Hitching to Hopkins

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In Belize, hitch-hiking is sort of standard fare. Buses simply don’t run everywhere, and even the most well traveled roads don’t always have regular service. When we wanted to get from Dangriga to the little beach town of Hopkins, we were told that a bus could only take us to the main junction. Hopkins’ buses run very irregularly, and so at the junction our best bet was to hitchhike.

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Our ride ended being in the back of a pickup truck. We squeezed in with one other backpacker, in between a coil of industrial rope and a spare tire. The bumpy, dusty road to Hopkins was uneventful, with the one caveat being that I was hitchhiking– something I have only come to do since being in Belize. The idea of hitchhiking always used to scare me– I watched one too many episodes of Unsolved Mysteries with my grandparents growing up. But we were delivered to Hopkins without drama– safely and efficiently.

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Hopkins, a beach community south of Dangriga, is a tiny, tiny little town with a slowly emerging tourist industry. Most roads are unpaved, there are no traffic lights, and most houses and guest rooms are wood framed buildings constructed in the simplest of ways. It’s a bit like going back in time, if it weren’t for the bizarre presence of really nice SUVs.

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People come to Hopkins, it seems, as an alternative to the more touristy town of Placencia to the south. The beaches here are supposedly quieter, and just as sublime. Unfortunately, when we were visiting there was a lot of debris swept up on the shoreline. We could see blue water in the distance, but the color of the sea where it met the sand did not make for an attractive option for swimming.

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Hopkins has a big population of people who have come to set up businesses in preparation for the upcoming tourist boom. There seems to be a concentration of new businesses under construction, a lot of foreign presence, and a focus on building. We heard that the main road into Hopkins is slated to be sealed over the coming few years, and this will certainly change the town dramatically. For now, Hopkins is very much in transition– we hope that the anticipated future boom doesn’t destroy too much of this tiny little Caribbean homestead.

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