Belize City may be the old capital of Belize, but it’s little more than a way station for most visitors. And while the wild wonderland of the Cayo District and the tropical bliss of Ambergris Caye give a siren call to countless visitors, the small town of Hopkins has an appeal all its own.
Despite having gained some popularity among tourists, this town along the southern coast retains the vibe of an idyllic fishing village. The feeling of culture and authenticity still reverberates through this town, and it provides visitors with access to so much of what Belize has to offer — from the open sea to the expansive inland jungles.
But chances are that you aren’t going to want a car when you get there. Things tend to move slower in Hopkins, and you can get around town more easily on foot, bicycle, or golf cart than you could with a car. And Hopkins isn’t such a sleepy village that it doesn’t have its own tour agencies. It’s never difficult to book a tour to attractions like Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Refuge or the Monkey River without having to step behind the wheel of a car.
The one unfortunate snag is that Hopkins is on Belize’s south coast — approximately a three-hour drive from Belize City. That means you need a shuttle service that you can trust to safely navigate the roads but also one that you can trust to keep you comfortable during the long — albeit scenic — road. Uncharted Jewel Belize offers exactly that. Founded by Belize native Ian Avilez, Uncharted Jewel’s drivers know the country’s roads like the back of their hands — and they can even help you set up your own tours and excursions once you’re delivered safely to Hopkins.
The flat rates offered per transfer are just one indication of the refreshingly straightforward approach that Uncharted Jewel takes towards their customers. These drivers will be the first introduction to Belize for many visitors, and they take that role as informal ambassadors seriously. The secret to their success is simple. The drivers are passionate about what they do and eager to share the beauty of Belize with new people.
You can count on the ride to be comfortable and scenic, but you might find yourself most satisfied with the conversation along the way. After all, an advantage of hiring locals is that you get to learn all about the best spots.