When anthropologists reach a stage in their studies where reading books about the society that fascinates them is no longer a sufficient way to understand the people, intrepid students embark on their “field work.” They leave school to live among the people they’re studying. This immersion is no easy road to enlightenment. It takes time to earn people’s trust, but many students become profoundly impacted by what they learn during this life-changing experience.
As a recreational traveler, you probably don’t have the time it takes to develop a full understanding of societies that intrigue you, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the experience of getting deeply into the souls of a society when traveling abroad. Example: frequent Belize visitors recognize an epicenter of culture that not only welcomes visitors but they’re delighted to share all aspects of their heritage: The Garifuna people of Hopkins, Belize.
You’ll want to know more, too!
The history and heritage of the Garifuna people are fascinating. The town of Hopkins was established in the 1800s by immigrants brought to the Western Hemisphere from Uganda where they established a fishing, farming, and bartering lifestyle. Rituals and practices ingrained in residents included a passion for nature, and perpetuation of old country religious and cultural practices—until outsiders sought to “convert” the Garifuna.
Land disputes and prejudice became so serious over time, these people had to fight for their survival, but tenacity and pride prevailed and everything about this culture blossomed. Art. Music. Food. Dance. The integrity of this society remains strong and constant. It’s evident the moment visitors arrive.
Get to know this amazing culture yourself
Has this brief history convinced you that there’s more to Belize than world-class beaches and aquatic sporting opportunities? If you’re nodding your head, vacationing in Hopkins should top your travel wish list. The key to immersion is staying in the middle of the action and you won’t find a more idyllic property than Belizean Dreams Resort where you don’t have to deny yourself time snorkeling, diving, swimming, fishing, and sailing to become enmeshed in Garifuna society.
These Hopkins Village stops will maximize your immersion:
- Take drumming classes at the Lebeha Drumming Center at the north end of town
- Browse South Road shops to admire (and acquire!) hand-crafted paintings, jewelry, drums, souvenirs, and more
- Taste of fullness of Garifuna culinary magic at eateries like Tina’s Kitchen
- Fall in love with the people you meet. You won’t be able to help yourself!
Having said yes to a Belize all-inclusive package, you’ll have more time to focus on Hopkins, because everything about your sojourn—lodgings, meals, transport to and from the resort, and more—is taken care of.
What can you expect from total immersion in Hopkins where everything you encounter will make you want to know more? A new way of looking at Belize. A fascination with all things Garifuna. Respect for people whose unique identity defied compromise. And you only had to sit on an airplane for a few hours to discover this amazing society!