Belizean Highlights - Hopkins, Food, and Culture
Hopkins Village Limits
Why Hopkins Village?
I am not a party animal. I enjoy nature, solitude and the laid back lifestyle that most central American countries have to offer. I am by nature introverted so according to the research I did, Hopkins is one of the most low key towns close to the Caribbean and one of the safest as well. That was just what I was searching for. Since we were three females traveling there, I wanted to take the extra precautions. I tend to be the overcautious planner of the three. Imagine that. That being said, it doesn't exclude the need to take extra precautions. We tried to be careful to not be out after dark a lot and to ,of course, lock up the house any time we left it, even for a stroll down the beach. Ignore the men who whistle at you on the street. Basically be smart ,people. Hopkins has so much to offer in culture, food, and even entertainment. It is a breath of fresh air.
Sunrise in Hopkins
Hummingbird Highway and Roadside Cafe
While I chose Hopkins for our tropical destination, there are definitely things along the way you should see if you venture to Belize. We rented a jeep to get us from point A. to B. Although it was a bit pricey it was worth it to us to have our own set of wheels and we could explore for ourselves this amazing land. The Hummingbird Highway was absolutely spectacular. Another must do is to stop at a roadside cafe. We did and food was AMAZING!
Top 5 Highlights
Well this is hard. We only spent a week in Hopkins so we had to carefully plan our days. So every moment counted, so to speak. Here are my top five highlights.
- 5. Kayaking down the Sittee River towards the mouth of the ocean. The crocodiles only come out sometimes. A comforting thought. Per the man helping us with the kayaks. It was money well spent, but boy was I sore the next day!
- 4. Listening to the Garifuna drummers play at Innie's Restaurant. It was simply mesmerizing. It really shows the culture and spirit that still exists in their beautiful village.
- 3. The local foods of course. On the way to Hopkins we stopped at a roadside cafe right shortly after we left the airport. The BBQ chicken and slaw was amazing washed down with a cold coke. Another place, my favorite, was Innie's restaurant in Hopkins Village. Please try their Hudut. Pronounced, "HOO-doot" It's red snapper drowned in savory coconut milk sauce. It was hands down my favorite dish. Honorable mention is Driftwood Beach Bar and Pizza Shack. Absolutely delicious!
- 2. Antelope Falls. Located in the Mayflower Bocawina National Park it was just 12 miles from Hopkins Village. If you are wanting some exercise with amazing views this is your destination! Come ready to swim at the end of your hike, as there is a pool at the bottom of the falls where you can take a dip.
- 1. Finally, my number one favorite thing was SUP and snorkeling with Martin. It was my first adventure of that sort and definitely one I want to repeat! Martin was a superb guide and very knowledgeable of the area.
From the Fast Lane to the Pot Holes and Sand Between Our Toes
What to expect is a beautiful village. If it is indeed the rainy season, expect lots of potholes and mud. We went the first part of December so the dry season was not yet in full swing, as it did rain daily. The drivers also go surprisingly fast on these roads. Bike and bicycle rentals are available in town for other forms of transportation. Besides the muddy roads, another nuisance we found, was the noseeums in the sand. Annoying but unavoidable. Local body oil spray worked wonders!!
The Garifuna Culture
Intriguing to me is the culture of the Garinagua. They seem to be overall a happy go lucky smiling people. Their Afro-Caribbean descent make them unique in their own way. Listen to them as they share with you their drumming at the Lebeha drumming center where you can sign up for lessons in Hopkins or at Innie's Restaurant on certain nights of the week. This was one of my highlights. Although they do not make up all the culture of Hopkins Village, they are the majority. Other cultures included Chinese, Mayan, and Hispanic as well as Creole. Diversity is the word. Belize is truly the melting pot of nations.
Mayflower Bocawina National Park
"Not All Who Wander Are Lost" -J.R.R. Tolkien
Wandering into the Mayflower Bocawina National Park was simply breathtaking and #2 on my Highlight list. We did not do everything that was offered there. But we did hike up to the Antelope Falls, at first it didn't seem like much. The higher you climb the steeper the incline, until close to the top we were using ropes on the trail to help us along. Definitely burned a few calories! If you are of the serious adventurer type you can even rappel down the falls. We even watched as a man did that.
To the Serious Adventurer
If you indeed need the adrenaline rush I would say rappelling is a great way to do that. That being said, I never have done that, and probably never will. There are also some zip lines in the park, although according to a local they are not very long. We didn't have time to do that, and I am scared of heights! There were some things that we had on our 'to do' that we didn't actually get to do. One was go cave tubing, according to Martin ,our SUP guide, there are some really cool caves in Southern Belize that you can explore. I think that would be for the Adventurer in you.
At the Summit
Belizean Trip Resources
contact info/ information
Hopkins SUP tours and rentals
Sittee River Marina
Mayflower Bocawina National Park
$10 US per person
Crystal Auto Rental
Planning Your Time Spent
Planning is in my opinion a high priority for a successful adventure. It all depends on what you want and what your willing to pay to get just that. For me I like to budget, yet I do like some luxuries. It just depends on my frame of mind for that certain vacation. It also can depend on your travel company. I don't mean to say that every jot and tittle needs to be planned down to the hour. Leave room for unexpected adventures and be flexible. For us It didn't work to go snorkeling and SUPing the day we had planned due to weather , but it did work later in the week. So get out there! Travel, and explore this planet!
© 2018 Cass Dawn