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cayo and hopkins recent trip

California
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cayo and hopkins recent trip

We recently returned from 8 days in Belize, split equally in Cayo and Hopkins. The only thing that we pre-booked before leaving was the first 2 nights at Ka'ana just past San Ignacio and an airport transfer to the resort through William Hoffman (we actually had Teddy Bear as our driver, and he was great). We loved Ka'ana...very luxury, incredible service...and we loved starting there so that we could get a feel for San Ignacio. We were able to get into town using cabs and set up tours in town (much cheaper than the resort) and try some local restaurants and bars. Ka'ana has excellent food, but felt a little deserted so we wanted to check out the vibe in town. We took a cab to Cahal Pech and found a tour guide on site. We also did the Barton Creek cave tour with Destiny tours (highly recommend if you are not going to do ATM). We then decided to move to the river and ended up staying 2 nights at Mystic River. This property is incredible. The owners are really striving for sustainablity...they raise chickens and goats (to make goat cheese) and grown their own organic vegetables for the restaurant. The "cabins" are very luxury...king sized beds, private balconies overlooking the Macal river, stucco walls and red tiled roofs and no need for mosquito nets! They will arrange any tour imaginable and offer tours that aren't offered in town, and they have their own horses and canoes onsite. We chose this location because we wanted to see Caracol and it happens to be along the way. We used Pacz tours for our Caracol trip and this saved us a ton of money because they picked us up from Ka'ana in the morning along the way to Caracol they let us drop our luggage at Mystic River and then returned us to Mystic River at the end of the tour. We loved taking the canoes from Mystic River down the Macal River to San Ignacio (3 hours). They arrange a driver to pick up the canoes in San Ignacio and drive you back to the resort, but we decided to stay in town for dinner and drinks and catch a cab back (that was an expensive cab $40).

We decided to head to the beach next and chose Hopkins. We thought that after 4 days of active tours we should go somewhere and chill. We showed up without reservations but were able to check into Belizean Dreams with no problem, and were actually upgraded due to availability. I have to say that Hopkins kind of sucks in July. We couldn't swim in the ocean due to all of the jelly fish. It was very windy so lots of trash was washing up on the beach (even though the resort was cleaning it up daily). The biting flies were horrible. The town of Hopkins in general has very little to offer besides a few local restaurants and a bar or two. It is very hot and has a ramshackle feel. On the plus side, we did take a snorkeling trip to the barrier reef that was one of the best I've ever experienced. Basically, the resorts send off their guests every morning on various tours all day, so if you are just hanging out, it is pretty dead and if you can't even swim in the ocean, what is the point?

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1. Re: cayo and hopkins recent trip

Thanks for the review. William is great, as is Teddy.

Prague, Czech...
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2. Re: cayo and hopkins recent trip

Thanks for the feedback. I was just in Belize myself, and we were originally thinking of Hopkins or Caye Caulker for our down-time beach-time at the end, but instead we headed up to Tulum (we were flying out of Cancun). Sounds like I made the right decision, since the beach in Tulum was incredible and nothing in the water except a bit of seaweed now and then.

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3. Re: cayo and hopkins recent trip

We loved our stay in Hopkins, August 2009. We stayed at Hopkins Inn, loved eating at the local places, swam to our hearts' content, and our evening of Garifuna drumming at the Lebeha center was a trip highlight. Didn't try snorkeling, though, since we had a week each on Caulker and Glovers that trip. Can you tell us who you went with and where you went? We might want to check it out when we return to Hopkins. Thanks for the report!

P.S. My photos with blog and travelogue links on the main page of each collection are below plus links to places I mentioned above. Happy trails! flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

www.hopkinsinn.com

www.lebeha.com

Edited: 01 August 2013, 23:48
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Hopkins
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Stann Creek, Belize
Huntsville, Utah
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4. Re: cayo and hopkins recent trip

Thanks for the trip review. It makes me wish I had a trip planned to return. Its not even been a year since our trip but we had such an awesome time and fell in love with Belize.

We loved Cayo too and even though the food was great at Table Rock (where we stayed) we visited town frequently and were so glad we did. So many great restaurants.

Mystic River sounds great. I'll have to consider it next time.

Too bad your Hopkins experience wasn't so good. We were there in October and really enjoyed it. We did have some issues with the biting sand flies but luckily no jellyfish. We even did a night swim one evening and the water was as calm as a small lake.

We snorkeled off of Hopkins with Dive Hamanasi and they were awesome. Highly recommend them.

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5. Re: cayo and hopkins recent trip

We've been lucky with sand flies on all our visits - so grateful for steady breezes!

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6. Re: cayo and hopkins recent trip

Our snorkeling was through jaguar reef for no reason other than convenience as we were staying next door. We were supposed to go to glover's reef, but weather did not permit so they went out around south water caye I believe. Even in the rain the visibility was phenomenal.

As for Hopkins, we did check out the drum center and ate the local food, as well as the restaurants near our resort. We had a good time...it was vacation! I know that Hopkins gets lots of love on this forum so I was just offering another view. It is not a beach that I would return to unless maybe I was doing a dive trip. I have a favorite beach on the southern Caribbean side of Costa Rica called Punta Uva that no beach really lives up to for me. The jungle goes right up to the beach giving it a lush and secluded feel. You wont find any of the fancy resorts like the ones south of hopkins. you don't have to do any organized tours to spot monkeys, sloths, etc. and the mix of rasta, tico and European expat culture in the nearby town of puerto viejo offers a variety of options for dining and nightlife. I have visited there 3 times and I always feel like there is something new to discover. Hopkins did not leave me with this feeling.

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7. Re: cayo and hopkins recent trip

Sounds wonderful! I'm mainly sorry that you weren't able to swim or enjoy the beach (such as it is) because of jelly fish and sand flies, which we have (gratefully) avoided. And I understand about personal heavens - though an avid diver, I'm not much of a beach person and mine happens to be in the Guatemala highlands. Happy trails!

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Guatemala
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8. Re: cayo and hopkins recent trip

I'm with you on your Hopkin's perspective. I'd take Newport or Balboa over the beach at Hopkin's. Can't beat the snorkeling and I still enjoyed the experience there.

Thanks for the suggestion about CR and Punta Uva.

9. Re: cayo and hopkins recent trip

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