We were very much looking forward to a relaxing beach front vacation and expecting some challenges given the "unfinished" title and resource limited country. Unfortunately we were very disappointed. On the plus side, Gloria was a lovely host and very helpful - her family pushed our SUV out of the sandy parking space and brought buckets of water when there was none. The rental was extremely clean. The location was as advertised.
We were less impressed with:
- The beach, which is more of a commentary on Hopkins than the rental itself. The beach was covered in rotting seaweed and garbage thus rendering it completely unusable. The smell was so bad I was nauseated whenever in the rental (which we tried to minimize).
- Two of the "3 bedrooms" did not have walls that reach the ceiling and thus provided no noise isolation between "rooms" nor between those bedrooms and the common area. For sound purposes, this is functionally a one bedroom.
- The trickle of water from the kitchen sink was insufficient to fill the sink for washing dishes. We ended up using buckets to bring shower water.
- The refrigerator wasn't cold enough to keep milk from spoiling for >12 hours. We ended up making an ice bath inside the fridge in order to keep milk overnight.
- There was no hot water for bathing
This gem is not to be missed. Yes, it's called a "95% finished beach home" and there are a few upgrades in progress, but you won't even notice. The beachfront patio is on a second story and sets above the beach allowing you to comfortably watch the ocean and catch the ocean breezes.
Near by is a Garifuna drumming school, grocery stores, and casual and less casual restaurants.
Not to be missed: Gloria, the "back yard" property manager cooks wonderful traditional meals - place an order with her a day in advance and you will NOT regret it! Also, go scuba diving or snorkeling (our favorite shop was locally owned Seemore Dives - we dove with them about 15 times).
We are definitely looking forward to visiting Hopkins and the "95% finished beach home" again!
Let me tell you why we loved this house- Our favorite feature, of course, was the huge upper patio overlooking the back yard and ocean. It was so relaxing to sit out there with a beer and a good book. The bed in the master bedroom was like sleeping on a cloud. It was even better than the one at the fancier resort we stayed at later. Like the living room, there is a big screen door there to let the cool ocean breezes gently blow in at night. It was just so comfy, we slept like babies. The large living room was also breezy with the big screen doors open. No need for air conditioning at all! Though we weren’t there to watch tv and surf the web, there were more channels than I have in my own home and the wireless internet worked well. Kitchen has plenty of pots, pans, utensils, and dishes and grocery stores aren’t too far away. It is also just a few doors down from a nice pizza place where we met some locals and had some good laughs and good times. The ocean was amazing. You could seemingly go out for miles and it stayed shallow and there was no seaweed. Gloria, the property manager, was great and very attentive. Ben, the owner, maintained communication with us and was very helpful.
When we arrive, Gloria was there to shows us the house and suggest where to got for a meal. She also helped us by recommending where we could get groceries for meals at home. Hopkins is a very small village, but has everything we needed. we had fun in the village and on day trips to see Mayan ruins, the jungle, and other sites. The house was an ideal location for everything.
We had a bit of difficulty finding the house upon our drive in from the airport, but the friendliness and helpfulness of the neighbors was perfect and we connected quickly with Gloria. It is a bit of a culture shock initially coming from the structure of North America, but we quickly embraced our new home & neighborhood. The house has everything you need, lots of what you want and was great for our family in terms of space, location, and atmosphere. If you're looking for a resort type setting and luxuries, go to a resort. If you want to get a flavor for local life, this is the place for you. Gloria is a lovely host and we strongly encourage you to eat in her kitchen at least once!! Her surprise delivery of the tastiest guacamole ever was so thoughtful and perfect. Enjoyed walking to Queen Bean for our first dinner and Driftwood Pizza another night. With the drumming center right there we enjoyed falling asleep to the rhythmic music several nights. Since there is no A/C, but lots of ventilation and fans, make sure you are prepared for some heat and humidity, especially in August! If and when we go to Belize again, we'll probably stay here again.
I enjoyed my stay. I felt as if i was at home.
Especially the balcony and ocean front view and breeze.
Everything about the house is perfect.
The people are friendly and Gloria was there to assist.
Will be back soon!
We really loved our stay at Gloria's house. It was everything we needed! Vacationing with adult children, 3 rooms were a must. The place had most of the comforts of home; a full kitchen, cable TV (we even watched our beloved Badgers lose in the NCAA tournament?) internet access, 2 bikes and water toys! We were warned earlier by other reviews about the cold water showers. We brought along a camping shower and so from time to time we enjoyed a solar heated shower. The noseums were not a problem for my husband and son, but my daughter and I were not as lucky. There's just wasn't anyway to get around them. We fell in love with Belize and its people. So much to do and see. We highly recommend the following: bioluminescence with "Lucky," "Antelope" trail in the Mayflower Bocawina preserve. At the end of the trail you get rewarded by a swimming pool and waterfalls. The Cockscome Basin has a real 40 minute lazy river to enjoy! Lastly, Hopkins is the best place to stay. Very chill!