Belize Expat Forum

Hopkins

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shassett
3/12/2017 21:14 EST

Hello,

My family and I are considering taking a job in Belize, Hopkins. Can anyone tell me anything about Hopkins? Is it safe? I have been reading, and researching a ton, and I'm finding a lot about crime in belize, and that it's very bad. But is that just certain areas? Or is hopkins one of the areas. I understand there is crime everywhere, can't really escape that, but I'm just trying to get some opinions. Also, has anyone moved there with younger kids? How did it work? How did you like it? We understand it's not America or Canada, and that's totally fine. We are just trying to get some ideas on the country, the areas, people etc. I shouldn't research on the internet as all I can find is why NOT to go, but then so many on this forum say such wonderful things about Belize. Just looking for some helpful advice. Please let me know if you can offer some advice. Thank you. I appreciate it very much.

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destiny56
3/13/2017 13:53 EST

Well, personally, I know I would never rely on Canadian, and American people for their opinions. As a Canadian myself, I can tell you my experience with the majority of Canadians, and Americans had been very bad. They tend to be very bias, narrow minded, ignorant, and racists. People who have these kind of attitudes will never be happy anywhere therefore, they would always be miserable, and try to make others miserable as well. Their main goal when they move or go somewhere, is to have the same mentality than back home, big box stores such as Wall mart, KFC, Home Depot...they forget that they moved to a third world country, and these countries are a place where to be lay back, down to earth, and cool. The majority of people in North America are type A they cannot live in a lay back country without been miserable, they need to stay in North America, The third world countries are not made for people who was born with privilege such as been white, having every thing they wanted, been spoiled as a child etc. The majority of the people in the third world countries have nothing, yet they are more happy than the majority of people in North America. They are genuine, friendlier, reliable, and they have a sense of community which doesn't exist in North America. In general, people who come from North America take every thing for granted, they don't see beauty in anything...instead they tend to constantly complaining, criticizing the countries who welcomed them with open arms, I am a Black woman, who was born in Canada, even in the 21st century, white people in Canada still considering all Black people are refugees, stupid, and criminals seriously, they still have that bias, racist mentality if you are not white then you are inferior, and not good enough, they forget one thing no one forced them to move to these places. As a woman who lives in Ottawa, ON, Canada I don't go out at night because I don't feel safe, Ottawa is the capital of the country yet it's so unsafe specially for women,

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toddwinston
3/13/2017 14:43 EST

Wow. That is a very sad comment.

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JohnPBelize
3/13/2017 17:48 EST

Well I live here in the Hopkins area for four months every winter. I love it here and feel very safe. American that has a good opinion of Belize!

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waljoa
3/13/2017 19:24 EST

Sure seems you need a new circle of friends, as a fellow Canadian I feel offended but do understand that it does happen. People are people to be taken as individuals , race and colour are only variations.

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Ozzy
3/13/2017 20:18 EST

@shasset
We came to Hopkins for a 2 week SCUBA and snorkeling vacation 2 years ago to check it out because of the proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.
2 years later we have our house almost finished and planning on coming there twice a year for vacation. When time comes, we will probably retire there.
I have never felt unsafe in Hopkins, even after dark.
You have to keep in mind that Hopkins is essentially 3 different areas.
First is the village itself where the locals leave. It has several small resorts and houses / cabanas for rent as well as “supermarkets” and small bars / restaurants. There is a school and you will see a lot of children in uniforms before and after school loitering around. Some of them are of very young age and unsupervised – nobody is worrying about them being abused. They do feel safe. I think on the contrary, Chinese store owners are more concerned about 6 years olds walking out of the supermarket with unpaid coke can or a candy bar.
Second area is the resort area where several decent size resorts are located (south and north, like Hamanasi and Jaguar Reef) along with more upscale restaurants. All the resorts welcome people to have breakfast, lunch or dinner even if you are not staying at the resort. The meals are pricy though, but good.
The third area, further south, is a development area where mainly foreigners / expats live (there are several parts to this area as well). We have met Americans, Canadians, Germans, South Africans, and Russians. Everyone we met were very nice people and are trying to live relaxed life style. I have not met anybody who I would consider being racist, narrow minded or ignorant. People usually come here with a particular goal: having relaxed life style and enjoy the nature.
Regarding crime. This is 99% crime of opportunity – break ins (I leave 1% to something I have not heard of). If a house is standing uninhabited for quite some time – they will try to break in and steal electronics, booze or whatever is easy to sell. I do not know if the thieves are local or coming from Belize City. Also, if you leave your house unattended for extended periods of time, you do not have bars on your windows, no security alarm and no care taker – this is an inviting proposition for petty thieves (even in the US or Canada).
Now, regarding racism, bias and narrow mindedness. I was born in Russia, lived for several years in Scandinavia, immigrated to Canada and got a Canadian citizenship. Later in Canada I met my wife who had her parents living in the US, we moved to the US, and I am now an American citizen as well. Granted I am white, I have experienced racism stupidity only once in the US when one dumb a## told me that he hates immigrants. In my more than 20 years in North America I have not seen any serious racism towards me. There are dumb people but most of the people I met are not that bad as destiny56 describes. Again, she is black, and she probably has deeper experience in seeing racism.
Hopkins does not have big supermarkets. There are small (by American standards) stores owned by Chinese and they have pretty much all you need to live. Quality sometimes is questionable – pretty much everything is made in china. Again, it is a Caribbean country and you have to adjust your expectations. If you want to have all the conveniences of the US – stay in US and buy a property in Florida. The downside it a crap load of property taxes and insurances. Also, try to find a parcel of land 60 ft. from the Caribbean Sea for 100K in Florida with property taxes about $10 US per year.
Nevertheless, I like Hopkins and cannot wait to go there in April to inspect my new house.

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5allan1
3/14/2017 06:09 EST

I have heard these tired arguements before about property taxes and if you want conveniences etc stay in the USA or Canada.
As for the former taxes pay for everything from fire service to road maintenance to sewage treatment etc. All of this and more suffers in Belize. As for the latter, Mexico, Panama or lately Nicaragua offer North America amenities and commodities at a fraction of the cost. Not to mention faster and cheaper and more reliable internet and power.

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Belizeboy
3/14/2017 07:51 EST

We have been coming to Belize for six years now, usually 2-3 times a year, a month at a time. We moved here full time this year.
I highly suggest if you are serious, and especially if looking to move with children, that you at least come down and stay in a rental in Hopkins before moving the family all the way here.
Stay for at least 2-3 weeks (or more), don't stay in a "resort",with false security feeling but in rental house/cabana and live the real life.
If its for you and your family, you will probably know right away.
The fact is, nobody else can tell you if Hopkins, or anywhere else in Belize is for you. You need to experience it in person.
And yes, we spent time in Hopkins, Ambergris and Placencia before making our decision.
Good luck

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LorraineWard12
3/14/2017 09:10 EST

We are spending 12 days in CC and have day trip to AC. We have rented a car for a day to explore the mainland and are trying to decide if we're going to go North to Corozal or South to Hopkins if we had to choose one which would you recommend ? The intention of our trip is to see if belize is our choice for retirement. Our hope is to come in October and rent somewhere for 3 months or more. From our extensive research Caye Caulker is our first choice.

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5allan1
3/15/2017 06:58 EST

I would choose Corozal because of its proximity to Mexico and availability of first class medical care and NA style commodities/amenities.
Belize is very expensive and the cayes more so..
http://www.sanpedroscoop.com/2011/09/how-much-does-it-really-cost-to-live-in-belize.html
So Mexico offers some relief.
Notice that the cost of electric and internet is much more than what you might have read on here. Also what nobody will tell you is that Hopkins is the sand flea capital of the region. Scientists go there to study their biology ( no joke)

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Ozzy
3/15/2017 09:36 EST

@LorraineWard12
It depends on your life style. The reason I like Hopkins / Placencia area is that you have 20 minutes by boat to the Great Barrier Reef (snorkeling, fishing, diving, and lots of islands) or 20 min by car to the Maya Mountains (hiking, zip lining, tubing). If your life style is active – this is perfect. Northern part of Belize is flat and kind of boring. Corozal is far from the Barrier Reef and mountains. Cayes are great but over populated and expensive compared to mainland. You also need to take a boat trip every time you want to go to the mainland.
Again, visit all of these areas and see for yourself. Renting a car for one day will not do much. You need to stay for a few of days in each area to understand, especially if you are making such a decision as to where to retire.

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bradinbelize
3/18/2017 10:52 EST

About Hopkins: email me directly and I will give you my VOIP phone here in Belize. We lived,there, ran a business and now live in San Pedro (Ambergris Caye). Happy to chat and answer your questions. Many on these message boards did not like Belize and just complain, complain (maybe they didn't know what it is or didn't research enough - maybe they are miserable WHEREVER they live). Experiences are different for different people and different mindsets - if you are open minded, willing to go with the flow and not expect it to be "american-lite", Belize can be a wonderful place.

Again, I LIVED THERE - lived it, done it and will give you the real pros and cons.

bradreeder@mac.com

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mikefromcanada
3/20/2017 14:54 EST

Hi There
My wife and I are planning to buy property in Belize to vacation and then retire. Would you be able to give me a name of a realtor in your area as to explore that corner of Belize and your overall opinion of the area would be appreciated

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JohnPBelize
3/20/2017 18:31 EST

In the Hopkins / Sittee River I used CPC Realestate. Personaly I used Mike, but John and Dane (Donny) are good also

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kbjuankanobi
3/21/2017 04:12 EST

Check, I don't know about Hopkins but I love the people of Belize. I stay in a small village called Bomba outside of Maskall.. I was welcomed by the people there with open arms. I am not interested in hanging out in tourist places. Belize is like anywhere else in da world, use your common sense check lol and never be afraid I go to feel the country and the people, who don't have much but they are always, always smiling. Email me for the trick to beat the insects bites.
kbjuan@yahoo.com

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flyingriki
3/25/2017 13:32 EST

Spent a night there then came back for a couple more. Very quiet little village with two very, very bumpy roads that will rattle your teeth. Almost easier to walk. I was there in December and many places were closed, not sure why. People were nice. Local food was very good. A German couple have a restaurant that was nice but kinda weird food. Not sure I'd want to live there as it is really quiet. But a great place to visit and I'm looking forward to returning.

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solodave
3/26/2017 10:59 EST

I HAVE LIVED IN BELIZE 28 YEARS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY , IN HOPKINS FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS , A VERY OPPRESSED AREA FOR JOBS FOR THE LOCALS , A SAFE ENOUGH PLACE AS LONG AS YOU DONT START FLASHING GOLD AND RICHES AROUND , WHAT THEY CAN T SEE THEY CANT STEAL, DONT TAKE CHANCES LEAVING WINDOWS OPEN , CAR S ECT , WHAT EVER THEY SEE THEY WILL TAKE , AND SELL IT FOR PEANUTS TO DRINK OR BUY CRACK..

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crispy
4/3/2017 08:38 EST

Wow, I'd take Destiny's advice and not listen to North American's, as she is one.

So am I. We visited Belize for 3 single day trips, years apart, starting in 2003, then last fall in Nov 2016 visited Corozal for a week. We followed that up this Feb/March with another trip to San Ignacio and Corozal again. At no time did we feel unsafe or threatened. Everyone we encountered, both locals and expats, were very friendly. Destiny is correct in that a move like this is not for everyone. Your best bet is to visit for a while to determine for yourself. Don't go to vacation, go to research. In the Corozal area we found ourselves a local guide who showed us lots of different things and helped us to understand how things worked. We spent a day with him, and other days with a couple different real estate agents too. You're right that crime is everywhere. Have some street smarts and you'll be fine. Most crime in Belize appears to be related to drugs or altercations between those who know each other. Random people tend not to be victims, but this is also true elsewhere too, no?

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8808mama
9/24/2017 02:07 EST

Destiny, I'm sorry that you are disgusted and threatened by the people you live among. It saddens me to think a Black women would stereotype all Canadians and Americans to be bias, narrow minded, ignorant & racist. I am an affluent middle aged white women living in an upscale suburb of San Francisco, Ca. and I do not fall into any of the categories you mentioned. I find it interesting that you are suggesting such a stereotypical and blanketed statement about all the people that live in two countries. Putting millions of people into the same category actually shows your ignorance. And yet you choose to state that all American's & Canadian's look to Black people as being refugees, stupid & criminals. You are contradicting yourself and speaking out of both sides of your mouth when you make such huge blanket statements about two countries of people. You statements are exactly like the people you are choosing to criticize. Maybe your negative attitude has something to do with how you are treated and your views about everyone in two countries. I have a masters degree in psychology & sociology with the focus on the African-American Cultural experience since Slaves from Africa were first brought to the Caribbean & North America. I agree that it has not been easy for many people. However, I do understand that is it our history and how we choose to live our life is solely based on ones attitude and the ability to be open minded and embrace your culture by not discriminating against other cultures. Your negative experiences are solely based on how you choose to look at this amazing and beautiful multicultural world we live in.

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lreintsma99
9/24/2017 15:32 EST

very very well said 808 momma

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bradinbelize
9/26/2017 02:00 EST

LORRAINE -

Go to Hopkins, NOT Corozal. I know you guys - it's not for you. You wil need 3 days for Hopkins - half day drive from BC, spend a full day and drive back the third day.

I lived there - interesting and fun.

If you want Corozal, go to a planned gated community anywhere in America, then imagine it with only 50% of the amenities. It is Ok for a quick visit, but not really anything special unless you've never been to Mexico - it's kind of American planned community meets "Mexico-light". On the other hand, Hopkins has it's own charm , culture and will give you an authentic Belizean and Garifuna feel that is a great experience.

We don;t live there any longer but try to get back to visit friends as often as we can.

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bradinbelize
9/26/2017 02:07 EST

TO MIKE FROM CANADA -

DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT just come here and buy a place you think you will like and reture. Once purchased, it can take YEARS to seel a property in Belize, especially on the mainlnad. I have seen DOZENS of people lose their life savings by coming here, falling in love witha romanticized version of it,buying something then going back to the US or Canada within a month or a few months.

Come, enjoy - stay for AT LEAST a month, then come back again and RENT ANOTHER MONTH, and then maybe THINK about buying something.

I always tell peopel rent for at least the first yesr to make sure you like it and it's for you - more than not, most people don;t stay and return back to US or Canada.

Belize is a great little country, friendly people, interesting, BUT it is still a third world country. How many third world countries have you lived in and owned property before.

WADE IN, don;t dive. It could be the best investment you ever made by renting *and thus not losing a huge amount of money or your entire life savings).

Come and enjoy, but make decisions slowly. there is no need to rush here, properties stay on the market for years!

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JohnPBelize
9/26/2017 11:49 EST

That was good advise from Brad! We spent 8 years going down there for a month or two every winter before be bought and built. You may even find it is nice just to rent.

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terrific
9/27/2017 02:58 EST

That is really good advice. Lived here for 2 years in the nineties. Then we returned for vacations most years after that but when we decidedabout 5years ago, we would feel happy to retire here we still spent another 12 months seeing and exploring until we were sure we had the right place ( which we are) before buying.
We also had to be certain our children were on board with the whole idea, Eventually they will have the responsibility of owning property in Belize with any or all problems that may entail.

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phill333
9/27/2017 23:50 EST

I agree CPC is a good real estate agency to use in Hopkins/Placencia. We are a couple who explored as you are now doing. We ended up choosing Hopkins and have built a home there. When you're in Hopkins perhaps you should speak to Maureen, She is from South Africa and is raising her children there. She has lived there ever since I first visited & will give you an honest opinion.

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phill333
9/28/2017 00:07 EST

Brad is providing sound advice. It is easy to rent a place in Hopkins. The community will definitely give you a unique experience. Staying as long as possible is advised too, as your perspective will be colored by the "vacation" feel of being there. It took us some time to see the daily experience of what living in Hopkins is like. The grocery stores are small, but you can buy fresh fish from local fishermen, There are trucks that come certain days selling chicken/beef or fresh vegetables/fruits. The schools have a fee if you beyond a certain grade level. Internet is available, but slow compared to North American experience. I am an older woman who has never been afraid in Belize, Stop in at the Diversity Cafe-libations, cell phone minutes, golf cart rentals & sound advice from the owner who has lived there for over 20 years. I believe she is originally from Great Britain.

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