Living and working in Hopkins Village, Stann Creek District

Since arriving in Hopkins two weeks ago, I have living, working and experiencing life alongside my fellow VIU graduate students outside of the resorts that line the edges of the community. This sandy destination has a lush and vibrant natural element that percolates throughout the town, displaying a brilliant bouquet of plant life. It is these remaining elements that provide a haven for a wide variety of bird species, and are characteristic of the village’s aesthetic.

One of the first things I noticed when we arrived here is that all the maps and photographs I reviewed from websites and databases have not done this place justice. Hopkins is a unique and stunning Belizean coastal community. The older structures rest on pier foundations slightly elevating them above the sand. The newer structures lift a full story above the streetscape before displaying the main entry of the built-form. The sand that all these forms rise from is the material also used in roads, home landscaping, and serves as flooring for a commercial venue. The sand in Hopkins establishes the connection between its structures and spaces, which its residents and visitors use to congregate.

As I venture out to make observations, or to buy groceries and bank, I have discovered that the “main road”, which is the partially paved section of Hopkins – is the main setting for assembly.  The “main road” links this linear shoreline settlement with store fronts, restaurants, bars, and the odd entrance to a small integrated “resort” – which are houses or apartments that one can rent on a daily basis.

I have found that while these integrative resorts are common for the time being, there appears to be a growing number of isolated developments in and around the Hopkins area. My current observations indicate that these resorts reside mostly on the most northern edge of the village. However, I still have yet to explore the entire community more thoroughly.

In fact, I have already discovered an eco-friendly isolated resort town, which is roughly the size of Hopkins, under construction – located about 6 kilometers to the south of the community. The development is called Sanctuary Belize (http://www.sanctuarybelize.com), which advertises a 14,000 acre coastal development. While this community is far enough away to be separate from Hopkins, it is close enough to potentially impact the residents.

I look forward to compiling a more in-depth analysis of the community and its surrounding area. So far our life here has been blessed with fantastic people in an amazing location.

Darren Lucas, Community Planning, VIU