Hopkins, Belize Honeymoon

Old Feb 27th, 2015, 07:48 AM
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Hopkins, Belize Honeymoon

Has anyone been to Hopkins, Belize? I am finding some good "packaged" deals through Expedia and bookit, and with these deals Belize is now in our budget. A few things I am concerned about;
1. How trustworthy is it to book through a website like expedia or bookit?
2. How are the beaches around the Hopkins area?
3. Is there good/affordable fishing in the area?
4. What kind of 'excursions" will be near? Looking to go hiking, birding, snorkeling-basically any outdoor activity without a 3 hour drive.
5. How is the weather in Mid October, I know it is hurricane season, but is it that bad that I should stay clear of Belize in October? We will be buying travelers insurance.

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks =)
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 09:56 AM
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Hopefulist is your girl. Hopefully she'll chime in for you or you can view some of her trip reports.
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 10:32 AM
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I'll give your questions ago - we just booked our 5th visit to Belize and love Hopkins Village.

1. How trustworthy is it to book through a website like expedia or bookit?
No idea - I prefer to plan and book my own vacations and would be happy to help with yours.

2. How are the beaches around the Hopkins area?
Beautiful! Most folks would say that Belize doesn't sport postcard beaches, though. In front of
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stacey...57622110699009

3. Is there good/affordable fishing in the area?
Cost of chartered tours can be $300-400/day with a good guide. You can also hire a local or a kayak and try it on your own.

4. What kind of 'excursions" will be near? Looking to go hiking, birding, snorkeling-basically any outdoor activity without a 3 hour drive.
Within half an hour or so there is great hiking with waterfalls and birding (and sometimes monkeys) at both the Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve and the Mayflower Bocawina site; the latter has a big zipline. Loads of caving adventures, too, within an hour or 2; check out www.cavesbranch.com and http://www.pacztours.net/actun-tunic...nal/index.html

Snorkeling and diving are available on the reef which is about 10 miles off shore. And don't miss an evening of Garifuna drumming at the Lebeha Center www.lebeha.com or a visit to Miss Bertie's Library.

Hopkins is a Garifuna village and you can pass through a Creole village - Sittee River - and a Maya village - Maya Centre - on your way to Cockscomb.

5. How is the weather in Mid October, I know it is hurricane season, but is it that bad that I should stay clear of Belize in October? We will be buying travelers insurance.
We haven't visited in October but here's a link that might help:
https://weatherspark.com/averages/32706/10/Belize-City

I figure any time you can visit is a good time. We have visited 3 times in August and the rain has fallen almost exclusively at night. Trip insurance is a good idea but hurricanes aren't common, even that late in the season.

My photos with blog, travelogue, and review links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there.
Congratulations and happy planning!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 10:33 AM
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Ha! Thanks volcanogirl. Your post wasn't there when I started typing.
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 10:35 AM
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I would be curious about what you're seeing on those websites. Here's our go to place, pretty much perfect for us:
www.hopkinsinn.com
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 10:39 AM
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I nominate hopefulist for Hopkins Destination Expert!
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 12:34 PM
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Wow! Thanks hopefulist!!!

If I can convince the Fiancé to go to Belize, I would appreciate your help in planning. I love planning my own trips, but I am so naïve to Belize, that I think I need some help this time.

The Hopkins City area sounds perfect! We really just want to have some time on the beach to relax (without being over crowded and fighting for lounge chairs)and get out and explore!

The ATM cave looks just fantastic and I would love to hike the Jaguar Reserve. I am totally sold on Belize!

The Hopkins Inn looks very nice. How is the beach? The place I was looking at in Hopkins is called Almond Beach Resort and Spa.

Your pictures are just beautiful and I wish I could travel as much as you do. I hope to do a trip to Nicaragua next year!

I did see in your pictures an album at a butterfly sanctuary-where was that located?

Do you recommend Hopkins City for a honeymoon, or is there a different location you think would be better? We don't need a 5 star hotel, but we don't want to stay in a cheap motel/hostel type resort either.

Do you rent a car when you go? Seems like we would be traveling a lot to see the caves and hike.

Sorry for all the questions, I don't know anyone else who seems to be a Belize expert like yourself.
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 01:25 PM
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kfbanta - How much time do you have? If it's a week or less then just picking 1 beachy location makes sense. If you're interested in a lot of mainland activities, you could consider splitting between 2 locations, especially if you have more time (and the more, the better!).

Cayo District in western Belize is a popular inland stop - good bouncing off place for the Tikal Maya site in Guatemala and more local Maya sites plus the ATM cave trip and this 1, much less visited but also terrific:
http://actunchapatadventure.blogspot.com/

Here's an old thread on which Lan Sluder describes the beachy options:
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntre...readID=1737076

Several of them are islands that don't work as well if you want to split between mainland and water activities but the northern cayes (Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye) are much closer to the reef than Hopkins and closer to the airport.

If Tikal isn't a priority, Toledo District in the south makes a great base for caving, hiking, chocolate tours, and jungle. We LOVE Hickatee Cottages, like Hopkins Inn's jungly cousin (trails, bikes, howler monkeys, parrots...). Their website is a good reference for activities in the area. The butterfly place is something they run and you can only visit if you're staying with them. That's a long way south if you rely on buses but not bad if you can afford to fly.
www.hickatee.com

Hopkins Village (about as far from a city as you're likely to see!) is very laid back. The photo above was taken from the porch of our cabin at Hopkins Inn - very nice, swimmable beach. We like that it's right in the village - easy to access restaurants and live music. I am not a resort person so have no opinion about Almond Beach.

Glad you enjoyed my photos. I am a lucky duck to be able to travel so much but have worked hard to develop special reasons and funding to travel and now we're retired and have more time, too. Putting down roots in Guatemala but still visiting either Belize or Honduras for our blue water fix at least once a year.
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 01:51 PM
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We will only have a week... flying in on Sunday the 18th and leaving on Sunday the 25th.

I would love to do a split, but I don't think we will have much time, plus, my fiancé is much more interested in hanging on the beach, so we have to compromise. The Jungle might have to be my next 'girls trip'.

Have you been to Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye before? Now that I'm writing this, I think I saw in your pictures that you have. This is the hardest part of planning.. I cannot decide what part of Belize is the best for us to stay on. If one of these places are closer to hiking, snorkeling and other such things.. maybe it would be best for us to stay there.

Hopkins sounds like it has it all. We are not big on crowds or intense night life, but if there is a bar near by that we can have a few drinks at that would be perfect for us.

Congrats on your retirement! Sounds like you are having a fantastic time! Thank you for all the advice. I really appreciate it!
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Old Feb 27th, 2015, 03:53 PM
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We really enjoy Caulker - more bar and restaurant options than Hopkins and more easily accessed plus closer to the reef for snorkeling and diving.

I think Hopkins is a great choice and you could also consider Placencia. Placencia has more going on but is further from both the reef and the mainland things I named above; we prefer Hopkins but some folks prefer Placencia. In order to hike from Caulker or Ambergris (other than light hiking on the island) you have to fly or take a water taxi to the mainland - makes for a long day but possible if you only want to do it once or maybe twice.

Keep us posted!
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 07:38 AM
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1. How trustworthy is it to book through a website like expedia or bookit?

Expedia has been around a long time, and I haven't heard about any problems with them. If there were serious issues, complaints would be all over the travel forums. Don't know about bookit. Try googling something like "bookit complaints".

2. How are the beaches around the Hopkins area?

Pretty good but I wouldn't say the best in Belize.

4. What kind of 'excursions" will be near? Looking to go hiking, birding, snorkeling-basically any outdoor activity without a 3 hour drive.

Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary for land-based stuff. For snorkelling, the best snorkelling is out on the reef (not from shore), and that's a bit of a boat ride away.

5. How is the weather in Mid October, I know it is hurricane season, but is it that bad that I should stay clear of Belize in October? We will be buying travelers insurance.

In my experience living in Belize, you can expect anything in October. Typically, it doesn't rain every day and we seldom get all day downpours, but it can rain at ay time of the day or night -- usually brief showers. However, two years ago it seemed to rain every 2 or 3 days. Rainfall for that year were near record amounts. Some Octobers are very dry.

The greatest probability of hurricane is in September & October, but we don't get hurricanes every year -- I think it averages about 1 every 5 years. The only advice I can give is stay tuned to local media, and if a hurricane approaches, get away from water regardless of what anyone else tells you -- head inland.

Also, I don't know what you already know about Hopkins, but it's a small village -- very quiet, not a lot of shops, restaurants, bars, nightlife (if that's what you want?). There's a Garifuna drumming centre in Hopkins if you're into drumming, and a Garifuna museum in Dangriga. If you want the shops, restaurants & bars, Placencia is the place to be.

Public transportation isn't as good in Hopkins either. There are some buses, but unless you have a rental car, you'll have to rely on taxis, tour companies or hitchhiking.
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 07:46 AM
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In your second post, you refer to "Hopkins City".

Hopkins is FAR from being a city. It's a small village. Have a look on Google Earth or another website with satellite images.

If you want a place to relax and do nothing, Hopkins is perfect. If you want the shops, restaurants, bars, nightlife, Placencia might be better (better beach), or San Pedro (SP would also be better for easier access to reef snorkelling).

October is not really a busy period for tourists, so wherever you go, you won't have to fight for chairs.
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 07:58 AM
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Just read your third post...


I've been to Hopkins, Placencia, Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye and almost everywhere in between. I can't think of a single place that is perfect for everything you want to do.

Hopkins is convenient for the land-based activities, but the reef is further away. The cayes are convenient for snorkelling, but not for land-based activities. My usual suggestion is a split -- a few days on the mainland followed by a few days on one of the cayes.

It boils down to, what are your priorities, and where are you going to be spending most of your time -- on land or on the water?
And what sort of "town" do you want to be in -- a busy place with lots of shopping, or a quiet village with not much?

You keep mentioning hiking, so Hopkins is a good location for that, but so is Placencia. You can still snorkel, but it's a longer boat ride than if you stay on one of the cayes. However, doing land-based activities from a caye would be worse than going snorkelling from Hopkins/Placencia.
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 09:57 AM
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Thanks for the avdice everyone. It is so greatly appreciated! Sounds like I really need to sit down and do my research!

Had a talk with my fiancé last night and he was actually excited about the idea of honeymooning in Belize!!! So its set, now I have planning to do!

The things he was most excited about was cave tubing, the ATM cave and possibly fishing. We dont need the 'best' beach in Belize or the best snorkeling, so im thinking we should stay on the mainland. As long as we have water near and can drive to a good snorkeling site we'll be happy.

Thanks again!!!!!!
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 10:29 AM
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You won't be able to drive to the best snorkeling - really not much to see from the mainland. There are a few places you can stay in Belize where you can snorkel from shore - the atolls, a few southern cayes, and a remote spot on north Ambergris, for examples, but none of them have any sort of town. From everywhere else you'll need a boat. From Hopkins and Placencia, as noted above, the reef is a longer boat trip from shore than Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker.

Happy planning!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2015, 06:36 AM
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Thank you for all your help!!!!!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2015, 06:36 AM
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Thank you for all your help!!!!!
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