“The Garifuna People of Hopkins”

During the 1600′s, several slave ships were wrecked off the coast of St. Vincent, an island in the southern Caribbean.  The Africans who had been aboard soon found the Island Carib Indians, who inhabited St. Vincent and several nearby islands.  In defense of their land and freedom, Africans joined with Indians and the Garinagu culture was born.

By the early 1700′s the Garinagu population began to predominate the islands.  For years, equipped with muskets and ammunitions, they successfully defended the island of St. Vincent from European encroachment. In a final eventful battle however, the Garinagu were defeated, rounded up, and deported on a hired ship called ‘Experiment’ to the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. It is from this island location, under the leadership of the now legendary Alejo Beni, that they made their way up the coast to Belize, which was called British Honduras at the time.

Between the years 1832 – 1900, the Garinagu made several settlements along the coast of Belize. Today, the Garinagu are known to be people whose main livelihoods surround the natural abundance of the sea and diverse coastal ecosystems. The Garinagu communities of Belize are primarily located in the south, in the beautiful seaside villages of Barranco, Sein Bite, Georgetown and our very own Hopkins. Dangriga Town is the largest community, and is often referred to by locals as the ‘culture capital of Belize’.

In 1941 Thomas Vincent Ramos founded Garifuna Settlement Day and began the celebration in Dangriga. By 1943 it had spread to include the southernmost district of Toledo and was declared a public and bank holiday in the south.  It was not until 1977 that the Government declared Garifuna Settlement Day a public holiday throughout the country of Belize.  Today, November 19th is celebrated by hundreds of Belizeans, in Garinagu settlements countrywide, with cultural drumming, singing and sunrise re-enactments of the boats arriving on shore. Like many other cultures in Belize, the Garinagu has maintained the integrity of their native tongue by raising the younger generations to proudly speak their language. Their language is called ‘Garifuna’.

This idyllic little village of Hopkins is quickly becoming the cultural center of the Garinagu population. The vile was created in 1942 to replace the village of Newtown, which was devastated by a hurricane further up the coast.  Hopkins consists of approximately 1’000 villagers, and is separated into two parts; the Northside (Baila) and the Southside (False Sittee). It is surrounded to the west by the majestic Maya Mountains and the lush Cockscomb Range, and to its east, by the Caribbean Sea. The people have traditionally lived from farming and fishing, but more recently have found work in the growing tourism industry. The residents are known for their friendliness and genuine hospitality, and welcome visitors to their village. Hopkins was recently voted “The Friendliest Village in Belize” by Belize First Magazine, and Destination of the Year 2010 by the Belize Tourism Board. Hopkins has a selection of gift shops, restaurants and small bars.

 

“Hamanasi Guest Book – October 2012″

Thanks to our entire guest that visit us on October 2012. We hope that you all had an amazing Hamanasi experience! Below are some of the comments from guest that visited us during the month of October. We do hope to see each and every one of you again sometime in the near future. All the best from Hamanasi staff and Management.

“We had our perfect “UNBELIZEABLE and beyond our expectations” 10th year anniversary. Thank you! Hamanasi, you were al amazing.”

Chris and Elissa Langeuegger, Austin, TX

“We’re happy that the eco friendly efforts is such a strong part of Hamanasi’s culture and that the guides stress it.”

Scott and Keri Agin, Chicago, IL

“The personal attention and hospitality of the entire staff was excellent. The food was first class. I am happy to see the commitment of the resort.”

Bobby and Paul Vargo, Lancaster, CA

“We can’t say enough about the wonderful atmosphere at Hamanasi. Please stay small! It makes it so much more welcoming. Your staff is what absolutely makes this place attractive. Very family feel here, totally pampered us. Thank you so much!”

Dorothy and Mike Ewenel, Ontario, Canada

“Everything was so wonderful! We loved every minute of our stay and are so sorry to leave. We had a wonderful and beautiful honeymoon. The staff is unbelievable! We will miss them.”

Shannon Atkins and Robert Schulenberg, Herndon, VA

“What a magical way to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. We’ll be back again for sure! Thank you Hamanasi and Hopkins for being such lovely hosts during our stay. “

Allison and Wade Sisson, Knightdale, NC

“Keep doing what you are doing. First class place!”

Collin and Jenny Steward, Harlingen, TX

“We can’t imagine better service. The staff obviously happy and proud to be here, we want to take them home with us!”

Caryn Wolf and Ford Frazier, Oakland, CA

 

 

“Back To School Project Sucess”

A BIG thank you to all our Hamanasi guests that somehow contributed towards the Back to School Project 2012, we could not have done this without you all.

From a pack of pencils, story books, crayons up to school bags, all these donations were given to the needed school children from Hopkins, Maya Center and Silk Grass which brought big smiles to their faces. 

“More and More Love For Our Furry Friends From The HBHS!”

The month of September was blessed with all the free clinics that the HBHS had for our animals from Hopkins, Dangriga, Silk Grass and Seine Bight.  They started the week with the Carroll County Vets Without Borders team of Tina Cone, Ramona Hambrick, and Anita Beeson — Belize veterans all. The idea was to have a half day clinic on Sunday, just to get back in the groove, and not be too rushed. Ha! FORTY TWO dogs showed up between 1pm – 4pm, needing surgeries (7), treatments and check ups! Thank goodness we had plenty of help! Volunteers from Saga Humane Society (Heather Beck and Kathy Marin), Humane Society International, and our regular crew managed to make some sense out of the starting gun dash out of the gate.

Next, ten of them caravanned to Seine Bight on Monday morning, to partner with the Placencia Humane Society for a two day clinic. PHS had secured the brand new Seine Bight community center, and they were blessed with plenty of space! Over two days, Dr. Tina Cone and Dr. Orlando Baptist treated almost 100 animals. The collaboration between HBHS, PHS, Saga Humane, Humane Society International, Dr. Baptist and the Carroll County Vets Without Borders was magical.   They returned to Hopkins for another busy half day clinic on Wednesday, seeing 33 animals, 12 of which were surgeries. Then on to Dangriga on Thursday, where they partnered with Dangriga Pet Care to treat EIGHTY FOUR animals between 8am and 4pm. They were working Dr. Cone all full capacity, when Dr. Kathy Kvam, arriving for her clinics the next week, stopped by having just arrived at the Dangrgiga airport… and jumped right into surgery. They were grateful she was such a trooper.  Dr. Cone, having well earned a rest, then passed the baton to Dr. Kvam.  Dr. Kvam and her team of Kerry O’Donoghue, Karin Mixon, Kevin Guyer and Tom McNeely then hosted 3.5 days of clinic in Hopkins, treating 98 animals, 50 spays and neuters and 4 other surgeries.  IN TOTAL…  Dr. Tina, Ramona, Anita and Dr. Kvam, Kerry, Karin, Kevin and Tom treated 376 animals, did 88 spays and neuters, and 10 other surgeries, including broken legs, tumor removal, exploratory surgeries and various wounds.

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ September 2012″

Below is a selection of comments from guests at Hamanasi this September. From the Hamanasi staff to all of our guests this past month, Thank you for coming. We hope you had a great time, and we can’t wait to have you back!

“I have travelled many places in my life and this is by far one of the most fabulous boutique resorts I have stayed at.”

Maureen Evaskevich, Alberta, Canada

“Our stay has been absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for all your eco friendly efforts.”

Marsha McArthur, Parker, CO

“Don’t grow too much and too fast to lose that venture one on one service attitude, that personal by name friendship your staff builds is perfect. We’ve spend many vacations in the tropics over the years and I wish we’d have found Hamanasi sooner.”

David & Pam Metzger, Amherst, OH

“What a welcome change to stay with a family who cares so much about leaving as little negative impact as possible.”

Jana & William Sprayberry, Boerne, TX

“Continue doing what you do. You’ve got it down right!”

William Roell and Family, Waynesville, MO

 

 

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ August 2012″

“Hamanasi has 3 things that set it apart. Best staff/great atmosphere/best variety of trips.”

Jon and Renee Gregory, Oxon Hill, MD

“Love the natural atmosphere and that you keep as much nature as possible.”

Tricia Wynne, Bronx, NY

“I have fallen in love with Hamanasi with all the wonderful staff. I want to be more eco-friendly because of Hamanasi!”

Samuel and Praisy Matthew, New York, NY

“You and your staff are superb ambassadors for Hamanasi and Belize. The staff is so proud of Hamanasi, of Hopkins and of Belize. We will miss you all.”

Scott Valentine and Family, Des Moris, Iowa

“The eco-friendly efforts were very noticeable and added a nice touch to the experience.”

Jessica Patton and Andrew Overton, Long Island City, NY

“Thanks for making our honeymoon an unforgettable experience!

Jessica and Kai Nielson, Vancouver, Canada

“Stay simple and relaxing! You have a very good operation going.”

Jamie Trout, Herndon, VA

“Everyone was amazing – nice – again above and beyond. Keep it the same, very personal. Keep the resort small and intimate. It’s excellent and we can fell everyone is passionate about great service. “

Charles Ablores and Family, Spring, TX

“Keep doing what you do – getting to know your guests even though your stay is short is a wonderful personal touch.”

Mike and Colleen Way, Calgary, Canada

“How to improve perfection? No suggestions, it was perfect!”

James and Becky Carter, Odessa, TX

“Keep doing what you are doing. Your people are your greatest assets.”

Caitlin Burns and Family, Angola, IN

“This place is A+++. I loved feeling part of the Hamanasi family. Every detail was thought of. Thank you for an amazing vacation.”

Stacey and Rob Bladen, Herriman , UT

“Hamanasi has 3 things that set it apart. Best staff/great atmosphere/best variety of trips.”

Jon and Renee Gregory, Oxon Hill, MD

 

“Introduction of Mr. Juan Pedro Tun To The Hamanasi Family”

Hamanasi Green Team In emphasizing our commitment to Eco Tourism, Hamanasi continues to implement environmentally friendly practices. Such practices range from the conservation of water and energy, finding natural cleaning solutions that are cost efficient and protecting our natural surroundings without compromising quality service and accommodations. In addition to these efforts, we are committed in raising awareness by properly educating our staff and our guests about what it means to be ecofriendly. In so doing we have gone as far as hiring qualified personnel to provide such education. In this months’ issue of our newsletter we are featuring  Mr. Juan Pedro Tun, an organic farmer and educator. Mr. Tun is originally from the village of Santa Familia in the Cayo District, located in the western part of Belize. Due to his qualifications and expertise he has been hired as a consultant in the development of our Greenhouse efforts and environmental sustainability projects. Mr. Tun is of Yucatan Mayan, Hispanic and Creole Descent. Before 1998 during the years of his young adulthood Mr. Juan Pedro Tun left his native Belize to adventure and travel throughout South and Central America and reached as far as North America , during which time he sustained himself and afford his travels by working many odd jobs in each place he settled. Juan Pedro inherited his father’s farm land and livestock after his father passed away.  Throughout the years that followed he started experimenting ways he could reduce the use of chemicals and to eventually produce completely organic fruits and vegetables.  We are very enthusiastic about this new addition to our Hamanasi Family! Mr. Tun is an asset to our country and to this company that with his knowledge and background together we will be able to accomplish much more.

“Hopkin’s Day 2012″

This weekend in Hopkins is a festive and fun place to be. The intense beating of drums followed by singing and dancing will welcome you as you enter the sleepy fishing village of Hopkins. It makes the 71st year of the arrival of the Garifuna to Hopkins, and Hopkins Day has been celebrated since 1990. It is a festival that grows every year. and aside from the villages more and more Belizean people from other parts of the country are coming to be a part of this cultural festival.

There will be lots of fun games and drumming entertainment with a variety of cultural and Belizean food for everyone during the day. Saturday night will come alive with the Punta fest where many bands from around the country will be participating.

Join us and let’s all celebrate in one of Belize growing tourist destination.

 

 

 

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ June 2012″

“We loved everything and we are going home relaxed with many memories!”

Jeannette Bustos and Gerome Segarra, Daly City, CA

“Hamanasi is not inexpensive but the value we received for our dollar was more than fair and i don’t begrudge a single cent we spent. You are more than a first class organization and all of you should be very proud of your product.”

Bob Amick and Family, Simpsonville, SC

“Keep doing what y’all are doing. I’ve never stayed at a hotel with friendlier or more hospitable employees.”

Juliet and Brandy Pierce, Colorado Springs, CO

“Everything was perfect! We had a dream wedding and my father-in-law said it was the best wedding he has ever been to!”

Sandy and Scott Fischer, Chicago, IL

“We thoroughly enjoyed all services and greatly appreciated the hospitality. Thank you Hamanasi staff!”

Daniel and Jamie Schaetz, Austin, TX

“My expectations were high to begin with given all the amazing reviews. Exceeding those expectations was truly a wonderful experience.”

Aaron Duncan, Pittsburg, TX

“Everything was excellent, so much attention to detail.”

Darcy and Brian Walsh, McLean, VA

“Hamanasi is a tropical paradise where everyone knows your name.”

Ed and Sue, Cary, NC

“Everything really was amazing even down to the smallest details. We will be back!”

Kristin and Ruth Phillips, Belmar, NJ

“Each staff member went above and beyond. Excellent staff and we love them all. Keep it the way it is – keep it small and do not expand to large. Do not want to lose the personal touch.”

Anita Roy and Harold Jenkins, Bronx, NY

“You are all beyond perfection!”

Lynne Patin and Irene Payne, Reno, NV

 

 

 

 

“Hamanasi Guest Book – May 2012″

“Every staff member we met made us feel welcome and cared for. Thank you for caring about our planet.”

Kevin and Lucy Norwood, Rawlins, WY

“Continue doing what you’re doing because you are getting it right. This is our favorite destination and coming here feels like coming home. you are to be commended for your work in promoting and implementing sound eco-tourism. Hamanasi should be held up as a model to other resorts on how to get it right.”

Hector and Pam Gomez, New Orleans, LA

“Do not ever change. This is the best vacation I have ever had!”

Ronda Mears, Rochester, WA

“Keep the resort small and intimate.”

Kim & Dave Corbin-Lewis, Moab, UT

“Your Eco friendly effort is what brought us here and what you do is very impressive. We are happy you contribute to the community.”

Dorothy Giersch and Family, Ridgefield, CT

“Service was absolutely perfect! Wonderful honeymoon destination.”

Jena & Alston Rush, Edmond, OK

“Service is impeccable – top notch!”

Susanna & Colin Moriarty, Athens, GA

“Everything was wonderful. I was really impressed by the green house and the efforts to keep a low impact.”

“Excellent room and tremendous service! We will definitely stay here again.”

Mark Meese and family, Jenks, OK

David Yablick and Hannah Carmack, Fairdealing, MO

“All I can say is thank you and all was fabulous + brilliant. Lots of love and see you soon!”

Bhavni Bhakoo, Winnepeg, Canada