North End, Hopkins, Belize
A beautifully landscaped, oceanfront luxury property with two swimming pools, located on the edge of Hopkins, a Garifuna village with the ancient language and customs still intact.
Hopkins Bay offers the feeling of being away from one's daily life, free from incursions from the outside world. Here you can wake up in the morning and not think of "what to do." The pristine beach has hammocks strung between the palm trees located to take full advantage of the ocean breezes and has comfortable lounges that afford the perfect spot for reading and napping. In addition, only a stone's throw from the beach, there are two lovely pools also fringed by comfortable, padded lounges, as well as an outdoors thatched-roof bar near one of them.
A seaside palapa (thatched roof, open-air), the Rhum Shack, serves delicious cuisine and drinks in a relaxed, informal environment. Many nights you can enjoy local entertainment, such as drummers and dancers.
Hopkins Bay Resort is located between Placencia and Dangriga in the heart of the Garifuna (ga-RIF-u-na) communities that were settled two hundred years ago, an area just recently emerging as a tourist destination. Although the village of Hopkins does have a couple of wood carving shops and a drumming center, the visitor is not assaulted by "quaint" tourist shops. Here most local people ride their bicycles through town or visit with their families and neighbors—still very authentic.
The Garifuna people are reputed to be descended from Kalinago and the Arawak people, then later in the 1700s by Creoles from further down the coast of Central America. In 1802 large groups of Garifuna settled here and the Creole influence is still evidenced in the language.
Hopkins Bay Resort's one-, two-, and three-bedroom Beach Houses are private, with views of the Caribbean Sea. They afford all the comforts of having the option of light housekeeping, and provide spacious bedrooms, bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and a living room with a large front deck that faces the ocean. All rooms have ceiling fans, flat-screen TVs with satellite channels and DVD players, phone docking stations, and air conditioning. The rooms are tastefully decorated in "Belize tropical style" and the bathrooms contain decorative tile and talavera wash basins.
The gardens are well cared for and extensive. The entire resort feels spacious, from the individual accommodations to the layout of the buildings. This follows a design of an ample horseshoe cluster of tropical style buildings, with lots of landscaping between them, providing both beauty and privacy. Sitting in the living room with the large sliding doors thrown open or on the terrace next to the water and meditating on the ebb and flow of the multi-hued Caribbean just a few feet away, it's hard to think of being any other place.
You can take many day trips from the resort that would be a meaningful experience, including bird watching, fishing, diving, and snorkeling. Staffers can arrange trips to the Cockscomb Jaguar Reserve, to a tropical rain forest in the foothills of the Maya Mountains, the Blue Hole, or out to view the manatees. Another possibility is just spending a day or two without any planned excursions. Just enjoy the completely unspoiled beach and the lulling rhythm of the water.
To get here, arrange ground transportation from either Placencia or Dangriga after a short flight from the international airport in Belize City. There is little else around in this area in terms of dining options, so it's best to purchase a meal plan with the room booking.
Web Address: www.hopkinsbaybelize.com
Total Number of Rooms: 19
Published rates: $150 to $860 double incl. taxes
Review and photos by John Lamkin.