Hopkins is one of the most beautiful villages in the country. Located on the Caribbean coast in southern Stann Creek District, the village is separated by the outflow of the Sittee River. Still principally an idyllic fishing village, Hopkins is widely considered to be the cultural center of the Garifuna people in Belize.
Every year on November 19, the entire country celebrates Garifuna Settlement Day to commemorate the arrival of the Garifuna people in Belize in dugout canoes. This holiday is a time for feasting, traditional drumming, and a dramatic re-enactment of the water landing. Traditional foods like cassava bread and hudut (a fish stew made with coconuts and plantains) are eaten, and the entire village comes alive with dance and music.
Hopkins is easily accessible either overland via the Southern Highway or by air from the nearby Dangriga or Placencia airstrip.
Approximately 1,000 people live in Hopkins, and the residents are renowned for their warm hospitality and kindness. In fact, Hopkins has been declared the friendliest village in the country.
What to Do In Hopkins
Many travelers go to Hopkins to learn more about the unique Garifuna culture. Visitors can see performances of traditional Garifuna drumming and music, and learn more about the Garifuna people's special heritage. There are also classes on how to prepare and cook traditional Garifuna foods. Although small, the village has a number of bars, restaurants, and gift shops.
Hopkins can also be enjoyed simply for its beauty, as many consider the palm trees and view of the Caribbean to be uniquely spectacular. Hopkins is also a popular base for expeditions to top scuba diving and snorkeling sites on the nearby Belize Barrier Reef.
On land, Hopkins is close to the enormous Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, a trackless wilderness that is home to a wide variety of plants, birds, and animals, including some of Central America's last remaining jaguars. The tourist hotspot of the Placencia Peninsula is just a short distance away to the south.
The History of Hopkins
Although life in Hopkins appears timeless, the village actually only came into existence in 1942. It is named after a Catholic missionary named Frederick Charles Hopkins who was active in the area in the early part of the 20th century.
Food and Drink in Hopkins
Hopkins is probably the best place to experience authentic Garifuna cuisine. Beyond staples like cassava bread and hudut, other popular dishes include wangla (a kind of candy made with toasted sesame seeds and sugar), bundiga (fish cooked with bananas and coconut milk), and plenty of fresh-caught seafood.
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