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Tony Rath's
 
PLACES TO SEE > LAGOONS > Ranchito Lagoon

Driving south from Corozal Town to Orange Walk and Belize City, visitors will encounter the sleepy village of Ranchito and the Ranchito Lagoon. Filled with clusters of water lilies and lined with tall red mangroves, the lagoon resembles a tropical version of a Van Gogh painting.

Ranchito Lagoon
Ranchito Lagoon
Canal from Ranchito Lagoon to New River
Canal from Ranchito Lagoon to New River

Alligators recline on the edges as the endless drone of damselflies and bees fills the air. Flocks of jacanas and the occasional kingfisher also sweep through the air and deer, peccary, gibnut, and iguanas frequent the riverbank. A narrow channel lined with lily pads caters to feeding manatees. The deeper trenches along the edges rise to shallower waters in the middle of the lagoon, where anglers and local spear fishermen find exceptional tarpon fishing.

Fisherman in canal from Ranchito to New River
Fisherman in canal from Ranchito to New River
Libertad Sugar Factory
Libertad Sugar Factory on New River

The Ranchito Lagoon leads to the northernmost part of the New River. The river then continues on to the old Libertad Sugar Factory, the first sugar factory in Belize. Although the factory is no longer used for sugar production, barges still load molasses there en route to Belize City two times a day. One tugboat pulls three barges through the New River. The mangrove edges show scars where barges have thrashed the root systems. The barges pass the Copper Bank ferry, which must be taken down twice a day.

Copper Bank Ferry
Copper Bank Ferry

At the turn from Libertad, birds loudly announce their presence among the palmettos and coco plum trees. The tour from Libertad leads back out into Corozal Bay. This tour is done in combination with other destinations, such as the Mayan site of Cerros. Contact a tour operator from Corozal for more information. The Northern Highway runs close to Ranchito Lagoon, making the waterway very accessible from Corozal Town a few miles down the road.

New RiverProgressoHoney CampRanchito4 Mile
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