When we initially mapped out our travel plans in Belize, Hopkins was not part of it. The reason? I didn’t find much information about this part of the country. However, when Hopkins Bay Resort invited us to review their property, I sat up and took a closer look at the area. I learned that Hopkins is a small Garifuna Village in eastern Belize, and that Belizeans consider this part of the country to be the cultural center of the Garifuna folk. That certainly got my attention and I signed up for the adventure!
Hopkins Bay Resort
The Resort is located at the south end of Hopkins Bay, and since it is at one end of it, the beach feels almost private. The best part is, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort or luxury to be here.
Our arrival at Hopkins Bay Resort brought out the concierge, Chantell, who greeted us with a big welcoming smile. Chantell took us on a quick tour around the Resort – before showing us where we would stay over the next five nights.
Our Suite – A one bedroom beach loft
I’m a very visual person, so as soon as we arrived at the loft the first thing I noticed was the ocean view from the balcony. Before I even unpacked I opened the glass doors, and a wonderful breeze blew into our suite. It was hot and humid outside…but in here, it was bliss! I immediately knew this would be my favorite part of the loft.
Now, our suite -it was pretty spacious, about 400 sq ft I’d say. There was a 32″ flat screen TV, a futon, a roomy closet, a table with two chairs, an iPod docking station and a king size bed. All very functional. A corner of our suite had a mini fridge with two cups, a coffee maker, and coffee and sugar placed on it. It would have been great to have a table next to it to make our coffee, though.
The bathroom was quite spacious too, but had no bathtub. It had a shower, two washbasins and plenty of storage space to put away our stuff, lots of hot water, (just the way I like it) and the water pressure was pretty good. A hair dryer would have been more than welcome though.
The Resort has 19 beach houses (villas) spread all over the property. In addition to that there is a restaurant, a spa, two pools and a delightful bar overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
The Rhum Shack – Restaurant
The resort has one restaurant that is open for all three meals and welcomes people who are not staying in the resort, too.
Breakfast is included as part of the nightly rate and it’s served in the style of a small buffet with delicious home made muesli, yogurt, coffee, tea and a dish that varied everyday – pancakes, banana bread etc. In addition to that, you can order a dish a la carte. Just make sure you’re really hungry because their portions are big enough to feed two people!
Lunch and Dinner at Hopkins Bay Resort was certainly the best around the village! We did try out a few places, even a popular restaurant that had great recommendations on TripAdvisor, but we ( with three others who came along) found it too mediocre and overpriced for what we got… No, I didn’t get paid a penny to say this, I just think the food here is worth trying.
Amenities & Activities
Hopkins Bay Resort offers free use of kayaks and bicycles. There is also a volleyball court on the beach, ideal for beach games, however the weather was too windy for us to use the kayaks or play volleyball during our stay. But, we did take advantage of the bicycles and we also rented a golf cart to get around the village.
If you are looking for entertainment – they’ve got you covered. The resort has some fun live music – a Garifuna percussion band – and for me, it was the highlight of my trip to Hopkins! The band consisted of teenage drummers (ages 14 and 15 years old) who really knew how to entertain the crowd. The pulsating beats were so compelling, that I joined them! No… I’m not a talented musician, but I obviously know how to have fun 🙂
If you want to discover the area, the resort offers a variety of daily tours, including trips to the Mayan ruins and cave tubing among others. We only joined the Cook Your Catch Tour, and I highly recommend it! You can read more about it here.
The Staff and Service
Everybody from the Manager to the Bartender was wonderfully helpful and accommodating. Just to give you an idea of how cool they are, here is what they did for me… I’m not crazy about pre-packed orange juice, so they were kind enough to give me freshly squeezed juice everyday, after asking for it once. While boiled eggs were not on the menu, they went that extra mile to make them for me. Oh yeah, I’m easy to please most of the time, but like everybody else, I have a few things that I like eating/drinking in a certain way.
The front office was efficient and friendly, too. They helped out with reservations and recommendations to other restaurants and patiently answered ALL of our questions.
The Neighborhood – Hopkins Village
Remember, my motivation for coming to Hopkins Village was to get to know the culture so we took the bicycles and headed off to explore the village a few times. On one of those trips I spotted a tea healer’s shop. Yes, that’s right! A tea healer’s shop. I got very curious to see what they had inside the shop, so we went in and talked to the owner about the teas and the various diseases that they cured (I never knew of half of those diseases!). So when I had the intimidating menu in my hand, I couldn’t decide what to order and I just asked for the owner’s advice. She made me a tea of Hibiscus, Ginger and Lemongrass, which was unusual but delicious! They grow these herbs in the back garden and they are freshly plucked before being brewed into a tea. And so our brief stop here extended to over an hour….
How to get to Hopkins Bay
There are several ways to get to Hopkins, however, renting a car or hiring a taxi are the best ways. No, you won’t get there sooner than a plane, but the drive will be beautiful! Over hills, through valleys, people picking oranges in orchards, traditional colorful wooden houses…. all very scenic. I can honestly say that I enjoyed the ride from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to Hopkins as much as I enjoyed my time in the village.
Who would enjoy this hotel?
I personally think Hopkins Bay Resort is perfect for those who are laid back – whether a family, a couple or even solo travelers. For anyone looking for a safe place off the beaten path. For anyone looking to relax with a book in a hammock, with the sound of the sea as background music.
Would I recommend Hopkins Bay Resort?
You bet! Our stay was comfortable and we were made to feel more like friends than guests at the Resort. The entertainment actually gave us a taste of the Garifuna culture. I loved it.
If you would like to know more about the Resort and the activities provided, do visit their official website:
Name: Hopkins Bay Resort
Rates: Low season rates start from USD 250/night.
Disclaimer: I stayed at Hopkins Bay Resort at their invitation, but my review is based on my experiences and is in no way influenced by the agreement we made.
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