Orange Walk Town
Orange Walk Town
|Municipality||Orange Walk Town|
|o Mayor||Kevin Bernard (PUP)|
|o Urban||18.9 km2 (7.28 sq mi)|
|o Metro||15 km2 (6 sq mi)|
|Elevation||33 m (10.5 ft)|
| o Estimate |
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central)|
Orange Walk Town is the fourth largest town in Belize, with a population of about 13,400 (Official Release of the Main Findings of the 2010 Population and Housing Census). It is the capital of the Orange Walk District. Orange Walk Town is located on the left bank of the New River, 53 miles (85 km) north of Belize City and 30 miles (48 km) south of Corozal Town. Despite the English name of the city, its residents are primarily Spanish-speaking mestizos. The city is in a very low-lying area of Belize, though the police station sits atop a buried Mayan pyramid at 49 m (161 ft) tall.
In the days of the Maya civilization, the area was known as Holpatin. The district is home to the biggest Maya temple of the pre-classic period. The Maya 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. In 1872, it was the site of the Battle of Orange Walk. Lamanai (meaning "submerged crocodile" in Mayan dialect) and Cuello ("chin" in Spanish) are two very early Mayan ruins located in Orange Walk. Cuello is in fact the oldest Mayan settlement in Belize, dating back to around 2000 BC.
In the nineteenth century, Orange Walk was a small city mostly concentrated on the banks of the Rio Hondo River until the construction of the Philip P. Goldson Northern Highway after World War 2. This sparked massive growth around the highway, and it became what is now Queen Victoria Avenue in downtown Orange Walk.
With the Maya and Mestizos came their many traditions that today abound in the region. One such thing that they brought was 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. Also, rum is made straight from the local cane by refineries such as Cuello Refinery Ltd, Caribbean Refinery and Old Master Rum. It is then mostly consumed nationally and not customarily exported. The farming of other crops, and tourism, also play a role in the economy. Overall, Orange Walk has one of Belize's strongest and most productive economies. Many families are rich due to importing goods from nearby Mexico. The poverty rate in Orange Walk is 24.9%, the second-lowest in the country. The quality of life is also high due to the good economy. Many Orange Walk citizens eat out several times a week, more often than many other Belizeans. The median income adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is about US$12,000.
Tourism in Orange Walk is mostly ecotourism.
Orange Walk is in the Orange Walk municipality, which has a People's United Party (PUP) majority. The PUP is a left-center party and one of the two major parties in the country. Thus, the mayor Kevin Bernard is a member of the aforementioned party.
Departments of the city government are
"The Issuing and renewal of drivers' licenses and vehicle licenses for all individuals and vehicles registered in the Orange Walk area. The Inspection of all modes of transportation that require a license under the law to traffic on any street. The monitoring and supervision of all parades, funerals and similar activities which impede the normal flow of Traffic. The regulation of Parking and all activities related to parking within the town. The strategic placement of appropriate traffic signs and traffic lights throughout the town. Public education and information on basic Traffic Laws."
Healthcare - the Northern Regional Hospital is the public hospital of the Orange walk area. It has a total of 57 beds and has 11 outlying health centers and 16 outlying health posts.
Education - There are three government primary schools in Orange Walk Town. There are two government high schools.
The National Fire Service has a branch in Orange Walk.
Orange Walk is home to seven financial institutions, including Atlantic Bank, Belize Bank, and Scotia bank.
There are six insurance agents in Orange Walk.
Belize Telemedia Limited and Smart, the two phone and internet service providers most common in Belize, have offices in Orange Walk. So does Centaur, a cable television and internet provider unique to Orange Walk.
The Orange Walk Local Planning Work Group (WLPG) is a governmental organization formed for the positive development of the community. The members of the group are:
1. Mayor Kevin Bernard, Orange Walk Town
2. Ricardo Moguel, Community Representative Chapter 1
3. Efrain Alpuche, OWTC Representative
4. Mynor Ramirez, OWTC Representative(Chapters 1-3)
5. Osmany Salas, Community Representative
6. Omar Mendez, OWTC Representative and Operations Officer
7. Neri Ramirez, OWTC Representative
8. Jaime Briceno, Community Representative
9. Adrian Leiva, Community Representative
10. Josue Carballo, OWTC Representative
11. Yolanda Gomez, Community Representative
12. Wender Alamilla, OWTC Representative (Chapters 4-5)
With the support of:
German Novelo, Public Relations Officer, OWTC.
Juan Novelo, IT Officer, OWTC
The Orange Walk Local Planning Work Group (WLPG) and its members are planning many infrastructural projects in the city area. These include:
|Climate data for Orange Walk Town (BSI Tower Hill)|
|Average high °C (°F)||28.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||23.4
|Average low °C (°F)||17.9
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||68.3
|Average rainy days||8||5||3||3||13||13||13||13||13||13||10||8||115|
|Source: National Meteorological Service of Belize|
The climate in Orange Walk is generally dry and relatively warm compared with other regions. Rainstorms are usually brief when they do occur.
The region is highly populated by Mestizos, Yucatec Mayas, Kriols, Mennonites, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indians, and other people from Central America. Approximately 78% of the population identifies as Hispanic/Latino (Mestizo), 11.1% identify as Mennonite, Maya make up 1.7% of the populace, Garifuna 0.8%, East Indian 0.7%, Creole 7.2%, White 0.3%, and Asian 0.8%. As a whole, Orange Walk is the least ethnically diverse city in Belize, with a mainly Hispanic population.
Religion is important to most in Orange Walk, to some more than others. There is a large Catholic presence, although many Evangelicals can also be found preaching in the streets and proselytizing. There are many churches and ministries in Orange Walk. About 65% of Orange Walk residents are Roman Catholic, Protestants make up 22%, Jehovah's Witnesses 2%, and Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Mormons, and Salvation Army make up about 1% each.
There are about fifty registered churches in the Orange Walk region. The following are some of the ministries and churches located in the greater Orange Walk area:
The most used language in Orange Walk Town is English, but Spanish is also very common and almost everyone speaks it to some extent. The official statistics as of 2010 report that 0.7% speak Chinese, 16.8% speak Kriol, 62.2% speak English, 0.5% speak Garifuna, 10% speak German (Low German or "Plattdeutsch"), 2.3% speak Maya/Indigenous tongues, 85.6% speak Spanish, and 0.6% speak other languages.
2010 Population and Housing Census has Orange Walk town's total population as 13,400 residents. Of this 6,642 are males and 6,758 are females. The total number of households is 3,361 and the average household size is 4.4. 88.1% of these Orange Walk residents live in a full private house, 5.9% in part of a private house, 1.3% in an apartment, and 4.5% in other. About 14% of Orange Walkeños rent a dwelling, whereas about 59.4% own houses mortgage free. Most of the buildings in the city were built from 1990-1999. Of these, over half are made of brick, and a quarter of wood. About three-fourths of all roofs are made of sheet metal. Homes and buildings in Orange Walk are the best kept, with the lowest rate of necessary repair in the country.
Acoording to official sources, Orange Walk is becoming more congested and densely populated, and is moving toward apartment flats as an alternative to traditional houses. However, up to 1,200 plots of land are abandoned or have dilapidated, derelict housing.
The 2019 population estimate is around 22,000. The growth is about 2.7%, far larger than the national population growth of 1.9%.
Orange Walk has one of the highest qualities of education in Belize. Students from Orange Walk frequently score high on standardized examinations and are heavily present at other academic contests.
The school attendance figure is about 55% of males and 45% of females for primary school, 50%-50% for high schools, and 40% of males versus 60% of females attend college.
In Orange Walk about a quarter of all students surpass 70% on their standardized exams, compared with only 15% doing so in Stann Creek District. Orange Walk has the highest rate of trained teachers in the country, second only to Corozal.
Despite the high quality of education, Orange Walk has the second-highest rate of children aged 5-13 outside of school in the country, at 24.1%.
Orange Walk has one of the lowest student budgets in the country, less than half that of Belize City. Most Orange Walk residents pay for education out of their own pockets, spending 12% of their total budgets on it. This is almost double the 7.4% that Toledo residents spend on education.
Primary schools include:
High schools in the Orange Walk metropolitan area include:
The following are the tertiary institutions/universities located in Orange Walk:
Orange Walk has many parks, public spaces, and green areas. There are large, ancient, sprawling trees scattered throughout the city.
The Town Council in Orange Walk has done well in creating many parks in the area. They are mostly clean and family-friendly. They include:
The locality is served by the Orange Walk Airport (IATA: ORZ). Local bus service to and from Belize City to the south and Corozal Town to the north operates approximately every half-hour. Taxis and minibuses are also available for transportation within the city and to surrounding villages and towns. The town is a mid-stop point between Belize City and Chetumal, Mexico, and for this reason many large tour buses pass through on a regular basis. The Orange Walk District in general, and Orange Walk Town in particular, are drug-trafficking centers due to their close proximity to Mexico.
The streets in Orange Walk town are very well paved in most areas, with almost no potholes. Be aware that there are some speed bumps throughout the town, as well as traffic lights at main intersections (these are rare in Belize).
In accordance with the Orange Walk Transport Authority, there are about twenty daily buses coming into Orange Walk from the surrounding areas. About fifty buses leave Orange Walk to surrounding towns, villages, and to Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Orange Walk has the second-highest marriage rate in the country at 43.7% of all persons.
A relatively low number of foreign-born persons live in the city (10.8%, as opposed to 14.5% national average).
The town is served by the Northern Regional Hospital, formerly called the Orange Walk Hospital, and a second major private hospital named Northern Medical Specialist Plaza. Orange Walk has a very good quality of healthcare. The infant mortality rate is 8.5 per 1,000 live births, and the crude death rate was 4.2 per 1,000 persons in 2010. Several clinics are available in Orange Walk, including, but not limited to:
There are also many pharmacies: