The Expat Life in Corozal, Belize
Corozal Town is located in the northernmost district of Belize, the Corozal District. The town itself offers a laid-back, slower lifestyle than many bigger, busier cities or tourist-filled locations. Its proximity to the Mexican border, and Mexican city of Chetumal, makes it a great place for duty-free shopping, and also means that the bustling city life is just a short trip away for those who begin to miss it.
What Corozal has to offer is a simple life off the beaten path, and North American retirees are becoming increasingly aware of this, which is why there are now hundreds of retired expats living there now. This means that not only is the lifestyle calm and quiet, but there are plenty of social activities among the expat community as well, so calm and quiet does not have to be boring.
The town of Corozal itself (the capital town of the Corozal District) has a population of just under 10,000 inhabitants. It has an interesting history, in that it was founded by Maya Mestizo refugees during the Caste War of Yucatan in the late 19th century. It was in 1848 that the land was overcome with these refugees. Before, it had only been the site of a simple town.
Corozal was built over ancient Maya ruins, a site that was actually (most likely) an important town in the Maya civilization. In ancient times it would have been known as Chetumal, but today is it referred to as Santa Rita. The town was built using some of the stone from the ancient ruins for some of the buildings, which adds somewhat to the individuality of Corozal.
The town lays on the Bay of Chetumal, into which the Rio Hondo flows. The bay is also referred to commonly as the Bay of Corozal, and these two names can be used interchangeably. The bay offers darker waters than those of the typical Caribbean beach, but it still carries a beach vibe for the town. Corozal not only has access to this “beach,” but it also enjoys better weather than most typical tropical regions, in that it gets significantly less rain.
Why Corozal Appeals to Expats
Corozal offers a simple, laid-back, easy lifestyle – the kind that many retirees search for after they’ve finished with the rat race of working life. It doesn’t have the roaring nightlife or extensive shopping plazas that many other expat havens bring to the table, but that is part of this town’s charm. It is meant especially for those looking for a quiet life full of friends.
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One of the biggest determining factors for many expats in choosing this location is the affordable cost of living. Life in Corozal Town is significantly cheaper than that of more popular Caribbean and/or Latin American destinations. For example, monthly rent in the city center for a one-bedroom apartment can be just under $200 USD. Compare that to the $900 of Panama City, or Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica for $500 per month. You can see that there would be significant savings in choosing Corozal as a new home instead. Prices in Corozal are similarly low across the board, with dining and groceries offering more than affordable prices.
All of the amenities that would be important can be found in nearby Chetumal, Mexico, so expats don’t feel that they’re missing out on anything, either. Think of Corozal Town as a large suburb, and you’ll understand why it’s so popular for those who wish to settle into a quiet retirement.
Things to Do
Just because Corozal offers a quiet, slower lifestyle, doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. There is an open-air market for
most of your grocery needs, and there are shops and restaurants that serve all of the types of food you’d want. Aside from those things, there is a multitude of activities available on the bay. Fishing, sailing, and swimming are all popular pastimes in this town.
There are Maya ruins in nearby proximity, along with gorgeous views of the water and a museum and local park activities. Some of the activities available through the active expat community include the Women’s Forum, the Rotary Club, the Consejo Shores Golf Group, the Corozal Bay Sailing Club, and the Roots and Shoots Garden Club. There are even water aerobics and yoga classes held regularly.
There are a couple of popular expat communities north of town in which many go to live – right on the outskirts. These are Consejo Shores and 4 Mile Lagoon. The cost of living can be more expensive in those areas, though, than living in the town itself. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
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