Hopkins or Placencia – Which Belize Destination is Right for You?

Author Carina Klein
Carina
· 10 min read · 0 comments

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TL;DR

In this blogpost, we answer the question: What is the nicest area to stay in Belize – Placencia or Hopkins?

We visited Hopkins and Placencia to compile a comprehensive travel guide answering the following questions:

  • Is it worth going to Placencia and Hopkins?
  • Should I Stay in Placencia or Hopkins?
  • What to do in Placencia and Hopkins?
  • What are the best tours in Placencia and Hopkins?
  • Are Hopkins and Placencia safe?
  • How amazing are Placencia Beach and Hopkins Beach?
  • How to Get to Placencia and Hopkins?

What is the Most Beautiful Part of Belize?

Placencia and Hopkins are the two most popular beach destinations on mainland Belize. They are located in southern Belize and significantly less crowded than the popular islands Caye Caulker and San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in northern Belize.

Additionally, they have the undisputed advantage of being connected to the attractions of mainland Belize via road making tours to caves, waterfalls, and Mayan ruins much easier.

Where is the Prettiest Beach in Belize

Nevertheless, you will be treated to amazing beaches. Placencia and Hopkins frequently make it to the top of the list of the best beaches in Belize. Additionally, you have access to a more untouched part of the Belize Barrier Reef and some unspoiled Cayes off the coast.

In contrast, the popular Caye Caulker is a bit of a shabby beach destination, to be honest.

Map of Placencia and Hopkins

Placencia vs. Hopkins Belize – What is the Coolest Area in Belize?

Is Hopkins Belize Worth Visiting?

Is Placencia Belize Worth Visiting?

Yes! Yes!

What is Hopkins Belize Known for?

What is Placencia Belize Known for?

Hopkins is best known for its Garifuna culture. Placencia is world-renowned for offshore fishing, diving, and snorkelling

Where is Hopkins?

Where is Placencia?

Hopkins is on the South Central Coast of Belize.
2 hour 40 minutes drive from Belize City.
Placencia is on the South Central Coast of Belize.
2 hour drive from Belize City.
On a peninsula = further away from mainland excursions.

Airport in Hopkins Belize

Airport in Placencia Belize

The closest airport to Hopkins is in Dangriga.
Flights Belize City to Dangriga.
Placencia has a domestic airport.
Flights Belize City to Placencia.

Getting to Hopkins

Getting to Placencia

Shuttle to Hopkins:
  • International Airport to Hopkins
  • Placencia to Hopkins
Public transport to Hopkins:
Southern bus line
  • Belize City to Hopkins
  • Belmopan to Hopkins
  • Dangriga to Hopkins
  • Placencia to Hopkins
To get to Hopkins, tell the driver that you want to get off at the Hopkins section. Here, (shared) taxis are waiting to take the travellers the 7 km (4.5 mi) into town.
Shuttle to Placencia:
  • International Airport to Placenia
  • Hopkins to Placencia
Public transport to Placencia:
Southern bus line
  • Belize City to Placencia
  • Belmopan to Placencia
  • Punta Gorda to Placencia
  • Hopkins to Placencia

Does Hopkins Belize Have Nice Beaches?

Does Placencia Belize Have Nice Beaches?

Yes – there is less sea grass here than in other parts of the country. The peninsula is bordered by 18 miles of beachfront.
Bigger beach than Hopkins.

Can you Swim in the Ocean in Hopkins Belize

Is it Safe to Swim in Placencia Belize

Yes. Yes.

Things to do in Hopkins

Things to do in Placencia

Hopkins Day Trip

Placencia Day Trip

Snorkeling Hopkins Belize

Snorkeling Placencia Belize

The best snorkelling can be done at the barrier reef off the coast of Hopkins: The best snorkelling can be done at the Cayes off the coast of Placencia:

Diving Hopkins Belize

Diving Placencia Belize

To our best knowledge, there is currently no dive shop in Hopkins. At least we couldn’t find any… There are plenty of dive shops in Placencia. Captain Jaks is one of the best-rated:

Free Things to Do in Hopkins Belize

Free Things to Do in Placencia Belize

  • Garifuna drumming at Driftwood Beach Bar & Pizza Shack.
  • Relax on the beach.
  • Stroll Placencia Sidewalk.
  • Relax on the beach.
  • Lola's Art Gallery.
  • Art'n'Soul Gallery.

Mayan Ruins near Hopkins Belize

Mayan Ruins near Placencia Belize

Some of the closer but smaller Mayan ruins are:
  • Nim Li Punit
  • Lubaantun
The most popular day trip goes to Xunantunich.
Some of the closer but smaller Mayan ruins are:
  • Nim Li Punit
  • Lubaantun
The most popular day trip goes to Xunantunich.

Is Hopkins Belize Expensive?

Is Placencia Belize Expensive?

It’s about the same price range as in the rest of Belize so not cheap.
Our average budget: 55$ per day.
It’s about the same price range as in the rest of Belize so not cheap.
Our average budget: 55$ per day.

Where to Stay in Hopkins

Where to Stay in Placencia

Most accommodations in Hopkins are to the right of the road leading to Hopkins along South Road. If you want to walk around and have restaurant options to choose from, it makes sense to stay close to the tip of the peninsula in the south i.e. close to Placencia Sidewalk.
Most resorts are in the north of the Peninsula.

Resorts in Hopkins

Resorts in Placencia

Most budget-friendly: Hopkins Bay Belize a Muy'Ono Resort
Private beach: Almond Beach Resort at Jaguar Reef
Private pool villas: The Lodge at Jaguar Reef
Best location: Ocean Breeze
Best value for money: Umaya Resort & Adventures
Private pool villa: Naïa Resort and Spa

Hotels in Hopkins Belize

Hotels in Placencia Belize

We stayed here and LOVED it: Latitude 17 Super cute huts: Placencia Villas
Sea view: Sea View Suites
Most budget-friendly: Alan's Paradise Hotel

Hostels in Hopkins Belize

Hostels in Placencia Belize

Our sister (in law) stayed here and liked it: The Funky Dodo Backpackers Hostel Brand New: Silver Sand

Is it Safe to Walk Around Hopkins Belize

Is it Safe to Walk Around Placencia Belize

In general, Hopkins is a safe destination and we always felt safe. Avoid walking around at night as not much is going on this time of day. In general, Placencia is a safe destination and we always felt safe.

Where to Eat in Hopkins

Where to Eat in Placencia

We liked:
  • Queen Bean.
  • Hopkins Smokey Grill.
  • Ella's Cool Spot.
  • Tugusina Garifuna.
  • Peer's Place.
We found the best Placencia restaurants around the soccer field:
  • Dawn's Grill.
  • Rumfish y Vino.
  • Tuttifrutti Gelateria.
Also nice are:
  • Hobbs Brew Barge.
  • Placencia Beach Club.

Nightlife in Hopkins Belize

Nightlife in Placencia Belize

There’s not really nightlife in Hopkins.
Your best bet is Driftwood Beach Bar & Pizza Shack.
There are also some low-key bars.
We liked Windschief Beach Bar And Minigolf.
Not buzzing but better than in Hopkins.
Check out the “Tipsy Strip”:
Live music at Tipsy Tuna Sports Bar is nice (we suggest not eating here…).
Parties at Barefoot Beach Bar.

Whats Great About Hopkins

Whats Great About Placencia

  • It’s off the beaten path.
  • It’s laid back.
  • “The friendliest village in Belize”.
  • Working fishing village.
  • Tourist amenities like resorts and beach bars.
  • Water sports!

Who should pick Hopkins in Belize?

Who should pick Placenia in Belize?

  • Backpackers.
  • Adventure seekers.
  • If you want to go on a lot of excursions.
  • Beach lovers.
  • Scuba Divers.
  • Travellers who enjoy the comfort of a resort.
  • Party people.
  • Beach lovers.
Picture of Hopkins Picture of Placencia

Hopkins or Placencia Belize – Our Personal Opinion

We personally would choose Hopkins. We loved the laid-back vibe, our accommodation at Latitude 17, and the Garifuna food and drumming.

For us, Hopkins Beach was the nicest we encountered on our Belize trip. It was clean, empty, and well-shaded.

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