We (Richard, Ashley, Wilson, Sarah) were sitting down to dinner at Backpacker’s Paradise when Wilson proposed the unpaved Coastal Highway as a route to get to Hopkins Village the following day. After a teeny bit of hesitation, and some Google imaging, we decided to go for it. Boy are we glad we did. Apparently words like “worst road ever,” “lots of rocks,” “vehicle damage” and “regret” did not discourage us from choosing this road less travelled on. In reality, it is dry season in Belize right now so the roads are very dusty and without massive pools of water and mud (knocking on wood as we are writing this…).
Before taking the Coastal Highway we rolled through Orange Walk for lunch, which is known for its epic street food. We had some tasty pupusas, freshly squeezed fruit juice, and loaded up on gas before reaching the Coastal Highway. Richard made sure to air the tires down significantly before we raced down the orange-colored dirt road surrounded by alternating jungle and pine-like trees and shrub knowing that we’d be pushing the truck a bit to keep up with Wilson “Hammer Down” Edgar. One section took us through a grove of orange trees. The dust billowed behind us, wind whipped our hair, and music blasted as we maneuvered over sand, dirt, rocks, bridges, and gravel. What an epic ride… this supposed “2 hour drive” took us 60 minutes… and we even had time for Ace to take a break in the tall grass along the way.
Hopkins Village presented a bit of a camping challenge for us, but we happily ended up at the Funky Dodo Hostel in a dorm room. There is room out on the side road for a camper or vertical pop up tent with access to the facilities ($12 USD). Our vehicle/tent was too wide for the side street so we bunked together in the hostel for an identical camping price. Another option is by the beach close to the pizza place on the north side of town… all you need to do is buy some food or drinks there and they’re happy to host you right beside the beach volleyball courts.
Speaking of food… Hopkins has the cutest kiddos that offer sinfully delicious baked and fried goods for a small fee. We were happy to oblige these smiling little ones with some cash for cinnamon buns, coconut bread, conch fritters, and donuts. Damn, Belize. You have amazing baked goods. No offense to Mexico, but we were getting used to the day old and sometimes dry stale baked goods until we came to Belize. Early jog tomorrow, anyone?
We must mention the people of Hopkins Village. You know when you walk to work, take transit, go for a hike, or go to the super market/mall, etc. and everyone ignores your existence and they generally don’t seem to care about your well being? Well, Hopkins is the most friendly town we have been to, period. We walked into the grocery store and EVERY SINGLE person made direct eye contact, said hello, then asked how we were. You may think this was a grocery store thing. Nope. As we drove by, people waved. As we walked by, people said hello. Amazing.
After a couple of days cabin fever set in, and we headed to the mountains. For more information on activities to do while in Hopkins Village, head over to Mike and Tiffany’s blog, You Me and the Dogs.