From time to time I am going to post reviews of lodging on mainland Belize, for those who may not be familiar with choices there. Here are some hotels and resorts in Corozal district.
--Lan Sluder www.belizefirst.com
COROZAL AREA LODGING
THREE STARS Casablanca by the Sea, Consejo Village (Mail: P.O. Box 212, Corozal Town); tel. 501-501-423-1018; fax 423-1003; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ; www.cbbythesea.com
. If you usually end up needing a vacation from your vacation, consider this little inn at end of the road in Consejo Village, about 7 miles north of Corozal Town on the bay. Corozal Town is a delightful place with not that much to do, and Consejo Village (Consejo is Spanish for advice) is Corozal in slow motion. At Casablanca, owned by Americans John and Beverly Temte and managed by Belizean Ervin Wade, there’s almost nothing to do, which at a certain time in one’s life is just the thing. There’s no pool, so you don’t need to feel guilty about not getting in your laps. There’s no beach (though local residents swim in the bay), so you don’t have to worry about getting the perfect tan. There are no phones in your room, and the TV, the last couple of times we were there, got only a few fuzzy Spanish language channels from Mexico (though Casablanca does promise satellite TV and HBO.) You can just sit under a little palapa on the bay all day long and read, or retire to your room, as you please, and relax on a comfortable bed. At night, watch the twinkling lights of bustling Chetumal, capital of Mexico’s Quintana Roo state, across the bay. All the rooms feature saltillo tile floors and custom-made furnishings. The carved mahogany doors, though showing a bit of wear from the sun and salt, are museum-quality. The 10 rooms (the hotel recently expanded), if on the small side, are tastefully furnished and attractive and all have air-conditioning. Some have queen beds, others two twins. Rates around US$60 to $75 double in-season, US$45-$55 June-August.
THREE STARS Tony’s Inn & Beach Resort, South End (P.O. Box 12), Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-2055, fax 422-2829; e-mail email@example.com ; www.tonysinn.com
. For 30 years, Tony’s has been a popular stopping place for visitors passing through from Mexico. Of the 24 rooms with private baths, the “Deluxe Plus” digs are the way go to here — they’re big, with cable TV, king or two double beds, tile floors and some of the coldest air-conditioning in Belize. The standard rooms aren’t A/C. The old “Y Not” beach bar has been replaced by a classy new bar and grill by the bay, though it still has a thatch roof. Tony’s has a marina and all the usual hotel amenities. The hotel claims a beach, although it’s really more of a patch of ground with imported sand. Rates US$50-70 double in-season, US$10 less rest of year. Tony’s, with Hok’ol K’in (below) are two hotels in Corozal that can be fully booked anytime, in part due to their popularity with mission and tour groups. We've heard rumors that Tony's is for sale.
TWO STARS PLUS Hok’ol K’in Guesthouse, P.O. Box 145, Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-3329; fax 422-3569; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Hok’ol K’in (a Yucatec Maya phrase for “coming of the rising sun”) is a nine-room motel just across the street from the water. It’s run by a former Peace Corps worker/teacher, Marty Conway, and her Belizean partner, Francisco Puck. There’s no air-conditioning, but most times you don’t miss it thanks to the stiff breeze from the bay. The restaurant serves inexpensive breakfasts, burgers and snacks. Unusual for Belize, one room is wheelchair-accessible. No TVs in rooms, but the guest lounge has TV, VCR and a small library. There are private baths, but used tissue goes in trash cans, not toilets. The hotel offers inexpensive and interesting tours, including one that visits local schools. It enjoys a high occupancy due to business from medical missionaries and other groups and from Europeans. Owners have recently put the hotel on the market (asking a whopping US$925,000), but no immediate changes are expected. Rates: US$40 double year-round.
TWO STARS PLUS Smuggler’s Den, Consejo Village; tel. 501-614-8146; e-mail email@example.com . If you want to get away from it all, with nicely done cabaña accommodations near the water, Smuggler’s Den in Consejo could be the perfect ticket for you. The bungalows here have stucco walls and a thatch top, with fully equipped kitchens and private baths. There’s even a small human-assisted beach, along with a bar and restaurant. We’re told the restaurant serves some of the best prime rib in Belize and gets really busy on weekends. Rates around US$40. About 7 miles north of Corozal Town in Consejo—turn left just before you get to the village.
TWO STARS International Cozy Corners Guesthouse (aka TJ’s), 2nd Street North (P.O. Box 283), Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-0150; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Formerly just a neighborhood eatery, TJ’s Restaurant, the American and Mexican owners here expanded into a small hotel operation with three good-sized guest rooms, each with private bath, air conditioning and tile floors. There is a small swimming pool in front and attractively landscaped gardens in back. The guest floor also has a large commons area. Rates around US$45. The guesthouse is another of the many Corozal hotels that are on the market.
ONE STAR PLUS Hotel Maya, P.O. Box 112, Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-2082; e-mail email@example.com ; www.hotelmaya.com
. This 20-room concrete hotel across the street from the bay toward the south end of town is definitely not deluxe, but the rooms we’ve seen are clean, all have private baths and cable TV, some have A/C, and there’s a pretty good restaurant, serving Mexican dishes, on site. Rosita May (pronounced “My”) runs it. About US$25 double for a basic room with fan, to around $50 for an upgraded room with A/C and TV. It’s located across the street from the bay, between Hok’ol K’in and Tony’s.
ONE STAR PLUS Marvirton Guest House & Lounge, # 16, 2nd Street South, Corozal Town, tel. 501-422-3365, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . This budget guest house in downtown Corozal has eight rooms, four with private bath. There’s no A/C but rooms have ceiling fans and cable TV. The 1960s vintage house has been charmingly renovated by the Belizean couple who own it, Anthony and Virginia Bradley. They provide what they note is a family atmosphere. A pool, tiny but doubtless big enough to do the job on a hot day, is in a garden area behind the house, next to the restaurant and lounge. Rates are reasonable — US$25 single or double in rooms with shared bath, a little more with private bath.
TWO STARS Corozal Bay Inn, South End (P.O. Box 1), Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-2691; e-mail email@example.com ; www.corozalbayinn.com
. This spot at the South End of Corozal Town, just behind Tony’s, has four two-bedroom apartments, complete with kitchens. They are furnished down to the coffee maker and have cable TV and maid service. Although they are the kind of accommodations much needed by families or expats looking for property in Corozal, we just wish they were spiffier, had a higher standard of bedding and furnishings and were cooled by air-conditioning. They look a lot nicer on the Web site than they are in person. However, there is a pool, pier and a popular restaurant and bar. Rates are US$60 double, $10 additional per person (children under 12 free.) Long-term rates available. Note: We’re told that the apartment units here have been sold. Whether they will be upgraded and continue to operate as hotel units is unclear.
ONE STAR Caribbean Village, South End, Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-2725. One of Corozal’s original places to stay, Caribbean Village has five small and quite basic thatch cabañas with private baths, plus a campground and RV parking area, across the road from the water. Owners Henry and Joan Menzies are helpful and friendly Rates: US$20 double year-round for the thatch cabañas.
ONE STAR Central Guesthouse, 22 6th Ave., Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-2358; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Simple in-town guesthouse in a one-story concrete building with plenty of burglar bars. Rates are budget-level, at under US$15 a day. Weekly rates are around US$50, monthly from US$150.
ONE STAR Nestor’s, 123 5th Ave. South, Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-2354. This long-established budget hotel with bar and restaurant in the middle of town has recently been sold to American expat Sam Riggs, and changes may be ahead. Popular bar and restaurant. Rates under US$20.
[Not Rated] Villa Americas, South End (P.O. Box 329), Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-0255, fax 422-0227; e-mail email@example.com ; www.villa-americas.com
. Described as an “exclusive bed and breadfast guesthouse,” with rates that can only be described as astounding (US$450 double a night in high-season, US$350 off), Villa Americas is a private home near Tony’s at the end of the road known as Corozal Bay Road or Gringo Lane. Good luck.
Lagoon Campground, Four Mile Lagoon, tel. 501-422-2561. While it’s nothing like fancy RV parks in the U.S, this is one of the nicer campgrounds we’ve seen in Belize. Owner Bill Dixon, a U.S. expat, built the campground and his house himself. It’s about 1 mile south of the Mexican border, with attractive grounds on Four Mile Lagoon. Equipped with water, sewer and electric for RVs and trailers. Tent sites are US$2.50 a night, full hook-ups US$15 (US$90 a week) and other sites from US$5.
Caribbean Village, South End, Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-2725. The area’s original campground and RV parking area at the south end of town, across the road from the bay. Campsites are US$10, RV sites around US$17.
CERROS AREA LODGING
ONE STAR The Last Resort, Copper Bank; tel. 501-606-1585. At the mouth of Laguna Secca and the Bay of Corozal in the village of Copper Bank, this budget lodge has small thatch cabins with kitchenettes for US$17.50 double (if you book for a week you only pay for five nights), or US$12.50 in simple huts with outhouses. Operated by Donna Noland and Enrique Flores, The Last Resort also has a restaurant, with Belizean basics plus American-style burgers, and a bar.
Diana’s Hotel has closed, but Fernando’s Seaside Guest House (not rated, tel. 501-423-2085) and Krisami’s Bayview Lodge (not rated, tel. 501-423-2283 offer clean, low-frills accommodations at low-moderate prices. Cabins at the Shipstern reserve may be available for US$10 per night — to reserve contact the Belize Audubon Society in Belize City at 501-223-4533, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.