Walk.
Belize is known for their
high quality rum
The peace of the morning
was shattered by the screams of the attackers and the frightening noise of their
rifles. The people of Orange Walk knew right away what was happening, but they
weren't very well prepared.
Caribbean Rum, the best rum offered in town
Wealthy residents had strong houses, guns and
ammunition, but the poorer inhabitants grabbed what they could and headed on
into the bush. Women and children escaped by paddling small boats across the
river and walking through the wilderness area to San Estevan.
The People's Store, a large grocery in town celebrating 50 years of
Maya warriors had been increasingly
frustrated by their inability to drive the English soldiers out so they lit a
fire, thinking the fire would soon spread to the barracks and force the soldiers
out of their stronghold. Unfortunately, this plan backfired with the fire
quickly burning out but not before it exposed the hiding place of the warriors.
Burning and looting took place, the
Indians kidnapped the District Magistrate and flogged him in the public square.
Tiny businesses and small houses in Orange
By 1881, Orange Walk was established as a
separate district from Corozal. The population had been rising for several
years and more and more Yucatecans moved into the area changing the nature of the
Local restaurant fare advertised on sandwich
Merchants of Orange Walk were often Spanish,
English or Confederate Americans. Logging workers were and still are, largely
Creole. Farmers tend to be mostly Mestizo or Maya in background.
Beautiful mural painted inside a favorite
Before the construction of the paved road
from Orange Walk to Belize City in 1925, the New River provided the main means
of communication with the outside world. Overland travel on horseback was
difficult and slow. River travel wasn't much faster as most boats had to be
paddled or rowed.
Here you see Maya and Yucantaneca influence
side by side
The invention of the steamboat brought faster
river travel. These ships carried passengers and mail along with supplies like
kegs of butter, and barrels of pork and pigtails. They also transported 100 lb.
sacks of brown sugar, alligator skins and lucrative tobacco leaves bound into
Another Belizean Chicken-with-rice-and-beans
meal. The fried plantain is a good contrast flavor
With the new road to Belize City built, it
was only a matter of time before the steamers became the stuff of history and
were replaced by truck transport.
Open air vegetable stand
Life in Orange Walk is much calmer and more
modern today. Well, if you can call these small open air shops modern. But it
reflects the tropical life and you will find stalls like this all over the
A little Belizean humor doesn't hurt!
No matter where you travel a sense of humor
is always welcome. If one looks to be offended by a different culture, then for
certain you will find it.
The simple Town Hall
Orange Walk is still like a large
neighborhood. It seemed that most everyone knew most everyone else. Ask
directions for a restaurant, a store, where to find a boat tour to the Maya
ruins of Lamanai and someone will easily direct you where to go. It is a
friendly, easy-go town.
Next we take you to some Maya ruins just off
the New River. The 30 minute boat ride was every bit as worthy as the ruins
For more stories and photos
Some of the information for
this piece on Orange Walk came from the book,
History of Orange Walk Town by Charles Emond.
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
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About Billy & Akaisha