After our 24 hours in Guatemala, our next stop was to go all the way to the coastal town of Hopkins in Belize. This would involve traversing a decent portion of the country, but luckily it’s not a big place!
Still, it would have been a long travel day to try and do it in one day, so we decided to break the trip up by stopping along the way on the Hummingbird Highway.
From Guatemala to the Hummingbird Highway
As stated in the previous post, to get out of Guatemala we re-traced our steps from the day before. We walked back from El Remate to the main highway, then almost immediately caught a colectivo back to the border. At that point we actually had leftover Quetzales, so we bought some drinks and snacks before crossing over.
Once we were in Belize, we took a series of transportation options that actually flowed together smoothly:
- A shared taxi from the border to the town of Benque (just 2 km away)
- A bus leaving from Benque headed east
- Got off the bus at the transit center in Belmopan. We had time here to take a bathroom break.
- Got on a bus headed south along the Hummingbird Highway
The Hummingbird Highway goes through the most mountainous part of Belize, so it is quite pretty. We decided to spend a night in this part of the country but Lonely Planet didn’t really list any good budget options. Then we randomly found a a cheap place listed on Trip Advisor called the Hummingbird Lodge (website, Trip Advisor). However, since our schedule was flexible, we had never actually contacted the place to make sure they really existed / were open, so we weren’t sure it was going to work, but we decided to give it a go anyway!
The website is pretty vague about directions to the place – all we knew to tell the bus conductor was a mile marker and some random business signs. Luckily he knew what we were talking about! Still, we were apprehensive about being at the right place… but it turned out we were!
The Hummingbird Lodge turned out to be a pretty neat place to stay. There were only a few other travelers there, but they all had interesting and varied stories to tell. We took advantage of the swimming hole on the property (although the temperatures in the mountains were noticeably cooler than those in San Ignacio and Guatemala).
We did make one big mistake though: we didn’t have any food with us. We were assuming there would be some sort of market nearby, but we weren’t counting on this place being as isolated as it was. Luckily, the fellow guests let us share with the meal they were cooking.
We only spent one night at the Hummingbird Lodge, but it definitely helped recharge our travel batteries after the Guatemala whirlwind.
The next morning we headed back out to the Hummingbird Highway and waited for the next southbound bus to continue our journey to Hopkins. We were unclear of the schedule so it felt like we waited a while, but a bus eventually came.
We got off the bus in the town of Dangriga because we knew we needed to transfer to a separate bus to the smaller town of Hopkins, since it is not on the main highway. However, we quickly realized that we had missed the morning bus from Dangriga to Hopkins, and the next one would not be coming until much later. A taxi driver offered to drive us there, but we declined while we thought about our options.
After heading into town briefly to restock on cash, we decided to catch the next southbound bus out of Dangriga. It wouldn’t go to Hopkins, but it would drop us off at the turnoff to to the town. And we had read that plenty of people hitchhiked from there, so again we would take a leap of faith.
As it turned out, there were a few locals who were also doing the same thing, so we didn’t feel like we were doing something too outlandish. It was interesting to try and figure out the etiquette in who took the limited spots in cars that stopped to offer a ride!
Unfortunately, the number of cars that did stop was pretty low. Even the locals said that it was taking abnormally long to find a ride. Eventually we did get a ride in a van that was passing by. It turned out that the occupants of vehicles were on a mission trip from the Dallas area of all places!
We got the van to drop us off at our hostel in Hopkins, and then the next phase of the trip began…
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