The second major town we stayed in on our Belize trip was the town of Hopkins. We had read in the Lonely Planet that this small fishing village was a good place to chill out at the beach and to experience the unique Garifuna culture.
Where We Slept
The Funky Dodo.This is the main hostel in town and seemed like a good place for the cost. We paid BZ $38/night for a private room (shared bathroom). The setup felt appropriate for the beach location: instead of a rooms in one big building, the different rooms were in their own small buildings that are connected with a wooden boardwalk over sand. The common areas are basically just tables scattered around the sandy courtyard. There are some nice hammocks as well, although we got seriously eaten by mosquitoes when we tried to use them. (This was common throughout Hopkins – we seem to have hit the high mosquito season). There is also a bar in the hostel with reasonably-priced drinks that we went to a couple of times. The hostel isn’t on the beach like some other properties, but it is a quick walk there. The shared bathrooms are accessed via the boardwalks as well, so they felt a bit rustic. Same with the communal kitchen, which is located outdoors.
Favorite Place to Eat
Driftwood Beach Bar & Pizza Shack. After our stressful 24 Hours in Guatemala and our adventures hitchhiking into Hopkins, we were ready to relax for a while. On our first evening in Hopkins, we made our way through town and eventually found our way to the Driftwood. The pizza is a little on the pricey side, but it is very good. Since it was the low season, we were the only patrons for dinner that night, so we got to take the best beach chairs and sit by the ocean, enjoying the nice cool sea breeze (good for keeping the mosquitoes away!) and some rum cocktails while the sun set. It was a perfect introduction to Hopkins. We enjoyed the vibe so much that we came back two more times.
Things to Do
Go to the Beach
Hopkins is a beach town, and has a reputation for being one of the better white sandy beaches in Belize. Unfortunately, we can’t really confirm this reputation. There had been a storm the previous week, and most of the beach was covered in driftwood and some trash. A few places that had been cleaned up were nice, but this wasn’t the case for most of the beach. We spent one day exploring the beach – first walking quite a ways south to some resort areas. We felt out of place there, so we headed all the way back and then up in the opposite direction to the Driftwood, which had cleaned up its stretch of beach. We spent the rest of the day lounging in beach chairs, reading, and exploring the water.
Only spending two and a half days here didn’t really give us enough time to learn too much about this culture that is quite different that we had experienced in San Ignacio. If we had more time, we would have enjoyed sampling a few more local delicacies or learning more about the Garifuna drumming. Still, we enjoyed the friendly nature of the people, who gave us plenty of greetings on the street. It was also fun to buy some homemade snacks from a group of kids who rode around selling them from their bikes.
A nice beach town not too far away. Just think carefully about your transportation options…
Hopkins provided a nice opportunity to relax on the beach and get away from the hustle and bustle of the first week of our trip. In the end, there wasn’t as much to do there as we had hoped, but sometimes it is nice to just relax!