Hopkins Belize

Hopkins Belize John Canoe Dancers

Hopkins is a Garifuna fishing village located 8 miles from Dangriga on the Southern Highway. Travelers need to know that you take the right at the intersection before entering Dangriga, thus there is not need to go to Dangriga. Hopkins is on the highway that leads to Sarawee Village, Placencia, Bella Vista and points beyond.

Hopkins is a delightfully friendly and still mostly unspoiled village, though it is changing fast. In Hopkins and nearby are several excellent beach resorts, such as Hamanasi, and you’ll find some good spots for dining as well. The Sittee River and the Caribbean waters offer some of Belize’s best fishing. The barrier reef isn’t close to shore here, but once you get to the reef there’s good diving. There’s also good diving in the South Water Marine Reserve. Inland you’re only a few miles from the world’s first jaguar preserve, Cockscomb.

Hopkins can be described as a much more compact version of Dangriga, more village-style, far better beaches, less urban development, and generally more spread out along its more gorgeous beaches and laid-back lifestyle – imagine a Caye Caulker but with vast beaches, high land, and mountain views and phenomenal jungles and eco parks to explore.

This seaside village with some 1,000 inhabitants is 4 miles off the Southern Highway and its economy is still sustained mainly from fishing.  Until recent times, Hopkins was not much into tourism. Today several foreign-owned resorts have sprung up and the villagers have opened guesthouses for visitors. The once terrible road, is now well paved and facilitates development and the entry of tourists to the area.

The village takes great pride in its Garifuna Culture and its John Canoe dance groups often take the crown or come in at the top of the annual Habinahan Wanaragua Jankunu Festival competition held every year in Dangriga.

Entering Hopkins the visitor will note vast wetlands to the north and south of the main road. These wetlands are teeming with birds and water fowl and other local fauna such as the Tapir and Deer.

The beach at Hopkins Belize. Image Credit W. Rodriguez

Hopkins Village is one of the best places to drop in and join the festivities of Garifuna Settlement Day. Like in Dangriga and Punta Gorda, the 19 of November, Garifuna Settlement Day sees the village in the grip of cultural celebratory fever. Most residents do not sleep the night but party until morning to the sound of Garifuna Drums and John Canoe dancers going house to house sharing greetings, rum and other festive herbs. There are several dances that night, many wild parties and the traveler is advised to be cognizant of reckless driving by area residents on motor vehicles, ATVs and motorcycles.