Almond Beach, Hopkins
Hopkins Village is a cute and colorful beach front village in southern Belize known for its Garifuna population. A lot of people say that this is the Garifuna cultural center of the country. It is a small, vibrant community of just over one thousand people that dedicates their lives mostly to fishing. It was only until a few years ago that they started developing activities to cater the visitors. The village stretches through five miles of white sanded beach.
For those of you who still aren’t familiar with the term, the Garifuna are the descendants of Native Caribbean tribes, that mingled with African slaves hundreds of years ago. As the time passed and both cultures mixed, the Garifuna or Black Carib, as they were known before, were born.
They are now present in the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. In Belize, Hopkins Village is the largest Garifuna town. This is a laid back yet fun town filled with friendly people that are dying to teach you and the rest of the world anything they can about the culture that they are so proud of.
Things to Do: Of course the beaches are gorgeous and everyone should spend some time on them. Plus there are also some great restaurants in the village, but what should really bring you here is its people and the fun local culture. Here you can see locals dance and play the drums at any time of the day, in any corner of the town. If you like it, feel free to join in and try to learn their dance moves.
Another of the perks of visiting the village is that a large and beautiful barrier reef is located only 20 minutes away from its shores. There are many tours being offered in the area that will take you for a swim or diving experience in the middle of colorful corals; for a fishing adventure or simply for a relaxing cruise during sunset.
Hopkins Village also has the perfect location if you are interested in going on day trips to the nearby Mayan archaeological sites, caves and waterfalls that are hidden in the Belizean jungle.
How to Get Around: Hopkins is definitely accessible by car. It is really easy to get there after you get off of the highway. Plus most of the streets are wide enough for cars to go through. And the best part you won’t find any traffic jams. But if you want to see and experience the relaxed ambience surrounding you, moving around on foot or riding a bike are probably the best choices.
It is a great idea to put on comfy shoes or visiting a bike rental shop if you want to explore the village. These two activities allow you to enjoy and take in everything that goes on.
One thing worth mentioning is that since it is so close to other towns like Dangriga, a lot of people choose to just leave it as a one day, beach trip. But I would highly recommend to stay there for at least one night. This will give you more time to truly enjoy everything that the town and its people have to offer.
Just a little warning to all of you planning to visit Hopkins Village during a trip to Belize and trust me when I say: You have to be prepared “You might not want to leave”.