Along the Hummingbird Highway
This famous stretch of road was paved only a few years ago and boasts some of the most scenic driving in Central America (in my humble opinion). The drive from Belmopan southeast toward Dangriga is an awesome reminder of just how green and wild Belize really is. Some of the canopy took a hit during Hurricane Richard’s strange inland rampage in 2010, but the forest grows quickly in these parts, and it is still most impressive.
The highway passes through towering karst hills and long views of broadleaf jungle as you cross the Caves Branch Bridge and enter the Valley of Caves. It climbs into the Maya Mountains, then descends toward the sea.
The junction with the Southern Highway is 20 miles east of “Over the Top” pass—Dangriga is another 5 miles from there.
Hummingbird Highway Hotels and Restaurants
Bed-and-breakfast homestay options are sometimes available in several villages up and down the Hummingbird Highway, notably Armenia. This is a quiet settlement, eight miles south of Belmopan, with a Maya and Latino population offering Rock of Excellence Homestays (call Maria “Betty” Gonzalez, tel. 501/630-7033, or community tel. 501/809-2036, hummingbirdhomestays [at] gmail [dot] com). There are about a dozen participating families, with a wide range of accommodations, though all are simple, rustic, and usually within the home of your hosts (US$24 for a night’s lodging and three meals).
St. Margaret’s, at Mile 32, is the entrance to Five Blues Lake National Park and may have some of the same services as Armenia, including accommodations.
A much surer bet is to continue to Mile 291/2, where you’ll find Alma and Albert’s (or just “A&A’s,” tel. 501/606-2765), offering a tent site (US$5 pp with your own gear, or US$10 more to rent) and a two-room cabin (US$40) at a gorgeous bend in the river. Alma and Albert are very friendly people with a lovely property, and they’ll cook you typical Belizean food in their little roadside eatery and bar.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition