The Hummingbird Highway is a beautiful and scenic drive, but can only be enjoyed in the day time and when one has a little extra time to pay attention to the one-lane bridges and large speed humps that sneak up on tourists. If you have time to take in the beauty of the drive, might as well make a few stops along the way.
Below is a list of “must-stops” along the Hummingbird. As a bonus, all the places also double as good restroom breaks, if needed, along the drive.
As you head out of Belmopan, not far outside the city a sign for Kropf’s Bakery is a small yellow house sits just off the highway. Kropf’s is a Mennonite bakery known for it’s banana bread, cookies, and other baked goods. One can also get a cup of coffee or some fresh juice.
Want to get a good look at the mountain range Belizeans call Sleeping Giant? Pull over at Yam-witz, which means “between the mountains” in Maya. This is about 17 miles outside of Belmopan. Sleeping Giant is a mountain range that looks just like the name—a big fella lying on his back with his boots pointed to the sky. Yam-witz is a good place for lunch of stew chicken, rice and beans or even just a snack or drink. The view is breath-taking.
Inland Blue Hole
While the Blue Hole is quite famous, not as many know about Belize’s Inland Blue Hole. When one needs a few minutes to stretch their legs, it is a nice five-minute stroll from the park’s entrance and restrooms. There are changing stations as well, to put on swim wear. After a short walk, one can make their way down to the bright blue cool waters of the inland blue hole. Jump in! Some just admire it without taking the plunge. If large rainfall has hit the area, the waters are not their typical bright blue as the mud from the mountains has entered it and typically takes a few days to “turn blue” again.
Not a minute to spare? Pull in directly to the “other” entrance just a little south of the main entrance, which allows you to skip the five-minute stroll. Instead, you can walk down to the water, snap a photo, and continue on your way in about a minute.
Over The Top
Over the Top is a cool spot (another name for a bar) in Belize that has a very steep driveway that is fun to go up, but don’t be shy—hit the gas! This spot is about half-way in between Belmopan and Hopkins Village. When you make it to the top, order a drink and take in the view of the area and its jungle surroundings and mountain ranges. There is even a pool table in this open-seating pub.
Country Barn. Known for it’s road-side ice cream and yogurt, they now serve sandwiches and snacks as well. Look for coffee, sour sop, and of course, good ol’ vanilla.
Café Casita de Amour Coffee Shop
The unique orange and wood building pulls people in as an enchanting road side break whose name translates to Little House of Love. There one can have a caffeine break or even grab a sandwich and a milkshake. But this is no “fast food” stop as the coffee and food take time and everything is “made from love.”
Citrus Products of Belize
This is a factory, but don’t just buzz on by. To the right of the main entrance is a small stand where travelers may purchase fresh juice from the factory for a few dollars. Ask what flavors they have that day. My favorite? The grapefruit. Many times, they keep the juices so cold there are ice chips in the bottles!
Xaibel Shell Service Station
(Pronounced shy-bell.) Go in and select some of the delicious food on the counter. But whatever you do, don’t ask if the food is fresh. Or you may be a loud “of course it is!” shouted at your direction. In Belize, only fresh food is served and you may be insulting the ladies next door who cook amazing Belizean pastries and hot meals for travelers and supply the gas station with endless amounts of food throughout the day. Most days they sell out. For breakfast they have plates filled with eggs, beans, and fry jacks. Other options: chicken burrito, johnny cakes with beans and cheese, or my favorite the waffle sandwich filled with cheese and ham. They also have pastries such as bread pudding, powder bun with cheese, and banana cake. At lunch, they have several options like a chicken sandwich, more johnny cakes, and stew chicken. If you see local cashews, try them as they are worth the price. They usually have cassava and plantain chips too.
Have more time and want to check out a few more stops along Hummingbird Highway?
This is not for the faint of heart, but the 45-minute hike to the cave’s entrance and then the hike to “wonderland” is well-worth it, if not a day of exhaustion.
Five Sisters Lake
Five Sisters Lake is a great place to learn jungle survival skills, go cave kayaking, and soak up all the beautiful plants and amazing shades of blue waters. A guide is required. It’s quite remote and you feel like you are the only one out there—and many times, you are the only ones out there!
Billy Barquedier National Park
Off the beaten path, take about a 15minute self-guided hike to the beautiful waterfall, where cool refreshing waters await for a nice swim. For the more adventurous, climb up the hill and plunge down off the mountain-side for a high-diving experience.
This post was written for RideBZE.com by Leslie Sorrell, and posted with her permission.
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