In recent years, as more travelers are venturing to Southern Belize, the small seaside Village of Hopkins has blossomed into an incredible destination. Hopkins is principally known for its vibrant Garifuna culture and heritage, however, it’s beautiful beaches and the numerous things to do such as fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and jungle tours provide something for travelers of all walks of life. Additionally, Hopkins’ location provides easy access to some of the best mainland expeditions in Belize, which I’m sure has played a crucial role in increasing its popularity. So if you plan to visit, I suggest you try the activities below to make your experience even better.
The Top Things To Do in Hopkins
1. Garifuna Cooking Lesson
One of the best ways to experience any destination is through food and if you take a Garifuna cooking lesson in Hopkins, you will be treated to an amazing cultural experience that will last a lifetime. Typically, the lesson involves cooking Hudut, a traditional Garifuna meal that is made up of ripe and green plantains and a Belizean-style coconut fish curry. Seeing the cooking process is amazing, however, interacting and hearing the cook share her childhood stories is even better.
2. Garifuna Drumming Lesson
Another must-have experience while in Hopkins is taking drumming lessons. While I was in college, I took Garifuna drumming lessons as one of my electives and it was incredible. I must admit that it normally takes several lessons to get good at it, however, one session is enough to learn the basics. Plus, although you may not master drumming, you may excel at dancing Punta or sing the traditional songs.
3. Snorkel, Dive, Fish or Sail the Caribbean Sea
One of the best aspects about Hopkins is that it used to be a fishing village and the locals are seafaring men and women. Whether you want to go snorkeling, diving, fishing or sailing, the tour guides are very experienced and you can rest assured that you will have a great time. Of course, with the Barrier Reef being less than an hour away, several of Belize’s top dive sites are easily accessible from Hopkins. Gladden Spit, for example, is only 45 minutes away and offers exceptional snorkeling and diving. And if you’re in Belize during March to June, for 10 days after the full moon, visit Gladden Spit for a chance to swim with Whale Sharks.
4. The Maya Center Village (Cockscomb Basin + Maya Chocolate Tour)
The Maya Center Village is about 30 minutes away from Hopkins and a visit there provides unique touring opportunities such as visiting the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Reserve, and participating in The Maya Chocolate Tour. The first tour involves hiking jungle trails, birdwatching, learning about medicinal plants, and possibly swimming in waterfalls; the second tour includes visiting a cocoa farm and seeing how chocolate is harvested and made.
5. The Mayflower Bocawina National Park
The Mayflower Bocawina National Park is the perfect alternative to visiting the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Actually, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a hardcore Belize jungle adventure, you’ll probably prefer visiting the Bocawina National Park. The park is approximately 20 minutes away from Hopkins and it has the longest zip-line course in Central America and three waterfalls to rappel down from. Additionally, there are several nature trails and amazing birdwatching opportunities. For more further information, check out this blog on 5 things to do at Bocawina.
6. Day Trip to (insert Mainland Tour)
As I mentioned in the intro, one of the best things about Hopkins is that although it is on the coast, it provides easy access to amazing mainland tours. However, I only recommend doing these tours from Hopkins if you’re staying there for your entire trip because if you’re planning on spending a few nights in Cayo, the tours are much closer/cheaper from San Ignacio. My top recommendations for mainland tours to do from Hopkins are (1) Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, which includes Caracol, Rio Frio Cave, and Big Rock Falls, (2) The ATM Cave and (3) Tikal, Guatemala. I would also add The Belize Zoo to the list, however, that tour is best done during your car transfer from the Belize City airport.
Did I miss anything? If I did, please comment below with your suggestions.