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Tony Rath's

In the small coastal community of Copper Bank, worries have long since been eradicated. The community's 500 residents are sometimes lost among the vibrant orchids, lime, avocado, orange, papaya, banana, and tangerine trees. Set along the Laguna Seca, only forty-five minutes separates the shoreline from Chetumal, Mexico (half an hour by boat). Although few tourists visit Copper Bank, few other localities in Belize and beyond offer a more relaxed natural setting by the sea.

Copper Bank Dock and Lagoon
Copper Bank Dock and Lagoon

The English arrived in 1877 and named the town after some old copper coins from San Fernando that they found. As with all other regions in Belize, the first inhabitants of the area were the Maya. Although now partially underwater, the nearby ancient site of Cerros covers fifty-three hillside acres beside the Chetumal Bay. Cerros served as an important jade and obsidian trading center during its heyday from 400 B.C. to 100 A.D. Today, most residents earn their living from the sea; drying fishing nets and numerous docked boats expose the village's prime industry.

Lagoon at Copper Bank
Small Dory Alongside Lagoon at Copper Bank
Fishing Boat Construction and Repair at Copper Bank
Fishing Boat Construction and Repair at Copper Bank

Copper Bank's natural scenery charms most visitors already pleased to have discovered a hidden paradise. Along with numerous fruit trees, hibiscus and orchids splash color throughout the streets. Three nearby lagoons, including the idyllic Progresso Lagoon, showcase crocodiles, manatees, agouti, tapir, woodpeckers, toucans, and countless other jungle birds. Local guides lead guests through both Cerros and the lagoons. Hiking, diving, or snorkeling trips to nearby Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve can also be arranged in town.

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