Find yourself venturing along the winding turns of the Hummingbird Highway of Belize, enjoying the views on the most naturally impressive drive to the eastern coast of the country. Be sure to keep an eye out after the cut off for the sign prompting ‘HOPKINS VILLAGE’.
Turn left onto a road that will take you through a savannah teeming with wildlife. Watch as Wood Storks and Jabirus gracefully curtsy to fish for their meals and as butterflies and dragonflies flutter at every corner. A straight drive will lead you to the end of the road where you’ll find a quaint fishing village – Hopkins.
The first thing to greet you is a beautiful mural of black, white and yellow depicting a vibrant people, the writing reads Recibilumutibu Hopkins – you are being welcomed to the friendliest village in Belize. Nationally known as a hub of Garifuna culture, Hopkins Village is surrounded by the Maya Mountains to the West and the Caribbean Sea to the East. Established in 1942 after the devastation of Newton Village by a hurricane, at first glance, it would be easy to assume there isn’t much to the village of population 1,000.
You’d be very wrong. Beyond the main road lined with modest homes, shops and restaurants, there is a flourishing community that relishes their outdoor lounge lifestyle. Things to do while in Hopkins are abundant and wide-ranging.
Begin your day
Firstly, grab a Belizean breakfast to start the morning. Turn right after the entrance and head to Paddle House at Jaguar Reef Resort for your coconut refried beans and fry jack fix. While you’re there take in the beauty of the brown sugar beach and the Caribbean Sea that is framed by lazy palms and the odd mangrove shrubs. The day has begun and there is so much to do!
You can spearfish, paddleboard or jump in the Caribbean Sea for a quick dip. Do some bird watching while paddling the Sittee River or head to Palmetto Grove and kayak through the lagoon. You’ll be missing out if you don’t go on a cultural tour. If you like music, dance,andfood you are in the right place! Learn how to play a beat on the Garifuna drums, sway your hips to the sound of Punta and climb a tree to pull down a coconut and prepare a delicious lunch! The rich taste of a hot bowl of seré complimented with heartyhudutwill keep you satisfied for hours.
Your day must not end without the view of the crimson skies turning dark behind the mountains.
By the time night has descended upon you, the glowing marvel of the bioluminescent lagoon calls. Look up and gaze at one of the clearest views of the constellations. This is when you truly appreciate the natural beauty of this wonderful place. Before you leave stop by Newton Bar where the chicken soup is to die for or head to Driftwood Beach Bar to mingle with the locals.
One day is never enough, but you’ll leave Hopkins with a full belly and a light step. See you next time!
WRITTEN BY: BEA JAY ARMSTRONG