How to Spend 3 Days in Hopkins

Beach at Hamanasi Resort in Hopkins Village
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Straddled by the Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb Range on the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east, the friendly Garifuna village of Hopkins is a unique eco-cultural destination on the coast of Stann Creek in Southern Belize.

The village draws travelers seeking a quiet coastal base from where they can learn about the fascinating Garifuna culture, explore the Southern Barrier Reef and access top jungle attractions. It should be on your must-visit-in-Belize list.

Make the most of three days in Hopkins
Day 1 – Explore the Southern Barrier Reef
Day 2 – Venture into the Jungle
Day 3 – Experience the local culture
Where to Stay

3-Day Itinerary for Hopkins Village

How long should someone visit Hopkins for? Ideally, a week in Hopkins is best! But recently I stayed for a weekend and I had a blast. Using Hamanasi Resort as my base, here’s a beach, jungle and culture itinerary to help you make the most of three days in Hopkins.

Day 1 – Explore the Southern Barrier Reef

Start your vacation in Hopkins by exploring the Southern Barrier Reef. Belize’s reef, cayes, and atolls offer an array of breathtaking experiences.

About 30-40 minutes from Hopkins by boat you can find the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, which has some of the best dive and snorkel sites in Belize. Divers can enjoy amazing wall dives along the reef and snorkelers can swim inside the reef where the water is calm and shallow.

At the end of the day, you’ll be exhausted from spending the day at sea so I recommend that you relax on the beach, perhaps lay on a hammock, before having a quiet meal at the resort. At Hamanasi’s Singanga restaurant, my fav meal for lunch was the blackened fish, and for dinner, the seafood platter was amazing.

Day 2 – Venture into the Jungle

Surrounded by the dense rainforest of the Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb Range, Hopkins serves as a great base for jungle adventures

For early risers, consider a birding expedition. The Hopkins and the Sittee River area is teeming with birds. Or travel 45 minutes to Red Bank Village, where endangered Scarlet Macaws flock. For a more active adventure, hike nearby nature reserves: Mayflower Bocawina and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary are great for wildlife spotting and waterfall chasing. Alternatively, choose to visit majestic Maya ruins.

At the end of the day, if you chose to go hiking, you can still go birdwatching on-site at Hamanasi. And if you already went birding, go on a Cockscomb night hike. Nighttime is when the jungle comes alive. Finally, cool off poolside with plenty of bar snacks.

Day 3 – Experience the local culture

Day three brings us to cultural exploration. Learn about the Garifuna, and other Belizean cultures through food and traditions.

Going fishing with fishermen guides is tons of fun. You visit top local fishing spots before heading to a small caye to cook your catch a la Belizean-style: BBQ fish, conch ceviche, and stew beans with flour tortillas. Next, learn about Hopkins’ rich culture and history through a village bike tour. Alternatively, learn about Belize’s Maya by visiting their traditional villages or experiencing a chocolate-making tour.

To wrap up your day, visit one of the many top restaurants in Hopkins. I can recommend the jerk chicken at Ellas Cool Spot, and if you’re looking for something nicer, try the surf and turf at Chef Rob’s Gourmet Cafe. Finally, end your night at the Big Dock Ceviche Bar, an over-the-water bar.

Where to Stay

Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort

Set amid a coastal forest surrounded by native plants and wildlife, Hamanasi is an eco-luxury beach resort that serves as the perfect base during a trip to Hopkins. Guests may be drawn to the beautiful beachfront rooms and suites but the treehouses are the winner in my opinion. It’s as if you’re staying deep in the tropical forest while only being 1-2 minutes from the beach.

I stayed in a luxurious treehouse surrounded by littoral foliage. The accommodations included a large bedroom, spacious living room, kitchenette, bathroom, and a large verandah fitted with a jacuzzi, lounge chairs, and hammocks! Everything was beautifully furnished with handcrafted Belizean furniture and local art. As a whole, the experience felt very welcoming, including my interactions with the resort staff who were nice and friendly.

During my stay, guests included a good mix of families and couples. Some, enjoying a relaxing vacation, often lounging beachside by the pool or dock, while others were more active, with a full schedule of diving or snorkeling, and jungle hikes. If you want to explore Hopkins, use the free bikes provided or walk along the beach for 15 minutes to the village core, or less, to nearby restaurants and bars.



Reader Interactions


  1. Craig Webb says

    There looks to be so much to see and do, plus so much nature and natural landscape. Lovely blog, thank you.

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