17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize – Heart of the Garifuna Culture

Last Updated on April 14, 2023

Hopkins, in Belize, is a small fishing village at the heart of the Garifuna culture. Slow-paced and peaceful, Hopkins is a great place to relax for a few days, enjoy the beach, and discover the Garifuna lifestyle.

The Garifuna is an ethnic group descending from Africans and Indians from the Caribbean, present in Belize and Central America. Their language, food, dance, and music are important aspects of the culture, and staying in Hopkins, you’ll get a glimpse.

Keep on reading to discover all the best things to do in Hopkins, Belize, how to get there, where to eat, and where to stay.

Travel tips: I recommend renting a car in Belize City before heading to Hopkins so you don’t have to book a tour every time you want to visit something. The main roads are great, but note that most places you’ll want to visit will require a 4W to get there. This is the website I use to find the best car rental deals.

If there are 3 things you need to pack for Belize, it would be water shoes, reef-safe sunscreen, and mosquito repellent.

HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

FLIGHT DEALS

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

HOTEL DEALS

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

CAR RENTAL

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

TRAVEL INSURANCE

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

ACTIVITIES

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

VACATION RENTALS

HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

FLIGHT DEALS

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

HOTEL DEALS

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

CAR RENTAL

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

TRAVEL INSURANCE

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

ACTIVITIES

17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize - Heart of the Garifuna Culture

VACATION RENTALS

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on any links and make a purchase, we’ll get a small commission, at no cost to you.

Things to Know Before Visiting Hopkins

There’s only one backpacker in Hopkins village, the Funky Dodo hostel, if you’re solo traveling, I’ll advise staying there as it can get pretty lonely otherwise.

Hopkins Beach is far from being the prettiest in Belize, it can get pretty dirty. If you’re staying at one of the expensive resort, their beach should be nice though.

In my opinion, the only reason to visit Hopkins is if you’re interested in the Garifuna culture. The best would be to be there during a festival or some kind of celebration so you can really enjoy your time in the village. Like on November 19th, during the festivities to celebrate the Garifuna Settlement Day.

Hopkins, Belize

Best Places to Visit in Hopkins to Witness the Garifuna Culture

Herbal Healers

Using local plants, this small shop offers tons of different natural remedies as well as tea and coffee. Using their knowledge of plants and their properties, the owners keep alive an ancestral practice of healing with traditional medicines.

drumming

Take a cultural tour

Probably the best way to discover most of the cultural aspects, especially if you just have a day. You’ll usually get a cooking class, a drumming session, and see cultural artifacts and handicrafts. You can find several companies offering this tour in Hopkins.

The Lodge at Jaguar Reef

The Lodge at Jaguar Reef often organizes Garifuna nights, where you can see firsthand a traditional Garifuna show with music, singing, and dancing. They also organize classes if you want to learn.

Garifuna dancers
Credit: Rick Goldman

Lebeha Drumming Center

Located on the northern side of town, the Lebeha Drumming Center organizes regular drumming and dancing classes.

Driftwood Beach Bar

Every Tuesday night, a Garifuna band comes and plays traditional music at Driftwood Beach Bar. Because Hopkins is not that touristy, it’s authentic; you’ll see many locals dancing and enjoying the music.

Other Things to do in Hopkins and Day Trips

Cycle to Sittee River

You can rent a bicycle for the day and ride along the coast, then along the river to Sittee River. Sittee River, a small village, in itself, is nothing special but the road leading there is worth going to.

Take a Day Trip to Thatch Caye

Spend the day snorkeling, paddle boarding, and relaxing on the beach at this beautiful private island off the coast of Belize. The resort there offers spa treatments, a restaurant and bar, and a pool.

Click here to book an all-included tour to Thatch Cay from Hopkins with transportation, fees, water craft rentals, and lunch included.

Snorkel the Nearby Reef

Reef, fish

The nearby UNESCO-listed Belize barrier reef makes Hopkins a great place to go diving or snorkeling. Some parts of the reef are not that deep and the water is really clear, so you can see a lot just snorkeling.

Take a boat trip to a marine reserve to snorkel through a beautiful coral garden and swim among colorful fish.

Click here to book your Half Day Barrier Reef Snorkel tour!

Get your Adrenaline Pumping at Bocawina National Park

Ziplining through the rainforest

The Mayflower Bocawina National Park is a stunning protected area located in the Stann Creek District of Belize offering plenty of outdoor activities.

The park is home to a range of wildlife and offers a variety of activities, including hiking, birdwatching, and waterfall rappelling. The park has several hiking trails, including the Antelope Trail and the Bocawina Falls Trail, which takes you to a beautiful waterfall that you can rappel down.

The park also has a zipline course and offers guided tours of the area.

You can explore the easy trails on your own and book activities once you get to the park (check out this Waterfall Rappelling & Zipline Combo), you can book a tour from Hopkins that includes transportation, or hire a private driver for the day.

Cave Tubing and Ziplining at Jaguar Paw

Enjoy a relaxing river tubing experience through Belize’s Jaguar Paw Cave while admiring the subterranean world before soaring above the canopy on a ziplining adventure.

Join this small group and spend a day in the heart of the rainforest.

Click here to book your Cave Tubing & Zipline at Jaguar Paw tour!

Rappel Down Actun Loch Tunich

Adrenaline junkies will love going on this unique adventure in the heart of the Belizean jungle.

Initially formed from a sinkhole, the Actun Loch Tunich, also known as the Mother of All Caves, is a 300 ft deep hole covered by vegetation.

The tour starts by a hike, then you rappel down, have lunch at the bottom, and hike back.

Click here to book your Actun Loch Tunich Rappeling Tour!

Go on a Bioluminescence Tour and Sunset River Cruise

Head to the Anderson Lagoon to first watch the sunset, and when it’s dark, see bioluminescent plankton light up the water.

This tour will take you into the mangroves by boat, where you’ll get to see this enchanting natural phenomenon up close and personal. Put your hand in the water and see how the plankton immediately starts lighting up.

It’s also a great experience for stargazing.

Click here to book your Bioluminescence Tour and Sunset River Cruise!

Look for Jaguars at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

River and jungle in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize

Cockscomb is the perfect place to go hiking. Spotting of jaguars is not uncommon, but it’s still a long shot. Jaguars are not the only animals present in the park, you might see pumas and ocelots as well as several species of reptiles and birds.

A day trip to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary from Hopkins is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Belize and get up close and personal with its wildlife.

Another great activity to do there is river tubing, sliding along the water, surrounded by a lush jungle.

You can go on your own if you have a car, the drive takes about an hour and a half, and the road can be bumpy, so it’s best to have a 4W. Once there you’ll need to pay an entrance fee to enter the reserve. The fee is around $10 USD per person and goes towards the conservation efforts of the reserve.

You can then hike on the many trails in the reserve and take a refreshing dip in the waterfall pools. There are also guided tours available, where you can learn more about the flora and fauna of the area.

If you don’t a car, it’s recommended to take a tour from Hopkins. The Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary tour will take you hiking through the jungle to a hidden cascade and then ride natural river waterslides and inner tubes down the South Stann Creek River. It’s a full-day trip with everything included – click here to book it.

Make sure to bring insect repellent, sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable walking shoes. It’s also a good idea to bring snacks and water, as there are no restaurants or food vendors inside the reserve.

Hiking to Davis Falls

Davis Falls, a 500-foot-high waterfall, is Belize’s second-highest fall. Located deep inside the rainforest, few make the trip there. All the more reward for you if you decide to visit this gorgeous fall.

If you go on your own, head to the village of Alta Vista where you can hire a guide, from there, you’ll need to drive around 8 more miles on a dirt road. The walk to the falls is about 2 miles and takes around 30 minutes.

Once you reach Davis Falls, you can swim in the waterfall pool, explore the surrounding jungle, and even climb up to the top of the waterfall if you’re feeling adventurous.

If you want to book a tour, you’ll find several operators in Hopkins offering the tour.

Swimming at Saint Herman’s Blue Hole National Park

St Herman's Blue Hole, Belize

This open-air cenote is a great way to spend a couple of hours, swimming in the cool waters. It’s also one of the rare places in Belize you can reach easily; it’s located just off the Hummingbird Highway.

During the low season, you might have the place all to yourself. There’s also a cave only 2 kilometers away, you can enter it without a guide if you don’t want to wander too deep inside the cave. Another option is to hire a guide (50 US per person), to go about 2 km deep inside the cave and then come back to the entrance river-tubing.

Explore the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins

Xunantunich, Maya ruins, San Ignacio, Belize

Xunantunich is an ancient Mayan ruin site located in western Belize, near the border with Guatemala, and if you’re not planning on visiting San Ignacio, you should consider going on a tour to the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins from Hopkins.

It was an important Mayan city during the classical period (AD 250-900) and was abandoned in the 10th century. The site was rediscovered in the 19th century and has been partially restored since then.

The site features several large pyramids, including El Castillo, which is the second tallest structure in Belize. You can climb to the top of El Castillo for a stunning view of the surrounding area. The site also features several plazas, ball courts, and other ceremonial structures.

Most tours from Hopkins will offer a second activity like this Xunantunich and Inland Blue Hole Tour or this Xunantunich Mayan Ruin and Cave Tubing.

Visit the Famed ATM Cave

ATM Cave, Belize

Another great place to visit from Hopkins if you’re not going to San Ignacio is the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, one of the most known landmarks in Belize.

The ATM Cave was used by the ancient Mayans for both ceremonial and human sacrifice purposes, and many artifacts from the site are still preserved inside the cave. You will have the opportunity to see these artifacts and learn about the Mayan culture and beliefs.

The tour involves hiking, swimming, and wading through water, as well as climbing and squeezing through tight spaces, so be sure you’re up for it.

The number of people allowed daily is limited so make sure to book a tour in advance (you can’t get in without a guide).

Click here to book your Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave Tour from Hopkins!

Where to eat in Hopkins

Food

If you want something nice on the beach, you can check out Maxim’s. It’s also an excellent place to have a drink.

For budget options, Siomara’s is a good choice, they offer local, copious meals. If you want to try Garifuna cuisine, head to Tugusina Garifuna restaurant.

For coffee, check out Kat’s Coffee, their coffee is great and they offer succulent food (granola bowls, waffles, panini, wraps…)

How to get to Hopkins, Belize

There are a couple of direct buses from Dangriga from Monday to Saturday (way fewer on Sundays).

Otherwise, you can catch any bus on the Belize City-Punta Gorda line and ask to be dropped off at the intersection. From there, you can hitchhike or take a shared taxi ($5 BZ).

Beach and palmtrees in Hopkins, Belize

Note for Solo Females Traveling to Hopkins

The catcalling in Hopkins was the worst I had in my four weeks traveling in Belize. Every 10 meters, there’s a man ready to make a comment on your looks or think it’s okay to say “Hi baby” or things like this. It’s super annoying, at one point I just gave up walking around the village and just headed back to the hotel.

Where to stay in Hopkins, Belize

  • The Funky Dodo Backpackers Hostel: The only hostel in Hopkins, a great place to meet people, good wifi, shared kitchen, near the bus stop;
  • Cosmopolitan Guesthouse Affordable, clean and comfy rooms with a private bathroom, outdoor pool and free bikes.
  • All Seasons Guest House: Nice mid-range guest house with AC, wifi and a kitchen guests can use;
  • Coconut Row: (high-end) beachfront hotel with rooms, bungalows, and apartments, they have a bar/restaurant, AC, and good wifi.

There are cheaper guesthouses in Hopkins but they’re not online, you’ll just have to ask around when you get to the village.

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17 Best Things to Do in Hopkins, Belize

Hopkins, Belize FAQ

Is Hopkins Belize worth visiting?

Yes, Hopkins, Belize is definitely worth visiting! This charming and laid-back coastal village is located in the Stann Creek District of Belize and offers visitors a chance to experience the local Garifuna culture, beautiful beaches, and access to a wide range of outdoor activities and attractions.

What is Hopkins Belize known for?

Hopkins, Belize is known for its beautiful beaches, access to outdoor activities, and rich Garifuna culture.

Does Hopkins Belize have nice beaches?

Yes, Hopkins, Belize has nice beaches! The village is located along the Caribbean coast of Belize and offers visitors access to some of the country’s most pristine and unspoiled beaches. The beaches in Hopkins are known for their soft white sand and crystal-clear waters, making them ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and a variety of water sports.

One of the best things about the beaches in Hopkins is that they are relatively quiet and uncrowded compared to some of the more popular tourist destinations in Belize.

However, if you’re looking for a beach destination, I would recommend Placencia over Hopkins.