The sun had started it’s downward spiral into the ocean as we sat on the deck of the colourful wooden beach cabana enjoying Belizean Rum and fittingly, Bob Marley tunes, at the tail end of trip through Belize. Located approximately 2 hours from the US mainland and the only english speaking country in Central America Belize makes for an easy and fun detonation to travel along with its other tangible assets including the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere, palm shrouded white sand islands, cool jungle forests, birds, birds and more exotic birds, Belizean Rum (of the spiced kind) and for the historians amongst us, Belize is known as the gateway to the Mayan Ruins. We had come to experience the islands, discover the underwater world and hike the rain forests and Belize had not disappointed us!
Tonight, we were in the small town of Hopkins, located on the central coast and a welcoming village full of coconut palms, friendly locals, cool ocean breezes and a distinctive Caribbean feel. Our home was a raised wooden cabana complete with louvred windows, a rhythmic, rattling fan, cold water shower, a couple of scorpions and of course, rock hard beds. Perfectly situated on the edge of trees, it gave us an uninterrupted view of the ocean just metres away and a feeling that you were the only occupants for miles. However, the voices of the fisherman heading in from a day out on the ocean, carried towards us their laughter and singing permeating the darkening sky, drowning out Bob Marley and reminding us that this fishing village of approximately 1500 people was really actually really all about fishing. Hopkins is known for it’s Garifuna culture which originates from the Caribbean and a heady mix of african and south american indian influence with the spoken language being a mixture of french, english and spanish. What that translated to us was that the seafood was delicious and tasty, the locals were friendly and fun and the Garifuna drummers; well they are something else with they drumming prowess and rhythm that you can lose yourself in.
Isaac, who worked at the property had dropped in whilst doing his rounds of the beach. A friendly, outgoing and funny man with a huge smile, dark curly hair and a limp, he regaled us with local fishing stories, convinced us we had to buy shares in Belizean One Barrel Rum (the local rum) and told us about his family. The sun had dropped in to meet the ocean by now and the sea breeze blew in, rattling the windows of the cabana, causing the local dogs to bark, providing us with sweet relief from the heat and humidity famous in these parts and sending delicious bbq’d fish smells from the local restaurants, wafting across our tiny deck. Determined to enjoy a fresh seafood meal on our last night, we headed along the beach in search of a bbq, rum and some of the hospitality and charm we had grown to enjoy.