When you visit Hopkins, Belize, you may wonder what in the heck there is to do there, being such a small village and all. However, we found that there is more than enough to keep you busy for a week’s stay.
At our hotel, the front desk had tour sheets that guests could pick and choose activities from, and then sign up on the day that best met their needs. Nige has been dying to go zip lining, and I haven’t seen a single waterfall since moving to Belize, so we choose our tours accordingly. Other tours were snorkeling in the Barrier Reef, visiting the Mayan Ruins in Cayo (the last place we wanted to drive back to, so obviously not a tour we would have chosen), or you could go next door and go scuba diving with the Hopkins Divers located at Hamanasi Resort. There were also bird tours or a Sittee River tour that looked fun (maybe next time).
So last Thursday, at 8:00 a.m., the hotel’s tour guide, Cippy, picked us and two other couples up, and we headed to the Mayflower Bocawina National Park, which is only a 20 minute ride from the hotel (my kind of tour – I can’t stand sitting in a car for an hour before my adventure even begins). One couple had already done the waterfall hike we were about to undertake the day before and warned us that it was rough. They told us we were crazy for considering going zip lining afterwards, since we’d be exhausted. “We’ll see,” I told them.
Turns out, the hike was one of the most strenuous things I have EVER done in my life. Basically, you ascend 1400 feet, up hills and rocks (sometimes wet and slippery from the waterfall splash), for close to an hour. At certain points, the ascent is so dangerous, they have ropes you can use to hoist yourself up. Unfortunately for me (as well as Nige and the guide), my fear of heights kicked in at one point, and I was completely immobilized and couldn’t move. I was convinced I was going to plunge to my death, and I couldn’t even imagine getting back down.
Finally, after some very supportive talk from both my boyfriend and the guide, I managed to continue the last 15 minutes or so, and boy was I rewarded. Antelope Waterfall is absolutely amazing, and the pond at the top that you can swim in was so cool and refreshing, I didn’t want to get out. The setting is really stunning, with ferns, moss, trees, and gorgeous blue butterflies flitting about. We were very upset when we realized our camera battery had died, and we couldn’t get any pictures of that spot (because I will never be hiking up there again).
After a nice half-hour break and some delicious cookies for a much needed glucose injection, we went back down (that was much easier than I thought). About that time it was noon, and Mamanoots (run by a nice lady named Liz, who also has casitas for rent), asked us if we wanted lunch before our zip lining adventure began. At this point, I wasn’t so tired as much as my legs were wobbly and muscles sore, but I was afraid if I ate, I would get too tired and not want to continue. I also was a little fearful of vomiting in the middle of a zip (wouldn’t that be lovely). So we declined lunch and went straight on.
Now this is the fourth time in my life I have zip lined (Costa Rica, Mexico and St. Lucia were the other times), so it was pretty easy except for a few landings where we had to climb up about 200 stairs to get to the next platform. However, as I said, it was Nige’s first time, and I just wish you could have seen his face. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile so big – he was a complete natural (because there is some technique to zip lining, especially the braking part), and I know we will do this again together one day.
After we finished, we had a wonderful lunch that Liz prepared, and then it was back to the hotel for more pool time and some much needed r & r. Tomorrow I will write about our day just hanging out around town and absorbing some of the Garifuna culture!