Our Trip to Hopkins, Belize

Ligeia and Mindy just spent a week in Belize, Central America. For those who don’t know where that is (we had to look on the map, too!), you can click here. We stayed in a small village called Hopkins, where the majority of its population (total = 1000) are of the Garifuna culture. In the 17th century, two slave ships from Africa sank off the coast, and the survivors swam to shore and the village was born. The people were very friendly and their food was amazing!
Here is a group of teenagers, the Lebeha Boys, playing a concert of traditional Garifuna drumming:
Here is Jabar, the drumming group’s leader and teacher, and one of the hosts of the cabanas where we stayed:
Here’s our little cabana on the beach:

We were about 100 feet from the Caribbean! Here’s the view from our front porch:

Many of the houses in Hopkins have thatch roofs, made of palm tree leaves. It’s really amazing how waterproof they are!
All around the village, mango trees grew in abundance. The children would pick up the freshly-fallen fruit and eat them by hand. We were unsuccessful at finding ones that were ripe enough, but there were plenty available!
Much to our delight, the coastal village was alive with a lot of lizards. Here’s a green iguana enjoying the midday sun on top of a gravestone:
Here’s a little lizard (we learned later that they’re known as the “lazy man’s lizard” because they are not easily frightened by people, and will remain rather still even when approached) keeping an eye out for the circling birds overhead:
And here’s a couple (literally!) of geckos making a little love on our bathroom ceiling. Amazingly enough, these little lovers kept at it for a good 10 minutes!
Nearby is Cockscomb Basin, the world’s first jaguar preserve. In 1985, the government of Belize claimed a large section of the jungle and made it into a national park. Unfortunately, this meant that the Mayan people who still lived in the jungle, separated from civilization as we know it, were left homeless. Many of them moved to small houses close to the main highway right outside the park. One such survivor was Gregorio, who started his own tour company and cottage rental business (www.mayacenter.com). He was our guide for our first trip into the jungle. On the 6-mile dirt road into the park, a tayra ran in front of our car. It moved so fast, we thought it was a monkey, but our knowledgeable guide quickly corrected us. It was hot, humid and the bugs were biting! But it was absolutely amazing to hike the trails that generations of Mayans hiked before us.

One of the days on our trip, Ligeia went scuba diving. The barrier reef that runs about 20 miles off the coast of Belize is the world’s second largest. Only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is bigger. The diving is apparently some of the best in the world, and for that reason, we will likely have to return to Belize at some point in the future! Perhaps during a full moon in the spring when the whale sharks come to feed!
Here’s Ligeia underwater:

These fish are called shark suckers, and their preferred method of travel is catching rides on bigger fish, sharks, and apparently the bathing suits of divers. I think it looks like someone with a big boot stepped on it head and smushed it like a pancake.

Of course there’s lots of living coral in a barrier reef:

Coral – the perfect hiding place for a moray eel:

It was an amazing trip! If you’re ever thinking of a great Caribbean vacation, consider Belize. We now know much more about the little country that offers mountains, jungles, sandy coastlines and pristine islands!
Until next time,
Ligeia and Mindy 🙂 🙂

One thought on “Our Trip to Hopkins, Belize

  1. Anonymous

    Thanks for posting the great pictures. We received the photos about a month ago and distributed them, much to the joy of the drummers. I just gave Marva (the cook) hers yesterday as she had had two deaths in her family (her parents) and a religious ceremony (called a Chugu) conducted by her husband's family,; so she was hard to get a hold of.

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