Corozo (the Attalea cohune) is a type of tree, which is where the name of “Corozal” came from. It is a kind of palm tree. The Mayan history of Corozal is the oldest. The Cerros Ruins are right here in Corozal and that was the Mayan world’s defense. It was the only Mayan temple that is on the sea and they use that to protect the inland Mayan world.
There were hurricanes the wiped out Corozal and it was rebuilt around the 1960s. Now Corozal looks like it is time to rebuild it again but it is a great town. I like everything in Corozal, but it is getting old now.
There was a lot of sugarcane farming in the northern part of Corozal, so we have some agriculture. Most people fish or just get small jobs. There is not a large economy here and tourism is also pretty new here in the northern part of Belize.
The Chinese came here around 1997 when Hong Kong was handed back to China. Hong Kong was a British Commonwealth before the country was handed back to China so the people had an option to either become Chinese or move to another commonwealth country. So some of the Chinese came to Belize because Belize is a British Commonwealth country. The Chinese run most of the shops here in Corozal. All the grocery stores here are Chinese-run.
The first developments that started bringing in expats from North America were Consejo Shores and Sarteneja. It was around the mid-90s so it wasn’t very long ago that expats started coming to Belize. Consejo Shores built a lot of homes but a lot of expats do not use their homes anymore and a lot of them do not live there full time. Orchid Bay, where I live, started around 2006 - 2007 along with Cerro Sands, which attracted mostly expats. Orchid Bay targets Americans and Canadians as customers. So now we have a mix of Chinese, Hindus, North Americans, and local Belizeans. The population of Corozal is a mix of all these people together. There is no majority here; we are all the minority.
( Lamanai temple, near Orchid Bay resort and development, Belize, pictured.)