The Timeless Appeal of Hopkins Village
Belize is quickly becoming one of the most popular vacation destinations for international travelers, but while beautiful and all-inclusive resorts are cropping up at a prodigious rate, much of the country’s appeal is outright overlooked by the typical vacationer. Travelers who are looking to travel a little off the beaten path have the opportunity to experience Belize as its actually lived rather than a curated experience built with tourists in mind, and there’s potentially nowhere more authentic than the picturesque Hopkins Village.
Hopkins Village is home to the indigenous Garifuna people, a hodge-podge culture that blends together Carib and African influences into a society that’s wholly unique. Hopkins Village has been voted the friendliest village in the country by Belize First Magazine, and the residents spend their days like their ancestors did centuries ago: carving out canoes, fishing, and weaving baskets. As the locals say, “Time moves like a turtle” in Hopkins Village, but you won’t have to travel like a turtle to make it there. Once you land in the airport at Belize City, you’ll have plenty of options for reaching Hopkins Village.
Getting to Hopkins Village From Belize City
By Rental Car
The cost of a taxi directly from Belize City to Hopkins Village is pretty exorbitant, but if you want the privacy of a car ride, you can consider renting a vehicle from the Belize City Airport. Fortunately, the drive is pretty much a straight shot without too many complications. The bulk of the trip will take you down Belmopan via the George Price Highway (Western Highway), a journey that constitutes about 52 miles. From there, you’ll want to hop on the Hummingbird Highway and then into the Southern Highway until you see the well-marked exit for Hopkins Village. A left at the exit will take you directly into the central hub of Hopkins Village, and it’s only four miles from the exit to the village center. If you drive straight through, you can expect to spend two and a half hours on the road, but chances are you’ll want to take some breaks for photo opportunities. While a rental car will ultimately cost you more than alternate options, it does give you the freedom to explore the surrounding areas at your leisure.
The slowest route from Belize City to Hopkins Village is also the least expensive, and it has its own advantages and disadvantages. Taking the public bus allows you to rub shoulders with the local populace, but it tends to become crowded, and you can expect the trip to take significantly longer due to the significant number of stops. You’ll also need to switch buses at the town of Dangriga to make it all the way to Hopkins Village. The daily bus from Belize City to Dangriga takes about three hours. Two buses run daily from Dangriga to Hopkins Village. The first departs at noon, while the second leaves at 5:00 in the afternoon. If you can get in early enough, Dangriga is well worth a visit. While Dangriga tends to be more a point of transit than a place to stay, it is home to a few notable cultural landmarks.
If you want the most scenic, comfortable, and immersive journey from Belize City to Hopkins Village, Untame Belize can help book a ride on the daily shuttle services. Leaving directly from Belize City Airport, the shuttles are reasonably appointed – offering the convenience of the public buses along with the comfort and speed of driving yourself. The shuttles take approximately two and a half hours, and they’re a straight shop to Hopkins. It’s well worth riding instead of driving, since the shuttles cut through some of the most diverse and beautiful stretches of wildlife in the country.
Untame Belize’s shuttles are modern and reliable, and you can count on them to get you where you need to go without interruption. Get in touch with Untame Belize to learn more about the rates and hours. Booking your shuttle in advance will allow you to just sit back and relax without worrying about the process of renting a car or negotiating a bus transfer halfway to your destination.
How to Spend Your Time in Hopkins Village
Despite its humble size and culture, Hopkins Village offers a lot to do, and it’s well worth booking a couple of days or more in this fishing village. It’s home to approximately a thousand local families, and it’s about five miles in length. That makes it a great place to kick back and relax away from the crowds of tourists, and there are plenty of fun activities to engage in.
On the Water
While the coasts of Belize are universally pretty great for outdoor adventurers, Hopkins Village is particularly ideal for those looking to get out and explore the water. The stretch of the Caribbean Sea near Hopkins Village offers gentle crystal blue waters along with steady but not overbearing wind. The winds make it a great stretch of water for windsurfing or kayaking, but it’s calm enough for going snorkeling or diving. The diversity of sea life that makes diving and snorkeling so perfect here also creates an idyllic environment for fishing.
You don’t have to hit the waters to find things to do around Hopkins Village. The calm and laid back environment of the Village means that there are plenty of opportunities to just kick back and relax, but those in search of more active engagement won’t be lacking in things to do. Birdwatchers will love the fact that the area is home to hundreds of tropical species, including the rare Jabiru Stork, while hikers can always find guides willing to lead them through the diverse ecosystem in the region. The roughly five miles that constitute the village area means that it can be covered comfortably on bike as well.
In Hopkins Village
While Hopkins Village is surrounded by plenty of natural splendor, you’d be remiss to overlook what the community itself has to offer. The local craftsmen display skills centuries old, and they’re always ready to share their heritage with visitors from afar. If you can schedule your trip to accommodate it, there are a couple of time sensitive activities to engage in as well. Lebeha Drumming Center hosts traditional Garifuna drum ceremonies every weekend, while Garifuna Settlement Day offers a more immersive engagement with the culture and heritage of the locals every November 19.
Untame Belize is the best place to go if you’re looking to schedule shuttle service to Hopkins Village, but we can assist you once you arrive as well. We can help you with everything from finding a place to stay to arranging excursions to the top attractions in the area.
HOPKINS BELIZE SHUTTLES & TRANSFERS TESTIMONIALS
“This year, we booked a full, seven-day vacation in Belize because we wanted to see all the sights. But since we weren’t really sure about driving, especially to rural areas with bad roads, we decided to go with Untame Belize for all the getting around Belize part. What a great choice! Our driver, Rodwell, told us about a couple of cool hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and the service was excellent. I know Belize is a laidback Caribbean kind of place, so it was very nice to get punctual and reliable service. The roads might’ve been a bit bumpy at times, but we were in good hands. I’m so glad we chose Untame for our Belize transportation needs.”
-Mollie Adams, Matthews, North Carolina
“At first, we were going to fly domestically to all the places we wanted to visit in Belize, but it was just too darn expensive. Luckily, we found out that Belize transfers are way cheaper. Turned out that it was much more comfortable too! Instead of cramming into a tiny cropduster plane, we got to relax in style as Untame Belize shuttles took us everywhere we wanted to go. Nothing beats the sights out the window, either, and the air conditioning kept us nice and cool. Plus, there was room for all our luggage, and believe me, we brought way too many suitcases. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Untame Belize shuttles and transfers. Punctual, affordable, and did everything they promised with no fuss.”
-Anthony Warner, Norristown, Pennsylvania
“After booking our flight to Belize, my wife asked me how we were going to get around. I then started looking into Belize airport shuttles because our AirBNB was way in the country, and I wasn’t sure if I was up to driving in such rough terrain. Luckily, Untame Belize transportation services were offering everything we needed. They picked us up right on time, knew exactly where to go, and my wife and kids absolutely loved looking at all the scenery en route. We also got some local tips on a seafood restaurant that serves up amazing grilled fish caught that same day. Can’t thank Untame enough for being such a reliable and affordable service. We even booked one of those ATV trips in the jungle when we heard about it from our driver. We had a great time on our vacation and never worried for a second about getting around thanks to Untame Belize.”
-Denny Hodge, Warrensburg, Missouri