A few weeks ago, my ladies’ group and I took a trip to the Ya’axkin Butterfly Farm and then stopped for lunch in the lovely village of Hopkins.
The Ya’axkin Butterfly Farm is about halfway between Dangriga and Placencia, along the Southern Highway in a community called Maya Center. This village is situated at the entrance to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve and Jaguar Sanctuary. This living cultural center is a day-destination in its own right. Shop arts and handmade crafts at the Women’s collective, speak with traditional healers and tour their medicinal gardens, learn how to process cacao the time-honored way on a chocolate tour, and sample classic Belizean and Mayan dishes.
A recent addition is the family-run Ya’axkin Butterfly Farm.
The Butterfly Farm welcomes guests of all ages. It’s open every day, 7am to 5pm and the cost is $6usd for foreign adults, $3usd for children or $6bzd for local adults and $3 for Belizean children. Tours are available upon request and larger groups or special events can be scheduled ahead of time by contacting them through Facebook or calling 631-1164.
Our tour started off in the breeding room where we saw thousands of caterpillars in various stages of development
Once they reach the chrysalis stage, they are moved from the breeding room into the butterfly enclosure where they transform into beautiful butterflies
in their butterfly house and enclosed garden which acts as the playground for over 3000 fanciful, fluttering butterflies. We walked among the winged beauties in this whimsical garden
and stopped to sit on one of the benches dotted around the area to contemplate life.
After our tour of the butterfly farm, we headed over to Hopkins for lunch.
Hopkins is a friendly seaside village on the coast of Stann Creek an hour’s drive from Placencia and just 20 minutes from Ya’axkin Butterfly farm. The village has a high concentration of Garifuna people, with a laidback Caribbean vibe. It is known as an eco-cultural hotspot drawing tourists that are interested in learning about the Garifuna culture and exploring the southern barrier reef and nearby jungle attractions.
Fishing and farming used to be the primary source of income, but nowadays it’s tourism since Hopkins currently has several upscale resorts, local restaurants, beach bars and gift shops.
We meandered through the streets of this charming coastal town
Stopping to linger on the beach and admire the art that was everywhere – including the public toilets.
Soon it was lunch time and we made our way to a Russian Restaurant where we had sandwiches and cold drinks. Unfortunately, I was so hungry I forgot to take a photo!
After lunch, we made our way to the GariMaya Gift Shop on the outskirts of the village.
where we spent an hour or so admiring everything that was on sale from clothes, to hammocks, to art and more.