Soak up the Garifuna culture and discover all the things to do in Hopkins, Belize. It’s the perfect place to spend a few days while waiting for the boat to Glover’s Atoll Resort!
- Things to do in Hopkins, Belize
- 1. Experience Garifuna Culture
- 2. Lebeha Drumming Center Classes
- 3. Relax on Hopkins Beach
- 4. Shop at GariMaya Gift Shop and Gallery
- 5. Eat at Tina’s Kitchen
- 6. Driftwood Beach Bar & Pizza Shack Food and Live Entertainment
- 7. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
- 8. Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve
- 9. Mayflower Bocawina National Park
- 10. Gateway to Glover’s Reef Atoll Resort
- Hopkins Accommodation
- Getting to & from Hopkins
Things to do in Hopkins, Belize
Apart from Garifuna culture, Hopkins also attracts travelers seeking a more relaxed pace of life. The coastal village is accessed predominantly via Hopkins Road, and ensures only locals and tourists find themselves on the long, uninterrupted stretch of beach.
It may be low-key here, but the standards for food and accommodation serving the community and tourists are pretty good.
There are decent guesthouses, cafes, and restaurants catering to the foreigner palate and wallet. Prices tend to increase as you continue south to the upmarket section at Sittee Point.
1. Experience Garifuna Culture
The friendly town of Hopkins is one of the centers of Garifuna culture in Belize, along with Dangriga and Punta Gorda.
Garifuna people are mixed-race descendants of African, Caribbean, and Indigenous South American people, originating from the African slave trade in the 17th century.
The strong cultural identity of the Garifuna can be felt in Hopkins, making it one of the best places to visit in Belize.
You can see Garifuna drumming at the Lebeha Drumming Center, and Friday nights at Tina’s Kitchen. There are also local artist workshops throughout the village.
The Garifuna language is widely spoken, and Garifuna Settlement day is always a big cause for celebration on November 19 in Hopkins, Belize.
2. Lebeha Drumming Center Classes
Take a one-of-a-kind drumming lesson at Lebeha Drumming Center with a bit (or a lot) of song and dance mixed in.
The center is run by the Lebeha Drummers, which is the only full-time Garifuna music group in Belize. Their percussive rhythms and Garifuna vocals are well-known across the country.
You’ll find the Lebeha Drumming Center at the northern end of Hopkins. There are always kids around so if you’re not up for a lesson you can always just kick back with a drink and watch them play.
Stay for a few hours, or a few days if you enjoy the funky cabanas right on the beach.
Address: North End of Hopkins Village
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: +501 665.9305
3. Relax on Hopkins Beach
Hopkins Beach is said to be the best in the country, though that’s not saying much. There’s a lot of sea grass in the water, limited sand to lay on, and it was always very windy during our visit.
While there aren’t many things to do in Hopkins, Belize itself, it’s a great base for the exploring the region.
4. Shop at GariMaya Gift Shop and Gallery
The GariMaya Gift Shop and Gallery is the only place you need to stop at in Hopkins for any kind of Maya and Garifuna souvenir, gifts, or something special for yourself.
You’ll find everything there from beaded jewelry and knitted blankets to musical instruments and handmade baskets. The clothes are also gorgeous featuring bright traditional and modern prints and patterns.
Even if you aren’t looking to purchase anything, come in to admire the beautiful paintings made by local artists. The staff are super-friendly and welcoming. You’ll leave feeling like you’ve made new friends in town.
Address: South Road near the bend becoming Sitee River Road
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: +501 666-7970
5. Eat at Tina’s Kitchen
The best budget restaurant in Hopkins is Tina’s Kitchen. They have a limited menu with few dishes to choose from so try to come early to get the specials before they sell out.
Even if you arrive late, there’s usually stewed chicken or beef with rice and beans available. We ate a lot of the latter in Belize and Tina’s Kitchen was the best we’ve tasted!
Most dishes were around BZ$8-10 / $4-5, which is great value in Hopkins. The free Wi-Fi was also a great bonus!
6. Driftwood Beach Bar & Pizza Shack Food and Live Entertainment
Hang out with pizza and beer at Driftwood Beach Bar & Pizza Shack, the place to be in Hopkins. This expat-run local institution has been around since 2009, and moved to its current spot in 2018.
Grab a seat at the bar under a palapa hut, or sit on a picnic bench on the beach with your feet in the sand while enjoying your food and drinks. The menu has your usual American sports-bar fare such as chicken wings, salad, and tacos, but you’ve gotta try the handmade pizza. You can’t go wrong with either the Driftwood Combo Hopkins Hawaiian or the BBQ Chicken options.
There’s also live entertainment several nights a week:
- Tuesday Night: Jam Night with Garifuna drumming from 6 pm to 10 pm
- Thursday Night: One Love Thursday live music with everything from blues to reggae starting at 7 pm
- Saturday Night: Saturday Night Socials with different entertainment from 8 pm to 12 midnight
There’s often volleyball and beach games on weekends, and Happy Hour is between 4 pm to 6 pm on Tuesday.
Opening Hours: Thurs – Tues: 12 noon – 11:30 pm (Closed on Wed)
Address: North Side of Hopkins Village
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (501) 664-6611
7. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular nature reserve with a strong jaguar population, though your chances of seeing one are still very slim. Nevertheless, the mere possibility of spotting a jaguar in the wild means visiting Cockscomb is one of the most popular things to do in Hopkins, Belize.
While we were looking into visiting, one of the tour guides mentioned he spotted a jaguar while driving back with clients the previous morning, although he admitted it was still a very rare occurrence.
Cockscomb is one of the only jaguar preserves in the world, and it is a vast piece of land where you can hike through the tropical forests, see untouched Maya ruins, swim in waterfalls, and tube through a natural lazy river (it is long, relaxing, scenic, and fun).
8. Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve
Although you can dive and snorkel throughout the year at Gladden Spit, the best time to visit is during the presence of whale sharks between March and June. They feed on an abundant amount of fish eggs, and come to shallow water the first 10 days after a full moon.
Your best bet of having a successful sighting are during the months of April and May. Tours also leave from Placencia, but we recently saw whale sharks on Isla Mujeres.
9. Mayflower Bocawina National Park
This park is gorgeous, and the world-class hiking you can do will take you to remarkable vistas and waterfall swims. You can do it all in the park and it is a short drive from Hopkins.
10. Gateway to Glover’s Reef Atoll Resort
Many travelers make their way to Hopkins for a night or two, before heading out on the Sunday morning boat from Sittee River to Glovers Atoll Resort.
Glovers offers a rustic desert island experience, where you can camp or stay in cabins or bungalows on your own private island, 3 hours from the mainland.
A one week package including transport ranges from US$109 for camping to $328 for accommodation in an over-water bungalow.
We stayed at Solutions Guest House for BZ$40 / US$20 a night, which was bargained down from BZ$50.
We had a huge bedroom and private bathroom upstairs with the use of a huge kitchen, living room, and balcony. The kitchen was only semi-functional though since it didn’t have any cookware.
There was also another bedroom upstairs that wasn’t occupied during our stay. The room downstairs with a shared bathroom is BZ$40 / US$20 a night, but you may be able to negotiate the rate.
There’s probably not going to be any Wi-Fi at Solutions Guest House, despite what the owner Elaine tells you. She probably just uses Funky Dodo’s service across the road.
Solutions Guest House is located opposite Funky Dodo, and their rates range from:
- Dorm Bed: BZ$30 / $15
- Double Room with Shared Bath: BZ$90 / $45
- Double Room with Ensuite: BZ$130 / $65
Getting to & from Hopkins
Buses depart at 6:00 am, 7:00 am, and 12:45 pm. There’s also a 10:30 am express service that doesn’t stop in Hopkins. The bus ticket costs BZ$6.00-7.00 and the ride takes around 1 hour.
From the intersection, hitch a ride for the 6.5 km trip to the village. Most cars passing by will stop.
To get out of Hopkins, hitch a ride to the main highway and catch any passing bus.
The Final Word – Relax in Hopkins, Belize or explore the region before heading out to Glovers Atoll Resort.
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Visited in July 2016
Updated May 2020