Food Adventures on the Hummingbird Highway of Belize
The Hummingbird Highway is, perhaps, the most iconic and beautiful road in Belize. Completely paved in 1994, the Hummingbird Highway is the major artery that connects Belmopan in central Belize to Dangriga on the southeastern coast. As such, it is the main thoroughfare for reaching Stann Creek and Toledo Districts in the southern part of the country.
The Hummingbird Highway begins just outside of Belmopan in Cayo District, where it meets the George Price Highway (widely known as the Western Highway). The Hummingbird then continues eastward, being the only major paved roadway in Belize to cross over mountains.
As such, following the 53.7-mile length of the Hummingbird Highway is one of the best ways to experience the diverse culinary influences in Belize. Here are just a few of the best places to stop along this iconic thoroughfare:
Tamales at Mrs. Bertha’s Tamales
Founded the eponymous Mrs. Bertha, it can be hard to find this simple white shack nestled in the shade of a large tree. The original Mrs. Bertha passed away in 2015, but her daughter now operates the restaurant, renowned for its spicy chicken and corn tamales.
Location: Mile marker 26 in Stann Creek District.
Homemade Creole Food at TREES
The Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society (TREES) is a grassroots conservation organization that works to protect local wildlife. However, many travelers stop to visit the TREES headquarters in order to buy home-cooked Creole buns and bread from vendor Emerita Mejia and her daughters Shanika and Yanira.
Location: Mile marker 27.5 in Stann Creek District.
Ice Cream and Banana Bread at The Country Barn
Located just outside the village of St. Margaret, the Country Barn is renowned for its locally-produced dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and ice cream.
Location: Mile marker 31 in Cayo District.
Aphrodisiacs at the Lamanai Chocolate
Named for a nearby ancient Maya site, Lamanai chocolate produces high-quality chocolate that is exported around the world. But perhaps its most famous product is their chocolate-based aphrodisiac drinks made from ancient Maya recipes.
Location: Mile marker 43 near the village of Armenia in Cayo District.
One of the best ways to experience all of the culinary delights found along the Hummingbird Highway is by renting a car from Barefoot Rentals and Services. Based in Placencia Village in Stann Creek District, Barefoot Rentals and Services has a large fleet of cars, SUVs, dirt bikes, and golf carts which are perfect for exploring the region.
Barefoot Rentals also operates private ground transfers and shuttle services to and from any location in Belize.