Have you had the dream about owning and running your own little hotel on a secluded beach, someday, somewhere? We always had that dream and we knew that the hotel had to be near reefs. It took a moment of inspiration (insanity?) for us to decide to actually do it! Now, our dream has come true with Hamanasi.
We suffer from true wanderlust, most likely an affliction given to us by our parents. After we learned how to SCUBA dive we continued to travel and dive whenever we could. We dived in Bonaire, Mexico, the Red Sea, Bali, Zanzibar, Australia's Great Barrier Reef and a murky lake in Michigan! Our interests took us beyond diving to cultural, natural and architectural wonders throughout Western and Eastern Europe, Turkey, Israel, Tanzania and Thailand. Our urge to experience more made us leave "safe" computer and advertising jobs in Chicago to move to the newly opened Eastern Europe in 1992. After a short foray in Germany Dana moved to Prague (then Czechoslovakia) and Dave followed. Our professional careers called us back to computers and marketing. Soon, Apple Computer transferred Dave further east to Moscow, Russia. It took Dana nearly a year to leave charming Prague for the buzzing, big city life of Moscow. Soon, Dana started working with United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on a project with Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre.
Traveling was phenomenal, but winters in Moscow were cold and long. So, in 1995, when David's mother, Joan, suggested that we consider Belize as a locale for our dream hotel Dana jumped on a plane to visit. Joan and Dana scouted up and down Belize and found a perfect piece of land in Hopkins, a charming fishing village sandwiched between the reef and the Maya Mountains. The people were friendly and the area gorgeous. Dana flew back to Russia and told David that Belize and Hopkins were exactly what they were looking for and that they should buy the land. David had never even been to Belize!
It took us four more years of hard work in Russia to be able to actually build Hamanasi. Dana started working in a large, Moscow travel agency to gain valuable industry experience. We both critiqued every hotel, restaurant and dive shop we visited. Certainly, our "eyes" had changed! We made countless trips from Moscow to Belize via the USA. Talk about crazy itineraries! We laughed after returning from one such trip where it had been 30 degrees Celsius in Belize and minus 30 degrees Celsius in Moscow!
What does Hamanasi mean? It is a Garifuna word meaning 'almond' from the Belizean hamans tree, a gorgeous tree that grows right on the seaside. We wanted a name connected to the Garifuna culture and the physical beauty of the location. We wanted to create a beautiful, comfortable refuge where guests could relax and enjoy delicious cuisine after an adventuresome day. We like to meet new and interesting people. At Hamanasi we want you to feel welcome and to get to know other guests and locals. We want to help you explore all the wonderful sites of Belize - from Mayan ruins, rainforests and caves to atolls, pristine reefs and palm-studded beaches.
So after countless hours of planning, learning about a new culture, navigating through bureaucratic hurdles, encountering wildlife in places we would rather not have and explaining where, exactly, is Belize, Hamanasi's doors are open! We are achieving our dream. Now, we want you to have the vacation of your dreams at Hamanasi!