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“Anniversary bliss!”

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Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Caye Caulker, Belize
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Anniversary bliss!”
Reviewed 18 September 2011

We spent the first two days of our 4-day anniversary trip, and I was extremely happy that it worked out so well even with absolutely minimal planning. I did no online research...simply a call for room reservation and a trip - "Black Hole Drop".

It could have turned out bad, but this time I wanted to relax and turned over the planning reins to Efren who works there.

If you are not used to the jungle sounds, it could be daunting, but I found it helped me relax. We heard lots of bugs, howler monkey and just the wind blowing the leaves. The jungle is not a quiet place, but it all just FIT perfectly. The two nights we had power failure, but since we were in the mountains, it was not hot at all even without the AC. We were in a treehouse, and the walk up, especially after dinner was a daily adventure. I was always expecting a snake to slither out, but thankfully, I saw none.

The last three reviews mention that the food was expensive, but they don't say that the meals are all family sit-down style with an open buffet. There was always an abundance of delicious food. Soups, salads, at least 3 kinds of meats, salads...and by the time dessert came around...I just had to try to squeeze it in. To me, it seems if you tallied the cost of the variety, the meal would cost double what they charged. The family style eating really forces you to interact with the other guests, which brings us back to the basic of talking and sharing your day with others. It was the first time I had this style of eating at a hotel, but I really enjoyed it. The owners sat with us, and they were really nice friendly people. I was also there when then #2 chess player in Belize was there for some R&R and practice. The owners seem to really give back to the community. It was also really nice to know that most of their employees are from the neighbouring villages.

Black Hole Drop -- because of my lack of planning/research, I did not realize how difficult this would be. Well, not so much the rappelling but the hike. It was about 1 hour of hiking uphill. I was --> <-- close to giving up, but I am SO glad I toughed it and made it to the top. Because I was so exhausted, I found that I didn't get the knack for the sliding down. A note that only the first few steps are you actually in contact with the wall of the cliff. After that, you are simply suspended by the rope. Lunch really hit the spot. It cracked me up that in the middle of the jungle, with a beautiful cave entrance on one side, and the jungle trees on the other, the guides had set up our lunch with white table cloth on top of a boulder.
Professional- I was the slow one of a group of 7. I was never left alone. The junior guide was left with me. For a group of 7, it was really impressive that we had 3 guides.

The Waterfall tour is next on my agenda --- and I do not believe I will do any research again. :)

Room Tip: Although the tree house rooms are a good hike up to get to, it was extremely romantic. It seemed th...
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank JoannaBz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (321)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 September 2011

We had William's Belize Shuttle service take us to Caves Branch from Cahal Pech. It was so great to have our own shuttle and William was great! Caves Branch exceeded our expectations. We only stayed here one night with our family of 5 but wished we had stayed longer. We were worried that we would not sleep because we might be too hot in August. Also, this was a bit of a splurge compared with the other places we stayed. It was well worth it. The website does not really describe what we got in our treehouse. It was much better than we were expecting and really worth the price. We stayed in a tree house that had a nice master bedroom and bathroom upstairs with a really powerful ceiling fan. I am often bothered by the heat, but I was actually fine. Outside of our room was a beautiful balcony that overlooked the canopy and it had this fantasic large hot bath/hot tub (not jetted) and table and chairs. I loved a nice soak the night we got there in the outside tub and the sky and stars were amazing. They had a lot of far off lightening (but no clouds until later) and made the soak quite wonderful. And the stars (some shooting)!! Downstairs there was a large bedroom and a sitting area. It had enough room that each of my 3 sons had their own bed. All of outside was screened and overlooked the river and rain forest. It rained the night we were there later and my sons were right up against the screens, but they never got wet. The outside shower was great. We all had to use that even though there was a really nice indoor shower as well. It was fantastic to be able to shower and see the rain forest and river at the same time. It was very private and I was never worried about that. The food was good although expensive, but very convenient. We went on the Black Hole drop. Fantastic! My husband and I had been rapelling before but my 3 teen sons had not. The walk/climb in and out was strenuous for we 50 year olds, but we made it and felt quite accomplished when we got back. I would highly suggest taking your time and enjoying the rappelling. My first son went down quickly and did not really enjoy the amazing caves and view. It is hard to explain how cool the drop is because you go off a cliff, but underneath there is a huge cave and rain forest all around. Two people go at the same time off the cliff. I wish my family had coordinated better. I was the one person that went with a stranger because of our party of 5. It ended up great. I had told the gentleman that I went with that I had read to go slow and enjoy the view. We did and we were close enough to take pictures of each other and trade cameras. It was somewhat harrowing, but really cool to have pictues that captured the fun. He even emailed me pictures later which was great. So I would highly suggest going with someone in your party to enjoy the rappelling together. It was really an incredible experience. We also went to the ATM cave but did that out of San Ignacio. That was also fantastic. The guides for the black hole tour made sure we were safe, which was the most important thing. Were they the best tour guides ever?- no, but the trip was incredible. They were nice but just did not explain things as well as some other guided tours. But like I say the day was wonderful!!

Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank FamilyofAdventurers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lafayette Hill
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2011

My family of four (two adults and two children aged 9 and 11) stayed there for four nights and must say the entire place exceeded our expectations. From the treehouse rooms to the food, adventures, staff and felllow travelers everything was great. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that Caves Branch supports the Belize National Chess team and during our stay several youths were around to play chess and interact with. The owners are champions of the youth in Belize and this is something they should be commended for providing opportunities and guidance to the Belize citizens.

The room was amazing! I had no idea that such a place existed. The craftsmanship of the woodworking within the Treehouse, the tile work, and the feeling of being one with nature was amazing. No TV, but the 8 foot high screened living room provided enough entertainment for the senses!

The andventures were challenging and fun. The Waterfall Cave exepedtion should not be missed. At times the guides seem to rush the group to the waterfalls, however more time to hear the signiificance of the caves to the Mayans and the geology can be had in the Cave Tubing Expeditions. Some of the adventures would not be possible in the US thanks to the litany of lawyers, however in Belize you are on your own., The best advice is to know your limits and not proceed if you feel that the adventure is beyond your physical capabitlities.

The food and dining was very nice. Fresh ingrediients and very nicely prepared meals. The highlight at mealtime was the discussions with our fellow travelers thanks to the :"family-style" dining.

Not sure if this place is for everyone. It is for you if you do not mind lizards and bugs in your room and no AC. It is for you if you are a down-to-earth and not expecting to be catered to as many Yucatan resorts in Mexico treat their guests. Overall, an excellant value that I would highly recommend to folks who like to leave the all-inclusive ships/resorts (which I personally despise) and seek their own way for a unique varied experiences that engages the local community.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Keith K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sierra Madre, California
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2011

My wife and 2 teenagers really enjoyed the hotel - We saw toucans in the wild! We were in a treehouse, really nice place, no a/c but ceiling fans and nice amenities. It is nicely located, closer to the airport and a lot of the activities than San Ignacio or parts south. Very friendly owner, Food was good but expensive!. We actually didn't take any of their tours - we looked on this site and found guides in advance, or just worked it out when we got there. And I am a control freak, but this was real easy. I estimate that we spent half of what the lodge was charging - we had a rental car and enjoyed the freedom of coming and going to the various locations - ATM ( FANTASTIC!!!), cave tubing, zipline, Xunatich//Cahal Pech all were easy to get to and easy to negotiate. We also drove to Belmopan for dinner - lots of restaurants, all good about 20 minutes away. Fun to deal with the local people too, they are generally very nice! ( and dinners were again about half of what it cost to eat there. That said, I would love to go back, Belize is a GREAT destination - speak English, use Dollars, real easy to get around!

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Stacie4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 August 2011

My wife and I stayed at Caves Branch for 4 nights. We took advantage of the many tour options. We did cave tubing (Abel was a great guide), the Black Hole Drop overnight trip (yes, we spent the night in a cave with 2 of the most awesome guides), and a trip to Tikkal (Radical was our guide). This was the one the best trips I've been on in a while. If you like adventure, free cold beer at the end of the day, and don't mind a bit of physical activity, this is the place for you. If you're looking for gourmet meals and pampering, you'll probably be disappointed.

  • Stayed June 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Gearjunkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Peterborough, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2011

We stayed here for 4 nights in July 2011. My wife and I absolutely loved it - it was our highlight in Belize! The lodge and gardens were gorgeous, and the adventures were fantastic. The cave-tubing, waterfall hike and the black hole drop were all great outings, run by experienced and caring guides. We loved the food and service, and meeting all of the other travelers at meal time. This is a must stay!!!

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank dwright21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2011

We stayed in a tree house far up on in the hills. The view of the valley and surrounding mountains was breathtaking. My wife and I sat each evening on the upstairs deck with our feet soaking in the jacuzzi with a Bellikin - just the perfect end to the thrilling days of exploration of the ruins, caves and rivers we enjoyed each day. In a tree a few feet from the deck were a family of Keel birds (similar to toucans).

Make no mistake, though, this is not a five star resort as you'd see in Cancun. There is no air conditioning and the odd bug will make its way in from the surrounding jungle. But if adventure is as important to you as is comfort, then the Caves Branches lodge will be just about perfect for you.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank EdWillis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge

Property: Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
Address: Mile 41.5 Hummingbird Highway | P.O. Box 356, Belmopan, Belize
Phone Number:
Region: Belize > Cayo > Belmopan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Belmopan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the lush rainforest of central Belize, Caves Branch Jungle Lodge offers visitors the opportunity to immerse in a culture of mid-range to extreme adventures. From the guest rooms that are open to the sights and sounds of the jungle, some of which are thatched in the ancient style of the Maya to our luxurious Treehouse suites, your experience should be something that must be experienced to be believed and once experienced, truly-never forgotten! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ian Anderson`s Caves Branch Jungle Hotel Belmopan
Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge Belize/Belmopan

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