Monthly Archives: January 2014

Caribbean Adventure #2, 2015 Hopkins Village continued …What to Do, Where to Eat


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We’ve snorkeled, fished, bicycled, hiked, day-tripped, swum, tanned and even read a book or two on our visits to Hopkins Village (Don’t think you’d call drinking an activity, but we’ve done that too. In moderation.) And we have walked from Hopkins Inn to the furthest point north in the Village to the furthest point south and beyond. If you stay at the Inn, Rita and Greg can arrange trips for you but there are others in the Village who can be equally helpful.

Emma at AlternateAdventure offers all kinds of tours. She doesn’t do them herself but organizes them for others. She also rents motorcycles. AlterateAdventures is a short distance from the intersection on the south side of the Village.

Oli at the Windschief Beachbar, Internet and Cabanas, also on the south side, still rents windsurfing equipment and gives lessons.

You can rent a bicycle at Freddies, down the road from Windschief, or possibly from your host wherever you are staying.

You can go snorkeling with Noel Nunez.

photo by Senneker

Photo by Senneker

You can go fishing, sight-seeing or croc watching on the Sittee River with Levi Cuthkelvin.

You can take a jungle walk at Coxcomb or Mayfair National Parks with Marcos Cucul.

And something very new, you can zipline at Mama Noots Resort about six miles from the Village on the Southern Highway. There are several beautiful waterfalls in that area where you can hike and swim.

Photo by Senneker

Photo by Senneker

Talk to your host for further information, or check with Emma at AlternateAdventures, or just ask around.

On a more sedentary note, you can track down Caitlin’s Bakery on the south side. Just follow your nose. Fresh breads, pastries, buns, cakes and cookies. Great with drinks on your verandah as the sun goes down. And, she is almost always open.

You can walk and shop at two Maya/Guatemalan gift stores, one near the intersection by King Kasava and one across from Thongs on the south side. Check out David’s Woodcarving in the same general area. You can buy Belizean handicrafts made by Mayans in Punta Gorda in a new gift shop just past Hopkins Inn walking south.

As you walk along the main street, you will likely find a local Belizean selling shell jewellery.

What to do at night? Well,  much more than meets the eye, really. There is live music from time to time at Driftwood Pizza on the north side. And live drumming from time to time at the Drum Centre.  Occasionally a dance on the north side by the lagoon. Friday  nights at Oli’s Windschief Beach Bar where large numbers of mostly expatriates gather to bring in the weekend with a boisterous bang. And a little south of the Village, several higher-end hotels offer entertainment.

But let’s face it, folks. Outside of the bright lights of Belize City, in the Village it is mostly lights out by 10 p.m.


Years ago, there were few restaurants in Hopkins Village, all of them offering good Belizean food at reasonable prices but little to distinguish them one from the another except how far you would have to walk to get there.

Today, there are at least 15 restaurants to choose from, offering Belizean, Chinese, Mayan/Mexican, pub grub, pizza, Italian, and continental.

Starting at the north end of the village, you can get a good pizza at Driftwood Pizza, a funky restaurant on the beach run by a young Englishman and his partner. Walking south but still in the north end of the village, you will find Laruni Hati, a little place close to the Drumming Centre serving good local food.

Just before the intersection dividing north from south, there’s a new restaurant called Tina’s Kitchen. This was a big re-discovery because  we had been told that she had closed down her restaurant in the south end and moved on. This was bad news because we really liked her Belizean cooking. Some of the best we ever tasted. Then we found out she had not moved on but moved up and opened a new and much better place a block north of the intersection. We ate there three times in our short week in Hopkins Village, feasting on stewed beans and rice with chicken (Evelyn) shrimp and gibnut (Brian) and quesidillas, vegetable and chicken (Evelyn) and Amber Jack fish (me). It ain’t gourmet, nor meant to be Just real good Belizean cuisine.

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At the intersection, you can check out King Kasava which closed down last year but has re-opened for the 2015 season. Walking south of the intersection, there is another new eatery called Siomarra’s, a little place run by Mayan/Spanish people who offer an odd assortment of foods from burritos to chow mein.

Down the road a bit and across the road there is Thongs. In its third or fourth season, this Italian/Russian owned restaurant offers a continental menu on the weekends and soup, salad and sandwiches for lunch. Further south, Sonia, a local resident, prepares pizza and standard Belizean fare such as fried chicken with rice and beans and coleslaw or potato salad.

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Not much further down the road, past the school on the beach side, turn into Windschief Beach Bar, Internet and Cabanas, a happening place on Friday nights. The bar fare is popular and the menu changes daily but fish and chips and burgers are always available and very, very good.

Still walking south, Innie has re-modeled her restaurant and added outside seating. The restaurant still offers good Belizian food for breakfast, lunch and supper and the price is right. Next on your perambulation, you will arrive at Iris’ Restaurant, formerly, like Innies, a Village land-mark. Now it has changed hands, been renovated with a spacious patio and  re-named Sunny Side Up.  It is  now owned and managed by a South African woman who has changed the menu; the reviews have been mixed.

Across the way by the Whistling Sea’s Cabanas, there is a Chinese restaurant called Rainbow where you can dine-in or take-out. It’s still going strong and does an active local business. Then, further down the road on the left hand side, Frog’s Point has re-merged in a new location.  It offers a Continental menu with a Belizean twist in a friendly and comfortable setting. Somewhat more expensive than straight Belize, but worth the step up  for a night out .

The times they are a changin’.  But change or not, Hopkins Village is still a place you visit to relax, going for long walks, biking the Settee River area with a picnic lunch, swimming, sunning, reading and just generally enjoying yourself. You have the chance to meet the locals and fellow travelers or, if you wish, to spend your time alone with your partner or your pal as the days melt by and you have to bid farewell to the cozy Village on the shore of the Caribbean Sea.

Caribbean Adventure #3, UPDATED FOR 2015, Placencia village continued – What to Do, Where to Eat


Apart from swimming and tanning and eating and drinking and shopping and walking around and exploring the Village,  you can sign up for scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing  or sailing. You can day-trip to Monkey River Village, a throwback to earlier times where you can tour the village, meet some of the locals, take a hike into the rain forest where you may encounter scat-throwing howler monkeys, or boat up the Monkey River for a refreshing swim once the crocs have been scared away.

We’ve snorkeled off Laughing Bird Caye, part sanctuary, part off-shore snorkeling. The boat trip to this Caye was fun and the lunch al fresco tasty, but the snorkeling was a disappointment because we had a lousy snorkel guide. You can’t do much about that except lodge a complaint when you get back to the Village. We’ve boated over to Independence, a small community on the mainland with a twin-town called Mango Creek. Many of the workers in the Village come from these twin-towns.

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We went bird-watching to observe scarlet macaws in their natural habitat. After crossing the lagoon to Independence/Mango Creek, we squeezed into a van that took us inland to Red Bank, a small Mayan village. From there we hiked for about an hour along a river bank to a clearing from which vantage point we were supposed to see the scarlet macaws but we got there too late and there wasn’t a macaw to be seen! Too bad, but all was not lost. Our guides had brought along rubber inner-tubes and we tubed back down the river with the current, meeting the challenges of three rapids. Somewhat scary at times but exhilarating at same time. It was a trip that was deposited in the memory bank.

Picnic lunch on a deserted island? Wind surfing? Crewing on a catamaran? Check out the Tour shops in the Village and take your pick.

Placencia is a dreamy little Village and your spot on the shores of the Caribbean can be dreamy, too. Sun, sand and sea…a cold beer under a thatch roof…languid conversations…watching the moon glow in a clear night sky…watching the sun rise in a golden burst inthe early morning…go ahead, make your day…in Placencia.


There are more than 40 restaurants to choose from in the Village, which is a lot considering you are at the tip of the Peninsula. Over all the years I visited Placencia Village, I ate at less than ½ of them, and I enjoy eating.

You can go online and find many of these restaurants, as I did for this post. As I reviewed them, I recognized many of the places I used to enjoy and have pulled them out for special attention.

De Tatch is in the centre of the Village, next to the Sea Spray Hotel and two doors north of the Ranguana. It is very popular with travellers and ex-pats, those from North America and Europe who have moved to Belize to live full-time. You can sit outside under thatched roofs a few yards away from the Sea and enjoy a range of foods from Belizean to Caribbean to Continental.  Mixed drinks, Belican beer and a variety of wines are available. De Tatch is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. There is is some after- hour activity but remember in the towns and villages in Belize, not much happens after 10 p.m.

The Galley is at the south-end of the Village behind the soccer field. It is family owned and has been there since our first visit, probably longer. You can eat inside or outside on a big porch. The Galley not surprisingly specializes in sea food but offers alternatives as well. The service has been consistently good and the fare delicious.

The Secret Garden is in the south end, just off the main road. It serves food and drink all day through to dinner which could be described best as Caribbean/sea-food. Dine inside or out on the patio. Nice bar. Funky interior with original works of art on the walls and comfy couches.

La Dolce Vita is in the south-end above Wallens Super Store, across from Wallens Pharmacy. Open for dinner only, reservations recommended.  Good Italian food. Nicely appointed. Good selection of wines. A bit pricey but not crazy. The kind of place you might seek out for a special occasion, like it being Wednesday, or Thursday  or any other day of the week for that matter. ‘What day is it?’ ‘Monday.’ ‘SPECIAL OCCASION!’


Tutti Frutti Desserts, south end. Got a sweet tooth? Satisfy it with a visit to Tutti Frutti, a lively take-out place with scrumptious ice cream, tempting pastries and delicious blizzards. Child friendly.

The De Barcelona Beach Tapas Bar, ‘Barcelon’ to the locals, is new to me. It is on the main road of the Village and features Mediterranean/Spanish food served in the tapas form. My friend the artist, Lita Krohn, has some of her art hanging there. Check it and them out. I sure will.

Placencia has a dream-like quality to it, a haven where you can mix and mingle with local Belizeans and travelers and tourists alike. Sun, sea and sand…a cold beer under a thatch roof…languid conversations…watching the moon glow in a clear sky and the hot sun rise in the morning. Go ahead, make your day…in Placencia.