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Get to Know Belize’s Newest Seaside Destination: Hopkins Village

Article Summary:

Unknown to many travelers exists a sleepy resting place in Belize called Hopkins Village. Known for its friendly people and its beauty, Hopkins has set a new standard for adventure and cultural tourism in Belize.

Photo Credit: Tripadvisor

Original Article Text From Guardian Biz :

Touring Our Belize

Last week I wrote about a few of the marvelous attractions that make Placencia Belize’s Destination of the Year. This week you will read of a destination that is even more relaxing but just as beautiful and fun, Hopkins Village. Most of the members of the press team had never been to the cultural haven and based on their reviews most will make a return trip very soon.

On Saturday morning, July 20th, we checked out of the luxurious Larubeya Hotel and started our journey to Hopkins. The Belize Tourism Board’s familiarization trip could not have been going any better. The destinations and operators had truly impressed local journalists from print, radio and televised media houses which meant immediate endorsements for domestic tourism. On our way to Hopkins Village we stopped at the Serpon Sugar Mill. The Serpon Sugar Mill marked the arrival of the industrial era in Belize and is the country’s first historical reserve. It is located one mile in on the access road to Sittee River Village. The site, managed by the National Institute of Culture and History, preserves remnants of the steam powered Serpon Sugar Mill which was established in 1865. The mill was bought by William Bowman who is of Scottish origin and it fueled Belize’s economy for about thirty years. According to historians, In the late 19th century, Serpon was a technological marvel that featured machines from the United States and England. Those include a three wheel main crusher known as a six oiler, high powered boilers, beam engine, furnace and hot air exchanger. The operation was powered by steam. By the turn of the century sugar production was found to be more profitable in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts and the Serpon mill was eventually abandoned by 1910. Most of the machines remain in the exact position they were more than a century ago and the site provides a setting for beautiful photos.

From Serpon we continued on towards Hopkins Village. The rocky road soon proved to be a huge threat to our journey as our right rear tire collapsed. We drove for more than half a mile before one of our group members, Fortunato Noble, instructed the driver to check the tires because something felt funny. Discovering the puncture was a huge let down but the dynamic duo of the Government Press Office, Noble and Dorian Pakeman, sprung into action declaring, “this shouldn’t be much of a problem”. Pakeman removed the flat tire while Noble released the spare from beneath van. It took them a little more than five minutes to complete the operation and get the show back on the road. It was not long after that we made it to Hopkins Village and checked into Belizean Dreams resort. Belizean Dreams is an all inclusive resort with the motto “Casual Elegance Surrounded by Adventure”. The resort sits in front of the sea and is carefully landscaped to promote the natural elements of the property. There are different types of trees throughout the grounds with a neatly trimmed lawn and carved floral walkway. The villas are huge and well equipped with living, dining, multiple bathrooms and kitchen. The prices range from US$225 in the low season for a one bedroom suite for two (US$295 in high season) to US$575 for a villa that houses up to eight guests (US$675 in high season). There are also extremely generous offers for Belizeans. After checking in at Belizean Dreams we went for lunch at the Barracuda Bar and Grill. The food was delicious but after being spoilt by Maya Beach Bristro, the serving size fell way below par. In any case, I would never sacrifice quality for quantity and Barracuda Bar and Grill will certainly leave you wanting more.

BTB’s Media Relations Officer and organizer of the tour, Andrea Polanco, was crafty in developing the schedule. She knows there is no better way to recover from a heavy meal than exercise. After lunch we went to the northern part of the beach to participate in a cultural presentation by the Lebeha Drummers. The group is made up of young men and women who are dedicated in ensuring that the Garinagu culture stays alive. We met the group after they had recently returned from a trip to Canada and they shared a few pieces with us; mainly, the Chumba, Paranda and Jankunu. A few members of the team even decided to step from behind the cameras and display their dancing skills. Ronald Williams is the leader of the group and he explains that their goal is to become ambassadors like the Garifuna Collectives who have been around the world sharing the Garinagu culture and music; however, that is not nearly as important to them as making sure the next generation learns to play the drums and continues the tradition of passing on their history by using music and dance. Williams says that the drummers hold regular classes for kids. They have also produced a few albums that are available for sale. The group can be reached on Facebook.

We ended our evening by visiting the Jaguar Reef Lodge and Spa. It is in the same hotel chain as the Sleeping Giant Lodge and like the Sleeping Giant the Jaguar Reef Lodge got its name based on its location. It is sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea, near the midpoint of the second largest barrier reef in the world, and the dense southern rainforest, also known as the Jaguar Reserve. The Jaguar Reef was named Hotel of the Year in 2011 and continues to provide top quality services to guests and offers four star accommodations. It also features a spa that offers a wide range of therapeutic massages from Jetlag Defrag, hot and cold stones and deep tissue to signature massages such as the Butterflies Massage, Pineapple Coconut Sea Scrub and Chocolate Massage. There are multiple pools for children and adults and equipment for various beach activities. After a tour of the resort we had dinner in the dining room. Dining at Jaguar Reef Lodge is a relaxing yet elegant experience. The service is superb and there is a wide variety of dishes to choose from. Like the Sleeping Giant, the Jaguar Reef offers luxurious services at reasonable rates. Suites range from US$200 to US$350 a night. Belizeans may receive 30 to 50 percent off, depending on tourism season. After dinner we returned to Belizean Dreams where we spent our last night together at the pool.

We travelled home on Sunday but first we stopped at the Sleeping Giant Lodge for a daylight view of the resort and we also visited Jaguar Paw for a Chukka Adventure. Details of those will be in the final piece on the Belize Tourism Board’s local media familiarization trip.

Link to Original Article:

From Guarding Biz

  • Tipple Tree Beya

    Would appreciate the Photo Credit being listed correctly – ©tricia sturman – this is a photo provided by the management of Tipple Tree Beya, not Tripadvisor.

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