Snorkeling & Diving
Snorkeling and scuba diving are stellar all along the Belize Barrier Reef. The Tobacco Caye range lies just offshore from Hopkins Village, a simple 30- to 40-minute boat ride away, with numerous snorkeling and dive sites. Moreover, the location makes these dive resorts excellent jumping-off points for trips to Glover's Reef Atoll and even Turneffe and Lighthouse Reef atolls. All of the resorts listed below offer multiday dive packages, which are the way to go for serious divers, though we particularly recommend Hamanasi. They also all offer certification classes and advanced open-water courses. If you're not staying at one of the dedicated dive resorts, your best bet is probably to arrange to dive with them, as their equipment and dive masters are generally top-notch, and the price savings of going with a less active operator just aren't worth it. If you're feeling adventurous, for snorkeling excursions, feel free to ask around the village and head out with a local boat captain or tour guide. The lower cost and cultural richness might just make up for a slow boat, leaky mask, and loose-fitting fins.
There's excellent bonefishing in the inland and barrier reef flats in this area. Anglers can also go for tarpon, permit, and snook, or head offshore for bigger game. Experienced guides can help you track any of the above fish, and many are taking their guests out fly-fishing for them, just to up the ante. Most of the major lodges and resorts here offer fishing packages and excursions. Well-equipped sport fishing outings cost between BZ$1000 and BZ$3,000 per day, depending on the size of the boat, number of anglers, and distance traveled. Alternatively, you can ask around Hopkins Village to line up a more low-tech outing for around BZ$100 to BZ$400 for a half-day.
One of the highlights, quite literally, of this area are the nocturnal bioluminescence river tour in Anderson’s Lagoon, just south of Hopkins. Happy Go Luckie Tours (www.hgltours.com; tel. 635-0967) offers this phenomenal experience where guests can witness the animals that come awake in the night before entering the mystical world of glowing plankton. The dark water turns a shocking blue when disturbed by the boat cutting through it, making for one of the most memorable Belize activities I’ve ever taken part in. Costs are BZ$60 per person if three or more people take the tour. If you only have two aboard, the price rises to BZ$90 each. Tours run from January to June to avoid rainy nights. The glow is at its most intense when the moon is full.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.