Hopkins is a Garifuna village on the coast of the Stann Creek District in Belize. Hopkins is considered by some Belizeans to be the cultural center of the Garifuna population in Belize. The Village hosts its own national holiday, Hopkins Day, and welcomes people for their celebration on Garifuna Settlement Day as well, they do this with drum ceremonies that can last till early hours in the morning.
The village is separated into two parts; the Northside (Baila) and the Southside (False Sittee). Hopkins is surrounded by the Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb Range inland, and the Caribbean Sea on its shore. The village was created in 1942 to replace the village of Newtown, which was devastated by a hurricane further up the coast.
Today Hopkins is a small but vibrant community of approximately 3,000 villagers. The people live mostly by farming and fishing, and more recently many have found work in the growing tourism industry. The residents are known for their friendliness and genuine hospitality, and welcome visitors to their village. Hopkins has a selection of gift shops, restaurants and small bars. Hopkins was recently voted "The Friendliest Village in Belize" by Belize First Magazine.
Garifuna Culture, the Intangible Heritage...
During the 1600's, several slave ships wrecked off the coast of St. Vincent, an island in the southern Caribbean. The Africans who had been on board soon found the Island Carib Indians, who inhabited St. Vincent and several nearby islands. In defense of their land and freedom, Africans joined with Indians and the Garifuna culture was born.
The Island Carib Indians were descendants of the several waves of migration into the Caribbean by seafaring people from the Orinoco River area of South America. The earlier migrants were maniac farmers, whose ancient and specialized techniques of food preparation are retained to this day among the Garifuna, as well as among their distant relatives in the tropical rainforests of South America.
In 1823, the Garifuna in Honduras sided with the Royalist cause in an abortive attempt to overthrow the government in Honduras and to avoid escape of persecution many fled to British Honduras (Belize) under the leadership of Alejo Beni where they founded Dangriga.
In 1837, soldiers killed Garinagu in Honduras. A number of them fled to British Honduras (Belize) where they founded the village of Yonton, from whom the present inhabitants of Hopkins originated.
Between 1832 to1900, the Garinagu in Belize consolidated their settlements and spread from Dangriga to Seine Bight, Monkey River, Punta Negra, Barranco, Livingston, Hopkins and Georgetown.
We offer our guests an opportunity to go back in time and come live in a different world for a while. We welcome you to learn the ways of the Garifuna. You'll go on fishing trips, then prepare your catch along with other delightful Garinagu foods with the help of your family hosts. You'll interact with the community in Hopkins and Dangriga visiting schools, local Garifuna Artisans and Landmarks including the Gulisi Museum. In the evening, we'll teach you our traditional dancing and playing of drums.
Garifuna Drums, Artifacts & Cultural Apparel are available. Please contact us for ordering and shipping details.