Much like Dangriga, the seaside village of Hopkins is a cultural hotspot for learning about the fascinating Garifuna culture of Belize. Hopkins was established back in the 1940’s after a nearby area was devastated by a hurricane and everyone from farmers and fishermen relocated there.
While Hopkins Belize has grown, the area has retained its coastal charm and resisted over-commercialization. You will feel the Garifuna culture at every turn in the village, along with a gateway to a wealth of water and nature activities.
During Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19, the village comes alive with travelers from all over Belize converging to experience local music, drumming, traditional food, and the annual Garifuna Landing reenactment ceremony.
Things to Do
If you are interested in cultural tourism, Hopkins is the best spot for learning about how Garifuna drumming works. There is a local drum school and many of the hotels can arrange for you to partake in a session. Be warned, it can be addictive.
A major draw for travelers to Hopkins is the accessibility to some of the best dive sites in Belize. Even if you are not a diver, snorkeling off the coast is worthwhile, and there are a number of spots nearby and you can also enjoy snorkeling further out. Fishermen love Hopkins, with local guides offering everything from reef fishing to deep-sea big game trips.
Nature sites like Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary are accessible from Hopkins or you can just relax and rent a bicycle and explore the small fishing village at your leisure.
Food and Drinks
Garifuna food reigns supreme here. In addition to dishes like hudut and cassava bread, seek out bundiga, a simple dish made with bananas or plantains that are grated and cooked in coconut milk with fresh snapper and local seasonings added to the pot while cooking.
Wangla is a local Belizean candy made with sugar and toasted sesame seeds. While not the healthiest of treats, a splurge here and there on holiday is worth it. Creole bread, with its subtle sweetness obtained from the addition of coconut milk, is another must try while in Belize.
Fresh fruit and seafood are also abundant in Hopkins. If you spend a day out fishing, be sure to bring your catch back to the hotel and let their chef prepare it. Belizeans know seafood and you could spend a week eating fish and never have it prepared the same way twice.
Where To Stay
Despite being a small region, Hopkins is home to a number of great lodging options. From backpacker style digs to sprawling beachfront resorts, Hopkins is a great place to make as a home base for your Belize vacation. The award-winning Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort has their own on-site 5-star PADI dive center, while Hopkins Bay Resort offers lavish condo style accommodations with a variety of Garifuna cultural activities available.
It is easy to get to Hopkins Village. If you arrive in Belize via the Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA), you can take a short flight to a small airport near Placencia Village where you can arrange a transfer to your hotel. Another option is renting a vehicle or public transportation (bus) from anywhere in Belize.