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#241121 - 16 February 14 1:49 pm - America/Chicago Hopkins Visit/PG Tours
Mangopit Offline
Member
***

Registered: 01 October 13
Posts: 52
Loc: Richmond, VA/Hopkins
My husband and I just returned from 12 days visiting our second home of Hopkins and thought we would make some observations and pass on information for future travelers.
I understand that the day we arrived the weather "broke" - it stayed sunny for our 12 days there and then we were told it rained again Thursday after we left - our hopes for everyone there is that the rainy streak is over and done. We also bought some furniture in Belmopan and in Dangriga for our rental property and they were delivered the same day; on TIME - I think our good luck must have been used up in one trip!
Anyhoo, we arrived via air in Belize City, got a rental car from Eddie at Jabiru (have been using them for years), and drove to Hopkins. Stopped by "Cheers" for lunch on the Western Highway across from the zoo - both which we highly recommend. We also took the back way out of Belize through Hattiesville to get to the Western Highway without having to go back through the city - this is a good go around for travelers who might not be interested in BC. Were anxious to get home so did not stop at the prison gift shop but have heard good things about it.
Even after all the rain, the road into Hopkins was significantly better than just a year ago - we were really surprised at the progress. Another great improvement was the road from CPC through Sittee Point - my husband who visited in August could not believe the difference.
We spent some of our time dealing with the Sittee water board (ugh) and updating the property; but did have a chance to enjoy some of the local offerings including a fabulous day trip with Levi out fishing and snorkeling at Wee Caye (great prices and company) as well as the new Frog Point and Tina's locations (both fabulous). Innies' and Thongs were once again good values. There was a SIGNIFICANT increase in prices at Brothers pizza and we opted not to visit. Windschief has expanded and the fish and chips were the best we have ever had; we also enjoyed the Super Bowl on the Big Screen there and Pam and Ollie are always welcoming. We did notice that since our original visits 5 years ago, the restaurants are now offering salad, coleslaw and/or french fries as pretty standard options now which is a change. The Curve Bar was a little pricey but had great food and had these breadfruit "fries" that were incredible. I was charged $16 belize for a non-alcoholic pina colada which was delicious but nothing non-alcoholic is worth that much grin We visited the new "Loggerhead" bar its first night open - they were at bare minimum but the beer was cold and the service friendly - we wish them the best.
We also did quite a bit of shopping in Dangriga and Belmopan and learned the hard way that businesses close during the lunch hour or longer every day and most are not open on Sundays. Note to future self!
The sand fleas seemed to be more of an issue this time; preferring my husbands ankles to mine. I assume the rains had something to do with this; plus, he spent more time on the beach early morning and later evenings which seemed to be prime feeding time. The weather itself was gorgeous - open windows and a fan sufficed the whole time and we spent lots of hours just relaxing and soaking up the sun.
In our pervious visits, we have never been to PG. We decided on a whim to go on an overnight trek and stayed at the Sea Front Inn. This was a good price for a very decent room with free breakfast and fabulous views from their large patios. We were not that impressed with PG itself - a little run down plus we visited on a Saturday and seemed to be a lot of locals hanging out at bars with loud music and lots of drinking. Not complaining, just not a place I would recommend for spending any time. We did eat at a great vegetarian restaurant called "Gomers" behind the Inn; even though we are not vegetarians the food was fabulous and very reasonably priced. Then, the big Hoorah - we had one of our BEST TRIPS the next day with guide Bruno to Eladio's Cacao farm, Lubaantun (sp?) ruins, and hiking to the Blue Creek caves and swimming into the waterfalls inside the cave. This was an unexpected FABULOUS day and highly recommended. We watched chocolate being made and ate with a local Mayan family; visited ruins and got a true rain forest experience. FABULOUS ; reasonably priced and and Bruno was an excellent guide. Bruno usually offers two of these tours during a day and did all three for our group - long day and first time we had driven after dark (from PG to Hopkins that night) but we were careful, locked our doors, kept our eyes open for animals and walkers and slept like babies that night. Highly, highly recommend!!!!
This was a great trip and we would like to share some observations. First of all, Hopkins is still a quaint village and we have gotten to know many more of the residents and are made to feel immediately as if we belong. The beaches and people are beautiful. The roads are better and building has skyrocketed (for good or bad). We did notice price increases and more food choices in restaurants and stores. We are concerned about a real division seeming to pop up between the North and South End; there is definitely a different feel between the two areas and the greetings and welcomes from the community were not as friendly and forthcoming particularly amongst the younger set. We do keep up to date on activities and were actually there while two crimes were committed in the area. We were much more careful this time about our surroundings and were more cautious. This is sad for the area as well as the whole country but the "haves versus have nots" were very evident using Hopkins as a "microcosm." I hope for everyone's sake that this can be turned around.
After all is said and done, we already miss Hopkins and are looking forward to getting back. As for tourists; I would still recommend Belize and Hopkins and especially suggest that they explore the whole country - our highlights have been the Lamanai river tour; the ATM and Xunantunich tours in San Ignacio, snorkeling off of the reef (specifically Shark Ray alley), fishing with Levi, and Toledo tours mentioned above with Bruno. What a beautiful, wonderful country!

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#241123 - 16 February 14 2:04 pm - America/Chicago Re: Hopkins Visit/PG Tours [Re: Mangopit]
MajStrick Offline

**

Registered: 24 July 13
Posts: 298
Loc: Chester, VA, USA
Welcome back home. After 12 days of sunny, warm 85 degrees, you returned home to 6 inches of snow and lows in the mid 20s.

Glad you had a great trip. Sorry I didn't send a note sooner. No problem.
_________________________

MajStrick

Never argue with a fool: onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that listens to counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15

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#241128 - 16 February 14 3:53 pm - America/Chicago Re: Hopkins Visit/PG Tours [Re: Mangopit]
ginandtonic Offline

**

Registered: 06 June 10
Posts: 1370
Loc: Sudbury,On. Canuckistan
Compliments of one of my spies aiding my ongoing analysis of the decaying sociocultural fabric of the BRB....
A reality check: From the Mgr of a Hopkins B&B...
"Just to let everyone know to be aware! My nephew got robbed last night as he was leaving Wind Chief [actually Windschief, Ed.]. Five young men jumped him at knife point as he was getting in his car. What do we have to do? This is affecting all of us and our businesses. If anyone has any info, please let us know. "
These problems should get worse with the escalating bourgeois decadence associated with ex pat infusion to the area.
On the role of the Hopkins Sandflea...

Before Hopkins^

Hopkins^
Sometime later after Hopkins....
http://www.stanford.edu/group/parasites/ParaSites2006/Leishmaniasis/images/Hand.jpg
(NB photos are for exemplifying only and are not same person or gender)
_________________________
“The idea that a pessimistic philosophy is necessarily one of discouragement is a puerile idea, but one that needs too long a refutation.”
Albert Camus
















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#241129 - 16 February 14 4:54 pm - America/Chicago Re: Hopkins Visit/PG Tours [Re: Mangopit]
Mangopit Offline
Member
***

Registered: 01 October 13
Posts: 52
Loc: Richmond, VA/Hopkins
OMG - that's what must have happened to me - sand fleas = loss of figure smile Sadly, we were at Windschief that evening. I do agree that the expat infusion aggravates and provides more opportunity and was expecting your input; however, I also firmly believe that this is not core root of the problem but want to stay true to the nature of this topic and use this post to help others in making dining/hotel/tour decisions if they visit Belize. I would like to object to your use of the word decadence but it does ring true - the fact that we are white and have the means to visit are in and of itself decadent and worthy of reminding visitors (including myself) of how others view us and remind us that we are the visitors and the outsiders and are at the mercy of the graciousness or aversion of the countrymen we visit.

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#241134 - 16 February 14 6:02 pm - America/Chicago Re: Hopkins Visit/PG Tours [Re: Mangopit]
terdalfarm Offline

***

Registered: 21 January 07
Posts: 1181
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Great report! Thank you.
_________________________
Erik Terdal

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#241138 - 16 February 14 10:17 pm - America/Chicago Re: Hopkins Visit/PG Tours [Re: Mangopit]
hopefulist Online   content

**

Registered: 17 May 03
Posts: 2350
Loc: The Dalles, OR USA
Thanks for this nice report!! We visited Eladio's farm with Bruno last summer - great tour. I had already visited Lubantuun on my own and the road was out to Blue Creek due to rain; we're returning next month and will give it a go. In case anyone else is interested, here's my blog post.
http://hopefulistinlatinamerica.blogspot.com/2012/08/cacao-trail.html

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#250989 - 17 June 16 8:38 am - America/Chicago Re: Hopkins Visit/PG Tours [Re: Mangopit]
mat_kay Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 28 February 16
Posts: 24
wonderful report!!
that being said, we are now 2+ years later and we are in the process of buying a home in hopkins. anyone have any updates on the situation there? we have had only good experiences when we have been there. has there been any increase in violent crime? we had been told the crime there was mostly crime of opportunity... thanks for any input.

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#251064 - 30 June 16 6:59 pm - America/Chicago Re: Hopkins Visit/PG Tours [Re: mat_kay]
gelint Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02 May 16
Posts: 84
Loc: Norway , Iowa
We bought lot 44 in phase 2 Sittee point. Where have you bought ? grin

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#251065 - 01 July 16 9:14 am - America/Chicago Re: Hopkins Visit/PG Tours [Re: gelint]
mat_kay Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 28 February 16
Posts: 24
lot #60 in phase 2. we will be neighbors!!

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