St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park and a tragically cool coffee shop

St Hermans Blue Hole Belize- Real Life Recess

On the second day with our rented motorcycles we planned to ride out towards  Belmopan from Hopkins  to visit St. Herman’s Blue Hole Park.  We skipped the complementary breakfast at Hopkins Inn cabana and decided to try out Thongs Cafe across from Alternate Adventures.

Thongs Cafe Hopkins Village Belize - Real Life Recess

Thongs Cafe breakfast Hopkins Village belize - Real Life Recess

An omelet and a breakfast sandwich. Pretty ordinary…

 

From Hopkins Village to St. Herman’s Blue Hole park is a LONG ride. Much longer than we anticipated and more challenging than we expected (hills, one-lane bridges, oh my). But definitely worth it.

The Hummingbird Highway is known for the beautiful landscapes and picturesque mountain views along the way,  however we were just trying to safely navigate the terrain. Fortunately traffic was light and we could just focus on the road.

Hummingbird Highway Belize- Real Life Recess

Hummingbird Highway Belize Horse- Real Life Recess

Random horse on the side of the highway

Hummingbird Highway narrow bridge- Real Life Recess

Somehow large trucks have no problem crossing the many narrow bridges

 

After close to two hours of riding, we finally arrived.

St Herman's Blue Hole National Park- Real Life Recess

 

The main draw of the park is its namesake blue hole (not to be confused with the offshore Blue Hole), a limestone cenote.

St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park signs- Real Life Recess

Cool signs give you a quick science lesson.

St Herman Blue Hole - Real Life Recess

It’s a beautiful, refreshing, natural pool in the jungle and a lovely spot to photograph and take a dip.

St Hermans Blue Hole - Real Life Recess

The park also has well marked and maintained nature trails, rustic bathrooms and changing areas, a visitor’s center, and two cave systems you can explore on your own to a certain point.

St Hermans Blue Hole National Park rustic bathrooms- Real Life Recess

The visitor’s center and caves are about a mile down the road from the parking lot for the blue hole. You can either drive to each or take the nature trail walk that connects the two. In the interest of time (and not having to back track) we opted to drive to each. Whichever one you stop at first you’ll be required to pay the $8bz park entrance fee, good for the whole day.

After a quick dip in the hole we headed up the road to check out the visitor’s center (nothing special but if you didn’t bring your own you’ll want to rent a flashlight from them- the caves are dark after all) and walk up to the caves.

St Hermans Blue Hole cave- Real Life Recess

Ready to take on the caves

 

There are two cave systems here- St. Herman’s and Crystal cave. You can explore the caves on your own up to 200 yards deep, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you start walking in to the cave. We explored St. Herman’s and it was eerie how quickly the cave swallows up the light and sounds of the jungle outside. If you can get past the creepy factor you might start to appreciate why these caves were sacred to the ancient Mayan people.

St Herman Cave entrance- Real Life Recess

St Hermans Cave- Real Life Recess

St Hermans Cave rock formation- Real Life Recess

After the caves we hopped back on our bikes and headed home. On the long two hour ride back to Hopkins we eventually needed to stop for a rest,  and a sign for a coffee shop caught my eye.

Cafe Casita Hummingbird Highway- Real Life Recess

We pulled over and discovered a funky little coffee and lunch spot harbored in a uniquely architected house.

Cafe Casita Hummingbird Highway- Real Life Recess

This place had kitsch to spare; liked the rounded walls with custom built seating to fit them, loved the birdhouses-turned-stools at the bar, wanted to marry the triangle shaped door! So many angles, even the toilets were in triangles and they were on the side of the house just next to a pen that sheltered two white bunnies- because why not?

Cafe Casita Dining Room- Real Life Recess

Cafe Casita Door- Real Life Recess

Cafe Casita de Amor- Real Life Recess

We each ordered a milk coffee (to be honest it was the best cup of coffee we had in Belize) and decided on the meatballs rice and beans to share as a snack.

Cafe Casita coffee- Real Life Recess

Cafe Casita meatballs- Real Life Recess

 

Not what I imagined meatballs to look like but it was tasty and warm and satisfying.  We had to quickly be on our way but I’d recommend Café Casita de Amor as a caffeine pit stop if you’re traveling the Hummingbird Highway in the Cayo district.

About the author

Megan Rodden

never met a vacation she didn’t like. Megan is a self-centered, snarky, unambitious derelict… like most of her peers.

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© 2014 Megan Rodden and Phil Nagengast.