If you are an adventurous traveler looking for immersion, sun, and friendship, you must visit the southern coastal village of Hopkins. It is blessed with a near five-mile-long stretch of sand, facing the Caribbean Sea plus a rich Garifuna culture.
In recent years, it has become a rising tourist hot-spot, more than likely, because its cultural beat is alive and well. Hopkins’ main road links its various neighborhoods with both pedestrian and bike paths, matching its tranquil and friendly vibe. Sounds of Garifuna drums can be heard echoing both day and night, at beachfront weekly shows, or during private drumming lessons at the Lebeha Drumming Center.
In a shady thatched-roof restaurant, away from the blazing sun, you can savor hudut-mashed plantain – with a fish coconut sauce. This Afro-Amerindian cuisine is up to par with the best gourmet meals in the country!
Offshore, the Barrier Reef and Glover’s Reef atoll, are just a boat ride away; or go along the Sittee River and see crocodiles and wild birds. At nearby Bocawina National Park, waterfalls and rocky trails aren’t for the faint of heart but bring rewarding nature experiences. Meanwhile, at H’men Herbal Center, discover the secrets of Maya medicinal remedies.
Cooking Lessons: watch and learn the whole process of preparing Hudut. It is a traditional Fish Curry made with coconut with both green and ripe plantains. Chat with the cook and share anecdotes.
Drumming Lesson: The Garifuna people dance and chant for every occasion, all accompanied by two typical drums, of differing timbre. One lesson will impart the basics of drumming, but think of the fun you’ll have. You may even learn a chant or catchy song.
Fishing and Snorkeling: Your guides will all be seasoned sea and fisherfolk and the proximity to the Barrier Reef offers exceptional, crystal-clear snorkeling, and fishing. Gladden Spit is only 45 minutes away by boat. Here, from March to June, 10 days after the full moon, you can come and swim with Whale Sharks.
Maya Center Village: This cultural hub is only 30 minutes away and offers two truly unique tours. Visit the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve. You will get there through a hiking trail in the jungle, teeming with birds, tropical wildlife, medicine trails so you can get a glimpse of herbs, and plants used to relieve ailments. It is not certain that you will see a jaguar, but you’ll see its paw prints. There are also coatis, monkeys, jaguarundi, and many other species. At the end, you can refresh yourself under a cooling waterfall.
The Mayflower Bocawina National Park: Another protected area, this one is not as strenuous as the Cockscomb. Here you can enjoy nature trails and amazing birdwatching. It is only 20 minutes away from Hopkins. There are three waterfalls for rappelling plus the longest zip-line course in Central America.