In Corozal district you can visit Cerros Ruins and Santa Rita. Paul and I were on a Mexico to Belize adventure and had to overnight in Corozal as we missed the last Tropic Air flight. Our cab driver Ravey who had got us in Chetumal and driven us across the border took us to see Santa Rita Maya Ruins on our way to finding a us a nice hotel.
Today’s write up comes from Dr Al. my most controversial commenter who wanted to do a guest post. I decided to take my chances and say yes, surprisingly I did not need to add a disclaimer on this one ha ha.
About 2 minutes from Corozal as the Albatross flies or an hour by car, are the oldest Mayan ruins in Belize. Located on the Cerros peninsula, they date from about 200BC to 400AD, also known as the pre classic period. To get there leave early to beat the heat. Bring lots of water and possibly long pants as the mosquitoes can be a challenge. Travel down the Northern Highway just past the marker for Tony’s Inn and look for the sign : Copper Bank, Chunox, and Sarteneja. There should be a brown one also with a pyramid. Take that road and then the second right which is the New River road. Eventually you reach the ferry which is a quaint old hand cranked sugar barge:
The ride is free but the ferry operators enjoy a cold drink. (beer is ok). After 20 minutes you reach the other side. Continue until you reach a fork in the road and hang left to the village of Copper Bank. As you enter there will be a Cerros sign pointing left. Follow that to another fork and keep left and follow to the ruin site. ( If you see a sign saying Benvidos a Guatemala turn around 🙂 ) Once there, there should be a security guard near the small museum and the cost is 5$BZ/person.
The museum contains a schematic of Cerros as it was and a site map. However most of the area is still awaiting excavation. Spend time checking the local artifacts though the best collections have been sent to the archaeology museum in Belmopan.
Then proceed down the well maintained path lined with a variety of plants, which follows the ocean side. In about 20 minutes walk you reach the main structure:
My guess is that this was a lookout point as well as a temple since Cerros was a port city along major Mayan trade routes. Climb to the top for a fine view of Corozal Bay. Although the area is well maintained and peaceful there are no other structures other than mounds that contain as yet unexcavated treasures including a ball court.
After the visit go back to the road fork and go left until you reach a T and then left again (should be a sign) to Cerros Beach Resort. Bill and Jenny should greet you and you can end the morning with a nice lunch of cheeseburger and fresh cut fries and homemade wine.
You can then on the way back visit Copper Bank. A prosperous fishing village of concrete homes, the name originates with Copper sheathing used on wooden ships in the 19th century worked on in the protected lagoon. The villagers are Mestizo descendants of the Yucatan wars.
Visit the home of the “mayor” Romeo Goroseca, tell him I sent you and you can have a cold brew. He is a big man with good humor who dives 30 feet for conch and lobster. Make sure you say you like the color red, and you might get a free village tour. A pleasant end to an interesting morning.
This short video (no audio) shows a rotating, 3D view of a Cao-modeled Effigy from the Maya Post classic Period, an object in the Florida Museum of Natural History’s research collections. The video provides an example of how other items from the Florida Museum’s Cerros collection could be digitized and made viewable online through the Cerros Research Online Catalog database project. The database will feature a recently accessioned collection of materials from an important early Maya site in northern Belize. The government of Belize transferred the materials to the Florida Museum of Natural History in November 2009. The total Cerros collection at the Florida Museum is comprised of about 350 cubic feet of material, including Precolumbian ceramics and artifacts made of other materials, such as chipped and ground stone, jade, coral, worked shell and bone, copper, gold, plaster, as well as zoo-archaeological remains, and soil, carbon and macro-botanical samples. This project will focus on intact artifacts, including more than 100 whole and re-constructable pottery vessels and about 1,500 additional objects.