Hopkins Belize: Where Nature and Culture Meet
How did a sleepy little fishing village on the coast of the Stann Creek District in Belize gain a reputation for being the nation’s #1 cultural destination? A little luck. A rich heritage. And proximity to some of the most remarkable sights, sounds and experiences Belize has to offer—so many, you’ll understand how Hopkins gained so notable a reputation despite its small size. Established in the 19th Century, Hopkins has grown at a snail’s pace, thus retaining its character and flavor. Despite being home to only about 1,500 residents, you won’t find a more fascinating experience or friendlier people than the world that awaits you in Hopkins.
Things to See & Do in Hopkins Village
Set an itinerary that includes at least one (preferably all) of these: the Mayflower National Park, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Belize Barrier Reef. If you visit in late spring/early summer, swim with Whale Sharks at Gladden Split or allocate all of your time to learning how the area earned its cultural reputation. Do so by immersing yourself in the Garifuna experience where, despite the passage of time, the Garinagu population has maintained a unique, vibrant Caribbean cultural identity for 100+ years. Explore all aspects of Garifuna society: art, music and food—especially the music. Learn why drumming is the heart and soul of this culture and become familiar with contemporary Garifuna music that runs the gamut from traditional to nouveau hip hop and everything in-between. Learn to drum while you’re here. You know you want to try it!
What to Eat and Drink in Hopkins Belize
Sample Hopkins’ culinary scene by checking out all types of restaurant experiences. Start at the Barracuda Bar & Grill, owned by a married couple who (wisely) traded Alaska for Belize, known for delectable plates of grilled snapper, smoked chicken and ribs, all served al fresco on the restaurant’s deck. Equally charming is Chef Rob’s Gourmet Café where the four-course prix fixe menu changes daily, but every dish is so delicious, you may need a reservation to get seated at this popular hub. Can Brits make pizza? You bet. The Driftwood Beach Bar and Pizza Shack has a reputation that extends outside Hopkins, and you can’t go wrong patronizing affordable eateries like Innies, King Kassava (an epicenter of beer, rum and drumming!) and Thongs, a Euro-bistro known for tasty meals and yummy smoothies.
Where to Stay in Hopkins Belize
If you love a deal (and who doesn’t?), consulting an aggregator like Expedia.com can help you make a lodging decision based on your lifestyle and budget. Always at the top of Hopkins’ luxury accommodations lists are the Belizean Dreams Resort, Jaguar Reef Lodge and Spa, Almond Beach Resort, Villa Verano and Hopkins Bay Resort, but the more affordable Parrot Cove Lodge and Palm Cove Cabins share the same beachfront and won’t disappoint in terms of atmosphere and amenities. That stated, if you’re seeking the ultimate experience and can get a booking there, the award-winning Hamanasi Dive and Adventure Resort is in a class of its own.
How to Get to Hopkins Belize
Hopkins is due south of Belize City, so if you fly into the Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA), you have several choices: hop a commuter plane at PGIA destined for Dangriga’s airstrip and take a shuttle to your lodgings, or rent a car at Goldson and drive along the coast to Hopkins. You can also get Untame Belize, a local tour operator that specializes in tours and airport shuttles to transfer you to Hopkins from Belize City or the Belize International Airport.