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Orange Walk Town
Main square, Orange Walk Town, Belize
Orange Walk Town is located in Belize
Orange Walk Town
Map of Orange Walk metropolitan area
Coordinates: 18°4′30″N 88°33′30″W / 18.075°N 88.55833°W / 18.075; -88.55833
Country  Belize
District Orange Walk
Government
 - Mayor Phillip de la Fuente
Elevation sea level m (0 ft)
Population (2005)
 - Total 18,100
  estimated
Time zone Central (UTC-6)

Orange Walk Town is the second largest town in the nation of Belize, with a population of about 18,000. It is the capital of the Orange Walk District. Orange Walk Town is located on the left bank of the New River, 53 miles north of Belize City and 30 miles (50 km) south of Corozal Town.

History

In the days of the Mayas, the area was known as Holpatin. The district is home to the biggest Mayan temple of the pre-classic period. The Mayas of the area came in contact with the Europeans in the 1530s, after which the two groups fought over land. In 1848, there was a massive influx of Maya and Mestizos from Mexico, fleeing the Caste War of Yucatán (1847–1901). This caused a rapid growth of population.

With the mestizos came their many traditions that today abound in the region. One such thing that they brought was the sugar cane, which in the years to come became the basis of Belize's leading industry. Today, this industry continues to thrive in the region, and Orange Walk Town is nicknamed "Sugar City". The local Tower Hill Sugar Factory (Belize Sugar Industries) handles all of the country's sugar cane output. The farming of other crops, and tourism, also play a role in the economy.

Orange Walk town park
Orange Walk town along the highway

Ethnicities

The region is highly populated by Mestizos, Kriols, Mennonites, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indians, and people from Central America.

External links

Coordinates: 18°04′30″N 88°33′30″W / 18.075°N 88.55833°W / 18.075; -88.55833

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Orange Walk Town is the capital of the Orange Walk district in Northern Belize.

Get in

Orange Walk Town is a little over an hour from the airport in Belize City, up the Northern Highway. The Highway is also known as the Belize-Corozal road, and runs right through the center of town. There is a toll booth on the approach to the Town from Belize City (or simply Belize, as the locals put it). The road is generally in good condition, although like anywhere in Northern Belize, one must be careful in the wet season. During the sugar cane season, watch out for the many large cane trucks.

Get around

Walking is the best way to get around the downtown area. The market area between the Corozal road and Main Street gets going early in the morning. There are many small to medium shops and restaurants. Do not miss the carts selling breakfast tacos. Walking anywhere in the town is fairly safe, especially in groups, and the people are friendly and will be happy to chat.

See

The best attraction in the area is Lamanai, the Mayan ruins up the river. You can catch a boat or bus tour from Orange Walk. The boat will be easier on your kidneys, as the road is quite rough.

Corozal is a short drive to the north with its beautiful bay, and Chetumal, Mexico just past that. Progresso lagoon is also a great place to visit.

Do

The Belize Bank on Main Street will change Euros and US Dollars, but not Mexican Pesos. Scotia Bank was similar. To change Mexican Pesos into Belizean Dollars, go to the store called Baba's, that faces on the main square (near the clock tower). Inside Baba's there is a teller window where Pesos can be changed to Belizean dollars at a reasonable rate. There is no indication on the outside of the store that this service is available.

Eat

There will be many street vendors selling tacos and the like in the morning. Try them. While you are in Belize, be sure to have some salbutes - fried corncakes, tomatoes, chicken - available at a couple of places along main street. There are a lot of Chinese restaurants in Belize, and they are usually pretty good, especially the bigger ones.

Of course, the staple of Belizean cuisine is chicken - barbequed chicken, rice and beans, flour tortillas and potato salad.

One of the better places to eat in Orange Walk is the Lamanai Riverside Retreat. The menu emphasizes seafood. There are no vegetarian options on the menu, but the staff are happy to work out a vegetarian plate.

  • 33 san fransisco st. acuario nightclub
  • St. Christopher Hotel, Main Street (near the Banquitas House of Culture) is clean and reasonable. All rooms have air conditioning, and it is a five minute walk from the center of town.
  • Lamanai Riverside Retreat. Small hotel with three rooms each with bath and air conditioning, right on the New River. The hotel will happily set up a tent or two for additional guests (shower and toilet accessible). The hotel will be happy to help with travel and sightseeing information, and can book boat tours to Lamanai that pick you up directly at the hotel's little dock. This is also a great restaurant. Located on Lamanai Alley, (501) 302-3955, email:lamanairiverside@hotmail.com.

Get out

Drive through the surrounding countryside. Be sure to visit some of the smaller towns in the district - August Pine Ridge, San Pablo, San Narciso, etc. Mennonite communities abound. You can recognize them by their perfectly tended farms.

2nd Class buses (no airconditioning, and usually no "trunk" for suitcases) run regularly from Orange walk to Belize City, usually no more than 2 hours one way. From Belize City, you can connect to almost anywhere else in the country. While avoiding Belize City is desireable, it is almost unavoidable if you want to make bus connections to other locations.

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