I am pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Gemma, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Gemma lives in the UK, and submitted the following report about Hopkins, Belize. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 2 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Kriol, English, Spanish
Reasons to Visit Hopkins, Belize
Hopkins is a small, friendly, seaside town. It's a great location to meet the locals and immerse yourself in Garifuna culture while doing so, escaping the tourist trail and flocks of westerners that make a beeline for Caye Caulker. Hopkins has a more laid back, relaxed vibe and travelers and locals mix easily at the funky Driftwood Beach Bar, which buzzes at night with live music and gossip between locals and backpackers.
The Funky Dodo is the main hostel in town, with a bar to chill out and meet like-minded backpackers. Its central location is easy to find, and makes a great base for exploring the huge range of activities nearby, such as diving and snorkeling. (I almost saw a whale shark while diving. It swam above us but no one noticed, only the boat crew saw it!)
The local lagoon is a beautiful place to go kayaking, meandering down mangrove tunnels, keeping your eyes peeled for sunbathing crocodiles. Visit at night to see the magic of bioluminescence, take a night time dip, and glow in the cool waters.
Drive or hitch to the Mayflower Reserve to do some short hikes, swim in the natural pools to cool off, and, if you're lucky, have a free fish foot spa (it's a scratchy, tickly feeling). Or, if you prefer something a bit cooler, take a tour to St. Herman's Cave and try out cave tubing, which is by the far the best way to explore underground caverns.
With so many activities available, you won't be bored but Hopkins is also a good place to do nothing, head to the beach with a good book, or just chill out in a hammock at the hostel. It's easy to see why so many people stay here longer than intended; it's a great place to recuperate and get away from the more touristy side of Belize. Everyone is friendly, relaxed, and easy to chat to and make friends with. It should be a destination on the list of every traveler heading to Belize.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 2 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)