I agree with belizelaw's take on Corozal Bay Inn, Tony's and Copa Banana. Here are my reviews of those three plus some others that I've stayed in a few times.
Corozal Bay Inn, Almond Dr., P.O. Box 1, Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-2691, fax 800-836-9188 in the U.S. and Canada; e-mail [email protected]
Rates: US$80 double (with possible discounts off-season) plus 9% tax. V and MC accepted. Corozal Bay Inn has been around for several years, but owners Doug and Marie Podzun sold their original funky units (now renovated, called Hotel Paradise, and offered up by the new owner, locally known as “Herman the German,” as mostly weekly or longer-term accommodations, at affordable rates) and have created a charming new cabaña colony by the bay. Doug and Maria — she’s originally from Mexico, and he’s a Canadian by birth of German heritage who moved to Belize with his family when he was a youngster — have built 10 attractive cabañas on the water. The cabañas, painted in colorful tropical pastels, are surprisingly spacious and have bay thatch roofs. While most of them are situated to catch the breeze from the bay, they do have air-conditioning (though on a hot day the A/C units may struggle to cool all that open space under the thatch), tile baths, two comfortable beds in each cabaña, and 27” TVs with cable. Two units at the back connect, making them ideal for families. Doug had several hundred dump truck loads of sand brought in and created a tropical beach on the bay. There is a seawall, but you’ll love the water view and the concrete pier. You can sit by the pool, sip something cold in the redone outdoor restaurant and bar and, if you have a wireless laptop, check your e-mail, as Corozal Bay Inn boasts one of the only hot spots in Belize. All in all, the Podzuns have turned their place into one of the nicest spots to stay in northern Belize.
Copa Banana Guesthouse by the Bay, 409 Corozal Bay Rd., P.O. Box 226, Corozal Town, tel. 501-422-0284, fax 422-2710; e-mail [email protected]
Rates: US$55 double/US$350 week, plus 9% tax. V and MC accepted. If you’re in town shopping for property around Corozal, or staying awhile en route farther south, you couldn’t do much better than this guesthouse, new in early 2004. The rates are affordable, you can cook meals in the common kitchen, complete with dishware, stove, coffee maker, microwave and fridge, and the owners even run a real estate business, Belize North Real Estate Ltd. Connie and her partner, Gregg, have done up two banana-yellow one-story, ranch-style concrete houses, with a total of five guest rooms (some with queen beds, some with two twins) across the street from their expansive home on the water. The house where my family and I stayed had three bedrooms, each with en suite bath and cable TV, plus a modern kitchen, dining area and living room, so guests have private bedrooms but share the common space. As it happened, there were no other guests when we stayed there, so in effect we had our own private house. A new apartment unit is also available, generally for longer-term stays. They also have a car or two for rent for US$70 a day, and scooters for US$8 an hour. There’s no pool, and you’re not directly on the water, but there is a view of the bay, and the owners are bringing in sand from the bay for a beach area. Water toys such as boogie boards, rafts and inner tubes are available for guests.
Hokol Kin Guesthouse, P.O. Box 145, Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-3329; fax 422-3569; e-mail [email protected]
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. The restaurant serves inexpensive breakfasts, burgers and snacks. Unusual for Belize, one room is wheelchair-accessible. There are private baths, but used tissue goes in trashcans, not toilets. It enjoys a high occupancy due to business from medical missionaries and other groups and from Europeans. Owners have put the hotel on the market but no immediate changes are expected. Rates: US$40-$65 double year-round.
Casablanca by the Sea, Consejo Village (Mail: P.O. Box 212, Corozal Town); tel. 501-501-423-1018; fax 423-1003; e-mail [email protected] 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. The food here, however, is only so-so –it’s helpful to have a car to get back and forth to town. 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.
Tony’s Inn & Beach Resort, South End (P.O. Box 12), Corozal Town; tel. 501-422-2055, fax 422-2829; e-mail [email protected]
For 30 years, Tony’s has been a popular stopping place for visitors passing through from Mexico. (Sadly, the founder, Tony Castillo, passed away in 2004.) 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$50-75 double in-season, US$10 less rest of year. Tony’s, with Hok’ol K’in are two hotels in Corozal that can be fully booked anytime, in part due to their popularity with mission and tour groups.
Other options in Coro worth looking at are low-moderate level Hotel Maya (the owner is very helpful), and Nestor's, a long-established budget place in the middle of town that has been renovated and expanded by new owners.