A lot of Puerto Rico’s tourism industry is focused on either beach or mountain resorts and activities. While part of Corozal is located on the northern side of the Central Mountain Range, the municipality tends to draw local visitors by highlighting those features that make it unique. Corozal features various offbeat options for both history buffs and fun-seeking family groups.
Already settled and named in 1795, Corozal officially became a town in 1804. Its name stems from the abundant corozo palm trees in this region. Its economy has mostly been agricultural, and the plantain its most important crop. A staple in Caribbean cooking, plantains are firmer and much lower in sugar than bananas. Also, they must be cooked in order to be eaten. Steam it, boil it, or fry it, Puerto Rican cuisine offers a myriad ways to enjoy it: plantain soup or piononos or tostones or… No excuses are valid to not sample the goods at Corozal’s own National Plantain Festival, held annually in October.
Corozal offers two different parks for families. A ranch full of activities for kids and adults, El Rancho Corozal features everything from pools with slides, mini-golf, and a restaurant. At the Centro Histórico Turístico Cibuco, however, history is the main attraction, from the native taíno petroglyphs on display, to the remnants of an hacienda azucarera, part of the island’s once primordial sugar industry.
The town has also embraced the preservation of its historical buildings. Perhaps the most notable of these is the Barbería Histórica. The barber shop is truly classic, the only one of its kind left in Puerto Rico. It is closed for business, all its old equipment left on display. A visit inside can be arranged with an appointment (call the local tourism office), although you might have to go down the street to actually get a trim. However, the famous liquor store named Balalaika, in business since 1878, will still sell you alcohol (with valid ID).