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Placencia or Hopkins?

San Diego
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2 posts
5 reviews
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Placencia or Hopkins?

My boyfriend and I are traveling to Belize in early June. He has already been to Placencia before and loved it. We are wanting to go somewhere a little bit different and are considering Hopkins- Almond Beach or Hamanasi. I am wondering about the town of Hopkins. Is it significantly smaller than Placencia? Are there some restaurants and shops to visit? We would definitely like to go into town at least a few times. We are concerned that Hopkins will be too small. Any advice you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

AKJ
Bruceton Mills...
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2,526 posts
3 reviews
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1. Re: Placencia or Hopkins?

I think its pretty small but supposed to be nice. Here's a link that has some info. You can probably find others here on TA or by googling.

http://www.cometohopkins.com/

belize
Destination Expert
for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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6,795 posts
10 reviews
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2. Re: Placencia or Hopkins?

Hopkins is smaller and doesn't have the same calibre or amount of shops, restaurants, bars, etc that Placencia villages does. Culturally different in that Placencia is a Creole village and Hopkins a Garifuna village, interesting cutlure. Both nice inns, also look at Jaguar Reef. 10 miles from the reef and close the the Jaguar Preserve, Sittee River and village.

British Columbia
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14 posts
29 reviews
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3. Re: Placencia or Hopkins?

We just returned from a two and a half week vacation in Belize, one week of which was spent in Hopkins. Didn't get to Placencia although everything we heard was that Placencia was very nice. Hopkins was small - there are not many shops although there are a few restaurants including the local ones and resort ones. It was very "untouristy" for the most part so depending on what you want to experience it could be good or else not so good. We didn't find the locals to be particularly friendly although we met some very wonderful people that have now made Hopkins their home. As far as the resorts to stay in Hamanasi, Jaguar Reef and Belizean Dreams all looked nice. We stayed at a private home on the beach and really enjoyed the swimming and beach barbeques. We spent the rest of the time on Ambergris Caye and really loved it!

Boston, MA
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13 posts
1 review
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4. Re: Placencia or Hopkins?

We just returned from 10 days at Almond Beach / Jaguar Reef (all one resort) and had the most wonderful experience. Our children are 9 and 14, and they loved every minute of it. The property is in an exquisite setting, spacious, and extremely well-run. The staff of 75 made our stay pleasant and comfortable, as they are genuinely helpful and friendly. We loved all the tours -- Jaguar Preserve Kayaking; Horseback Riding (first time for us!); Cave Tubing; Snorkeling -- and wish we had more time to explore the ruins and the reefs. The only disappointment was the food. It was good, not great, but pretty much par for the course in a remote and sparsely-populated area. The tradeoff, though, is miles of deserted beaches, personal attention from the staff, and easy access to everything that Belize has to offer. We didn't spend time in Hopkins; just drove through it. There is nothing going on there, though the people are friendly. We checked out Hamanasi and found it too confining (intimate?) compared to Jaguar Reef. If you are going to Belize enjoy the natural beauty and the people, you will be delighted. If you're a 5-star kind of traveler, you will be disappointed. We can't wait to go back!!!

St. Louis
8 posts
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5. Re: Placencia or Hopkins?

I love these forums for the diversity of opinions and taste you get from the individuals who reply.

We just returned from our Belize vacation half of which was spent at the Jaguar Reef resort in Hopkins. Where as some people found this resort wonderful, I found it to be a rip-off as far as price charged for value recieved. Let me explain.

Yes the resort is nice. Clean sandy grounds large well kept rooms,right on the beach!! Sounds good right? However, it cost 350 per night and that does not include meals!! You can go all inclusive for 400 per night. Meals are 9.00 for breakfast, 12 for lunch, and 29 for dinner. Do the math, that's another 100 per day for ala cart meals which now makes the daily rate 450.00!! Is Jaguar worth all that? Not hardly in my opinion.

Ther are no options either! You just want a good ole hamburger and fries for dinner for 6 or 8 dollars?--forget it !! THERE ARE NO DEVIATIONS FROM THE MENU!! There is no snack bar that serves nacho, burgers etc... during the day! You eat at the times they tell you too, off the limited daily selections they have, at the one-price fits all rate. That's a rip off!! The food was only average in my opinion and you had to pay 60 per evening (for 2),for this honor.

Now about the water.. This is NOT 7-mile beach in Negril! The sand is brown and very coarse to the feet. The water is dinghy, not clear at all,off the beach. Same color you'd see anywhere along the atlantic seaboard. In addition, there are large patches of seagrass growing on the bottom so that when you wade out you get this grass washing against your legs and it feels well--creepy.

All in all I'd say "IF "they threw the meals in as "all inclusive"for 350.00 per pay it would almost be worth it -(then you still have the crappy water conditions to deal with which is why you stay at an "ocean-front resort " in the first place right? So, all in all, there's no way this place warrants the prices they charge. I feel the food situation is a complete gouging of the patrons and a blatant money-grab by the owner. I certainly did not feel we received the experience we'd planned for the money spent!! Would we stay there again-NO..

Now regarding Hopkins. This is a village of about 1,000 people who either live hand ot mouth or are lucky enough to work at one of the resorts. We found the people very friendly. We partied at night at the corner bar ,the King Cassava, at the main intersection in town. Ice cold beer, good food, friendly people. We ate breakfast and lunch there and it was good local fare!!That's another thing at Jaguar, the very small bar area seats about 5!! That's it, no place to sit relax and mingle with others at the resort. It's like they don't want to have any kind of night life at all there.( Or sell much liqour).

We ate on successive nights at the three other resorts next to the Jaguar--the Parrot Cove, Hamanassa, and Belizean Dreams!! One night at the Jaguar was enough for us!! I can tell you about these experiences if your interested.

John

Boston
2 posts
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6. Re: Placencia or Hopkins?

I agree with the previous poster that the Jaguar Reef Lodge food was a rip off. I would recommend them only for the dive shop that is located on their premises although is a separate company - Second Nature Divers. We had fantastic dives with Lucky and Martin and we were able to see 5 dolphins inlcuding a nursing baby and a large Loggerhead Turtle at the Paradise dive site.

We got married in Belize with lots of friends and family (not at Jaguar Reef Lodge). For our only night alone during our honeymoon we chose the Jaguar Reef Lodge for dinner and it was terrible. It was $37 a person and the food was bad. It was the only time in over 2 weeks that my husband or I felt ill in Belize.

With regards to Hopkins... We stayed at the All Seasons Guesthouse and the rooms were clean with A/C and refrigerator for about $50/night. I would definitely stay there again. We used Hopkins as a jumping off point to go to the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve, dive trips and Mayflower National Park. The dive trip was awesome and the coral is in much better shape than at Ambergris Caye although the visibility wasn't quite as good. You could also use Hopkins as a jumping off point for some of the caves south of Belmopan (St. Herman's Cave, Crystal Cave), adventure tours through Caves Branch or Gales Point Manatee. These tours though you would need to have a car or some other form of transportation arranged (same goes if you were to do these same trips from Placencia though). We had a car so we had a lot of flexibility to do what we wanted.

If you only have 2 to 3 days you can spend them at Hopkins easily enough. If you have longer than that then it would be worthwhile to stay at one of the islands in one of the Atolls or Reefs off of the Hopkins/Placencia coast for at least 3 days and then perhaps spend a day or two on the front and/or back end at a place like Hopkins or Placencia to do inland day trips.

Washington State
3 posts
1 review
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7. Re: Placencia or Hopkins?

Hi. We just returned from 2 weeks in Belize that included 4 nights at Hamanasi Resort. Our group was 3 generations including children ages 9 and 13. Hamanasi is absolutely first rate. Although not inexpensive, it is worth it. The service is superior as are the rooms and food. Some of us stayed in a beachfront room and the others in one of the terrific, private "treehouses". The bikes and kayaks are available at no charge so we rode the half mile into Hopkins every day. Pretty limited but very interesting and un-touristy with fun food. A real difference at Hamanasi compared to the Jaguar Reef is the setting; the site was not cleared & then built upon but the buildings were sited in the natural vegetation with the addition of beautiful plantings.=very lush with welcome shady areas and afternoon wind protection. The beach was just fine in my opinion...all along the area. Compared to Ambergris Caye, this is heaven.

Alaska
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33 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: Placencia or Hopkins?

We were in Placencia in 2006 and Hopkins (3 days) in March of this year. Quite different places.

Hopkins is very small and quiet. (We stayed right in Hopkins on the beach) It was an excellent time for us to decompress from life up here and we enjoyed every minute of our quiet time. Ate in the little village restaurants. We did NOT get down to the Hamanasai/Jag Reef area. Had a great snorkel trip out to Southwater Caye area through one of the local guides. Hopkins is not a shopping place.

Placencia was busier but still relatively small. More activities there, more diversity with the food. More guides/shops there than Hopkins.

We enjoyed Placencia a lot and will sometime go back there.

just my 2¢

9. Re: Placencia or Hopkins?

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