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“The Best Vacation of My Life”

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Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Hopkins
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
San Jose, CA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The Best Vacation of My Life”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 23, 2009

I just returned from a ten day vacation to Hamanasi with my wife and two children, ages 14 and 16. We stayed in a 2 room family suite. It took me a day or two to get into vacation mode -- to stop thinking about my email and my iPhone and the myriad number of things on my desk back home. Once I made the transition, I found my experience at Hamanasi very relaxing.

Prior to leaving on vacation, we had just completed our PADI diving certification and were looking forward to our first official dive trip as a family. We had no idea how good the diving would be in Belize. We soon learned that the dive operation at Hamanasi was absolutely first class, the dive masters were skilled and knowledgeable, and the dive sites were second to none. Our dive with whale sharks was amazing. After the dive each day, I would settle into a hammock and read and take an afternoon snooze under a palm tree in a cool afternoon breeze.

The food at Hamanasi was delicious and the service was excellent. The house salad was delightful and the red snapper was a family favorite. We often ordered four different items off the menu and shared them so we could have taste of everything. I did gain a few pounds on the trip and am doing the necessary penance now.

We went on two inland excursions and both were amazing. The first one was to Mayflower falls. That was a strenuous hike which led up to a beautiful waterfall emptying into a refreshing pond surrounded by tropical plants and trees. We swam and played under the waterfall and then had a nice lunch provided by Hamanasi. All in all, a great excursion.

Our second day trip was the ATM Cave Tour. Whatever you do, if you go to Hamanasi, do not miss this one. You'll need a good pair of water shoes and an extra pair of socks. You first hike about 45 minutes to the cave entrance where you'll sit at the edge of a nice pond and have a lunch provided by the resort. You can swim if you like. You then don a lighted helmut and begin your sojourn swimming into the cave. The group swims in single file for some time behind the guide. You then traverse over rocks and boulders and through narrow passage ways, all the while seeing beautiful stalagmites and stalagtite formations. You then come across pots and vases that have survived untouched in this cave since the time of the ancient Mayans. As you progress further into the cave, you begin to see skeletal remains of people who were sacrificed by Mayan Priests centuries ago. You will go through portions of the cave which are cathedral like in their grandeur. For this one, if you have an Indiana Jones hat and whip -- why not bring it with? This is the closest you'll probably ever come to a true Indiana Jones experience.

At the end of your day diving or snorkeling or after an inland excursion or a day just hanging poolside, most people gather around the bar and share their experiences of the day. We met many people on the trip and are now communicating by email and sharing are pictures from the trip.

Last, the people who work at Hamanasi and live in the local village of Hopkins are wonderful. We found everyone friendly and gracious. The native language in Belize is English. Many people in Hopkins speak four languages fluently; English, Garifuna, Spanish and Creole.

If you are looking for a resort that offers personalized service, in a relaxed setting, with comfortable rooms and delicious food -- I highly recommend Hamanasi. If you are a diver, know that you will be going to one of the world's best dive sites. If you want authentic excursions and surroundings -- this is the place.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 2MTNTOP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (663)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
The Woodlands, Texas
Level Contributor
82 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 21, 2009

Undoubtedly, this is a phenomenal place to vacation. My wife and I went with my father and his wife, who were married at Hamanasi two years ago, and enjoyed it so much they brought us all back there. From the moment you land in Belize City, to the time you leave, you feel like the country and the people are friendly and truly value your patronage. The resort itself is very beautiful and great for getting away, however if you are looking for modern convenience, I would not recommend this resort. The rooms do not have telephones, which made it difficult any time you needed something. We enjoyed the fact that there is no television, because the view and the adventures are so incredible. It even rained and thunder stormed pretty much the last 3 days we were there, but the resort went the extra distance to ensure we had great excursions and enjoyed ourselves. The food was great, but make sure you bring your own alcohol and mixers, because the bar is ridiculous, (we are talking $8+ American for a Margarita). King is a great bartender and makes the money worth it, but we are so glad that we brought our own alcohol, (for a couple that went with us, they spent over $600 American just for alcohol, in one week). You just don’t go to Central America to spend that much on booze. The resort doesn’t have an ice machine either, so even when you make your own drinks you have to get a glass of ice from the bar. Also, make sure you go into town to purchase any souvenirs because the gift shop is outrageous, ($25 American for a 15 exposure disposable water camera?) The Dong Lee market in Hopkins, (just a free 13 minute bike ride aways) had a 36 exposure water camera for $9 American. The people do all make an effort to learn your name, and are very friendly. The guides are amazing and very informative, and on our last night the hotel brought in some local Garifuna drummers and dancers to put on an amazing show for the guests. The entire country seems to move at turtle pace, so when they say 10 minutes, they mean 30 minutes-to 3 hours real time, but you don’t go on vacation to rush so it’s typically okay. There is a decent breakfast buffet, great lunch menu and different dinner menus each night, (all of the food is amazing). However, there is no in between snacks. Unlike most resorts, if you want some French fries or hot dog or any other kind of snack, you will have to bring or buy your own from town. The happy-hour does have a ‘snack’ bar, however it consists mostly of mediocre chips and dip. You can order from the menu, but again, it is not very affordable. Overall, a wonderful vacation and beautiful view, simply the most amazing scenery I have ever witnessed, and we will definitely return.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank gomavs2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reston, VA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 19, 2009

We stayed in a treehouse and it was a neat experience looking out the windows and seeing trees. We took the scuba referral course and got certified as scuba divers. If you are interested in scuba diving or snorkeling I would highly recommend this resort. The Belize Barrier reef is amazing. We saw countless beautiful fish, giant sea turtles, rays, eels, lobster, and a baby nurse shark. There were several couples on their honeymoon while we were there. Hamanasi is a great place to stay because your vacation can be as adventurous or as laid back as you like.

The food was good, we were on a prepaid meal plan. My husband is a highly picky eater and they were very accommodating in finding him options. I loved the breads and soups, which changed daily.

We actually drove here instead of flying in. If you have a suv and are not afraid of one lane bridges and unpaved roads it is a good option as it allows greater freedom of travel. Most guests fly in as it is much easier.

Our only suggestion would be for Hamanasi to offer wifi in the rooms, it was limited to a small area in the main building.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank oneofgrace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
Level Contributor
57 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2009

Stayed there 8 days. The staff was wonderful - attentive, caring, warm, receptive. Within a day, everybody knew us by first names. There are scuba diving and jungle adventure tours daily, that are part of packaged deals, or available ala carte. The dive operation was first class across the board, and we were lucky to see whale sharks and dolphins, stingrays and eagle rays, and beautiful corals. I strongly suggest the Glover's Reef dive upgrade, which is 3-tanks and sites a bit further offshore. The management and reception staff is just terrific. A nice variety of dinner menu offerings, too. Really, nothing but good stuff to say, from a discerning and critical traveler. (Don't go there for nightlife, though. This is an early to bed, early to rise place.)

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mark10038
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2009

Our flight in was nightmarish taking 21 hours to get us there due to American Airlines' snafus. The staff at Hamanasi said "no problem," then showed us that they could eradicate the pain of the trip with warmth, beauty and great food. The daily tours guided by smart and knowledgeable local guides allow you to appreciate the culture, geography and history of the country AND as an extra benefit, you make new friends. Like minded people, interested in outdoors activities, ecology, and interesting people and places are drawn there, then become friends as they tour together and share fabulous meals. I left there with many new friends, four of whom are the type who are likely to be friends for life. I've never felt so comfortable and cared for. I love this place.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NursefromPittsburgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
61 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 15, 2009

The resort: Hamanasi is set in the middle of the jungle and full of wildlife. I stayed in the treehouse which I highly recommend (where else can you look out your window and see an iguana sitting in a tree). The staff was friendly and greets you by name, and the food was great. Like most of the resorts in Belize, the menu isn't huge but there is something for everyone. The rooms are very spacious, have very efficient AC, and are kept very clean. Being in the woods, bugs can be a bit annoying, though mainly at night and even then it's not an infestation. The pool was nice and overlooks the ocean.
Inland Tours: while Hamanasi offers a lot of trips, be warned that they only happen if there are enough people signed up (this ranges but they claim a lot only require two people). They have set tours for each day and those will happen but any requests may be a problem. They were unclear about this on the phone and when we inquired about a trip to Cockscomb on the weekend, they said it would certainly happen. When we got there, Stephanie informed us that it would happen....but only if other people signed up to go. There was definitely some deception with this that lasted several days, but we were encountered by the manager later who was upset with the situation and he made sure the trip was made the next day, so I think management is on the ball but some staff may not be. The guides at Hamanasi are extremely friendly and well trained, so I highly recommend trying to make some trips inland even if you are a diver.
Diving: as a dedicated diver, I was extremely annoyed by some of the things I encountered with the dive operation. Their approach to certification is in and out as fast as possible. One guest I met had just gotten his open water cert., and only had 8 dives before they had him starting his advanced OW cert., and diving with him as a buddy, I can say he was awful: horrid buoyancy control and all he cared about was taking pictures (new diver's are not ready to be photographers), making us lag behind and putting himself in danger (and ruining my dives). Many of the divers I was with on the first day clearly were the type who got certified so they could tell their friends they did it and will probably never dive again. Any experienced diver would be annoyed by this as these people ruin dives and put themselves and others in danger. They do a whaleshark dive for "experienced" divers only, and these people were able to go on the trip, so that tells you something. Despite this, I will say Hamanasi can't control the people they get and can't refuse them if they do have a certification, but their in and out certification and lack of concern about inexperienced divers is something they need to work on (I also stayed at Turneffe Island Resort and their dive staff is very strict about people's performance if they are yoyo diving like my buddy was for example). On a positive note, the dive staff is very knowledgeable and friendly (after my concern with my buddy, the guide told me that from now on the two of us will be each other's buddy so I could actually enjoy my dives), and are great at spotting all types of species and ensuring everyone gets a look. Doreth was my guide at Glover's Reef and he was able to find a nurse shark which I wanted to see. He is a really great guy to dive with so try and pair with him if you can (though the other guides seem great too). Other days of diving, we were split into small groups and they paired us up better than the first day, so I will say I had a great time in this case. The service is valet, so all you have to be responsible for is making sure your gear is on board. The surface intervals are done on small islands which are very relaxing and are a nice escape from a potentially rocking boat. The island between the Barrier Reef dives has a shallow reef where you will see bonefish, trumpetfish, and even seahorse. The dive sites they go to are outstanding, and if the trip is made, go to Glover's Reef as it is some of the best diving in Belize, if not the best (though it requires at least 8 people so good luck).
In the end our trip to Hamanasi was great, but it had a bad start. The best advice I can give is not to keep your hopes up, or visit as a group if you can, so the trips you would like to make actually happen. If you are visiting Belize for the ruins, avoid Hamanasi as it is a long trip to Tikal and Xunantunich (I also stayed at Chaa Creek and Xunantunich was a 15 minute drive). If you are a diver, you will dive some great sites, but keep in mind this is more of a tourist resort so there is a chance you will be stuck with new and/or inexperienced divers...if you are willing to compromise Hamanasi's great accommodations and food, you may be better off staying on Glover's Reef or at a dive resort that offers only diving.

  • Stayed June 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Daniel L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 15, 2009

Our vacation was a special celebration for my husband's birthday. He said it all when he told a staff member, "this is the best birthday I have ever had."
The reason it was so memorable is the people, the staff are warm, friendly, caring and attentive. The resort is beautiful, the grounds are impeccable and our suite was out of this world.
We loved the diving, especially seeing whale shark!
The jungle tours amazed us, from the Mayan Ruins to the ATM cave; we were mesmerized.
We will return to this amazing gem and we will gladly share the wonder of our trip.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank birdcrazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort

Property: Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort
Address: Hopkins/Sittee River Road | Hopkins Village, Hopkins, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Stann Creek > Hopkins
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Hopkins
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Hopkins
#1 Green Hotel in Hopkins
#1 Family Hotel in Hopkins
#1 Romantic Hotel in Hopkins
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience the best of Belize on and offshore! Hamanasi is a secluded, casually elegant eco-resort. Unwind in spacious tree houses, beach front rooms and suites with AC, private porches and gorgeous hardwood furnishings. On property has a full service restaurant, bar, pool, lush gardens and a Gold Palm 5 star PADI dive facility. Onshore, explore Mayan ruins, Jaguar Preserve, caves, jungle rivers and rain forest waterfalls. All inclusive packages, Honeymoon and romance packages available. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Hamanasi Adventure And Dive Hotel Hopkins
Hamanasi Adventure And Dive Resort Belize/Hopkins

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