Placencia flirted with us, but we fell in deep love with Hopkins. So much so, that we don’t want to write about it. We want to keep it to ourselves.
The town itself is unassuming. A long, hot, dry and dusty road with dilapidated buildings on either side. Wood shacks that have never seen a carpenters level. Totally unpainted, totally natural. Kids standing on the porch, hanging over the railings as they wave goodbye to their older sister boarding the bus. It is so present and live.
I don’t’ want tourism to squash the essence of this place.
It will push out the very reason that we find it so special – the people and culture – and make it into a novelty instead of real life.
That’s the negative side of tourism. Places get popular because they are beautiful and have real people with a thriving culture. And then the people become ‘locals’ and get pushed out, bought out and withdrawn to the perimeter. They can no longer afford to live in the ‘hot tourist town’. When the locals leave, the real culture leaves, leaving behind a cultural skeleton that is paraded by hotel chains and tour operators. The real culture no longer exists in the vicinity and travelers get a washed down, cleaned up showcase of it. The place loses the rawness that made it so beautiful and approachable in the first place.
That’s why I don’t want you to know about Hopkins.
I don’t want tourism to spoil it.
UPDATE: I did spoil the secret of Hopkins here.