South from the Mexican border, the road meets the sea at the town of Corozal, near the mouth of the New River. The ancient Maya prospered here by controlling river and seaborne trade, and the impressive site of Cerros is nearby, if complicated to reach. Present-day Corozal was founded in 1849 by refugees from Mexico’s Caste Wars, although today’s grid-pattern layout, a neat mix of Mexican and Caribbean, is largely due to reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Janet in 1955.

There’s little reason to spend time in Corozal unless you are trying to get to Cerros. However, it is an ideal place for a few days of quiet relaxation. The breezy shoreline park is good for a stroll, while on the tree-shaded main plaza, the town hall is worth a look inside for a mural by Manuel Villamar Reyes, which vividly describes local history. In the block west of the plaza you can see the remains of Fort Barlee, built to ward off Maya attacks in the 1870s.

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