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“Most unique luxury lodge in all of Belize”

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Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Most unique luxury lodge in all of Belize”
Reviewed 24 October 2011

We did not make a reservation coming to Caves Branch and were treated so well by the staff that it made it hard to leave. The property is absolutely stunning, nestled right in the middle of the jungle and it has all the facilities of a luxury property. There is a well maintained pool and hot tub, a bar, gift shop, tour operations, buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner and separate cabana's, tree-houses and bungalow's giving you the feeling like you are all alone in the jungle.

We only stayed one night in a bungalow, but the atmosphere is amazing. During the day you can relax on a hammock on the deck, or take a shower in the indoor or outdoor shower. the beds are comfortable and king sized, and there are no windows, only screens. At night, the jungle is pitch black and alive with the sounds of crickets, frogs, birds and other nocturnal jungle creatures, you feel like you're camping in the middle of the jungle!

The lodge would be nothing without the amazing staff, and I have to say that Kareem Flowers (yes that's his actual name!) is one of the best, and most attentive, staff members I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The man is incredible and constantly went out of his way to make sure we had a good stay, even though we were only there for the night! I definitely recommend this lodge for anyone with a bit of an adventurous spirit.

Room Tip: Each room is isolated from one another, the bungalows are a good option. The tree-houses are a bit...
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank el_hombre_rico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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East Wenatchee
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 October 2011

I was looking around for a review of Ian's Cave Branch lodge to being back fond memories from your stay approx. 10 years ago.

First of all, when we went, my wife and I took our two boys, ages 12, and 10 along because we wanted them to experience life outside the State and to take them on an adventure (this was during the Indiana Jones movies were at their peak). We always wanted to go to Belize and by searching the internet found Ian’s. So, we decided to spend a week there and a week on Tobacco Key to experience the Caribbean Sea as well as having the reef right of the island.

We really enjoyed Cave Branch Lodge as it was rustic enough to give us that out in the middle of the jungle feel yet the feeling we were safe. The guides that took us on our “adventures” were great and we had a great time with them. No phones, TV, jungle cockroaches flying in during dinner all gave us a real sense of being out there.

It is a little disheartening looking at the pictures that Ian has changed his compound into a resort. Maybe he needed to do this to compete with our compounds but I am sure the feel that we experienced is gone. I mean, Pools, Jacuzzi and Waterfalls? Really? How sad! The accommodations look like hotel rooms rather than huts with “Bad Devil” spiders hanging around in the thatch roofs.

The only thing I can say is I am glad we visited there before the change.

Room Tip: If you didn't go ten years ago, you are going to a completely different place. Be sure to take...
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  • Stayed November 2010, travelled with family
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1 Thank BobnKlara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IanAnderson, Owner at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge, responded to this review, 3 November 2011
I am very disheartened at the comments by Bob in his “assumption” of what Caves Branch is today while admitting that his assumptions are based on a few pictures posted on Trip Advisor, not from any actual recent experience.

For the past 17 years and to this day, every night when I dine with our guests, I ask how do you like this or that.. or what do you think of this or that.. I ask is there anything missing, something we could improve upon.. How are the meals .. the adventures, the rooms.. every night for the past 17 years I have been asking.

Every single change that Caves Branch has made over the past 17 years of being in business has been based on guest suggestions but not after having thought out every change for years before actually making any changes. Nothing has ever been built or changed at Caves Branch without a minimum of two years taken to reflect on how the changes would effect Caves Branch .

When Caves Branch fist opened, our “compound consisted of a thatch leanto, my hand made clay cooking hearth, hand made picnic table made from bush stick, two outhouses and the river to bath in.

We built our initial reputation of “great adventures” with that setting.
Over the years, we built a couple of rooms here, there, then added running water, cold water showers, then hot, and finally, after 4 years of saying “NEVER NEVER NEVER” we built our first flush toilets; that took me 4 years to agree to that one. I thought that if we ever put a flush toilet into Caves Branch, we might as well shut down.. as it would take away much of the rusticness.

Then bit by bit, added nicer rooms, some with indoor toilets and showers, but not all, built nicer pathways, fixed our initial 1 kilo drive entrance, the Hummingbird Hwy was paved which saved over an hour of driving time to travel 12 miles to Belmopan, the capital. In the beginning it took 80 minutees to drive 12 miles.. now only 12 minutes.
Bit by bit over the years, yes we added amenities to provide for our guests expectations “at that time”

When bob and family visited, we already had flush toilets, hot water showers, electric fans in the rooms and some rooms already had bed side electric lights. Not quite as rustic as we had been years earlier or as much as he might like everyone to think. Was it an enthralling experience for he and his family.. absolutely !

Bob enjoyed open screen cabanas to enjoy all the sights and sounds of the jungle nights.. every one of our cabana’s is still open screened. The original bunkhouse is still here; The original Jungle cabanas are still here, all thatched as before.. as always. The suites that were built 13 years ago are still here, as are the bungalows.. all these rooms were at Caves Branch when Bob was here, of course the thatch roofs have been replace twice since then, but such is the life of organic thatch roofs.

Bob enjoyed the open dining room experience, where flying creatures from the depths of the underworld still visit nightly and tarantula still make guest appearances in the dining room. the dining room is newer but still totally open air and still with family seating to enjoy the company of visitors from all over the world and share in the stories of each days adventures and believe me, those stories are just as grand as they were 10 years ago.

Bob enjoyed no phones in the rooms, we still don’t have any phones in the rooms; No TV, still no TV. Swimming in the river.. still there.. lush vegetation, far more than ever.. more butterflies, more dragon flies, more lightning bugs and lantern beetles than every before. Now we have Belize’s finest orchid garden as well.

Meal service .. still a buffet set up,, but the food is much more extensive than ever before..
I’m not quite sure what Bob is referring to when he suggests that “I am sure the feel that we experienced is gone”? Everything seems to be the same, just nicer..
Oh, the pool.. right ! Originally the Caves Branch River went dry for two months every dry season. Over the years, that dry period had lengthened until it has been dry up to 5 months due to climate changes. Over the years guests have repeatedly as us for a pool so that in the dry season they would be able to swim. We thought about it for almost 3 years, then decided that yes, we would build a pool as our guests were requesting it. I really think we built a very VERY nice pool and warm tub.. so do our guests.

Every night after dinner at least a dozen or more guests retire to the pool , sip a glass of wine and look above to the universe of stars in the jungle night.. an AMAZING VIEW.
Any addition to Caves Branch was never made to keep up to the Jone’s next door, as Bob suggests, but infact because our guests en mass, had been requesting those changes and after a number of year of contemplating those changes we did go ahead with some.
Although Caves Branch is not “exactly” like Bob left it.. I think its still pretty a amazing place ! Caves Branch is all about pleasing our guests, creating an incredible experience for them.. so if that makes us commercial.. well, I guess we are.. because that is what we are about.. total guest satisfaction !

All the best Bob,
Ian.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2011

The owners are wonderfully warm, friendly, and welcoming. The well-maintained plantings around the huge, jungle-surrounded property are unendingly beautiful -- the most beauty you will find inland although the whole interior is enchanting, (and of course the coast is beautiful and the islands are stunning). You best not try to walk anywhere on the grounds without your camera, and at dusk, your mosquito repellent, and a flashlight to catch a good look at any frogs or toads that cross your path. Ask for a morning bird walk too. while the "other" blue hole and surrounding park a short walk away offer you the best of Belize's natural beauty.

We were glad we didn't have the meal package although it would work for most people. The dinner routine took 2 to 2.5 hours. It fits in nicely if you're doing their day trips with them every day-- sort of a big party atmosphere with all the people you are getting to know. We enjoy some socializing but prefer more time to ourselves. It gets dark rather early and there's not a whole lot to do but go to bed, but gets light early too so we enjoyed being out and on our way to an adventure before breakfast was available. We were allowed to get coffee and cereal boxes though.

We got off on the wrong note with their two main waiters. They gave us differing advice about the potential allergens in the food, seeming first insulted when they learned we asked a 2nd time, then insulted when we went into the kitchen because of differing advice, and things never really cleared up there. They were abruptly courteous with us the rest of our stay.
My guys have extreme allergies and need accurate information. Some places work for us, some don't. We all ate like kings at Isla Marisol the week before (and it was a good thing since that was the only food around out in the middle of the ocean).

Their dinner setup is lovely but we enjoyed trying different little spots around the nearby towns. We had a rental car so we could do this, and do some of the tourist sites on our own.

We did a couple of their adventures also. People really enjoy them. The caves are amazing.

Might want to double check on the wifi availability if it's important to you.They said they were "fixing" it but it looked like possibly a very long term project. We never got any. Cell phones don't work there either. Really nothing to sweat. What more to you really need when you're in paradise? We were trying to meet up with a couple staying somewhere else and that was quite challenging.

Room Tip: Rooms are delightfully speical --- nicer than imagined. We were in a bungalow. All rooms are tucked...
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
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1 Thank lfpalmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moab, Utah
Level 5 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 October 2011

Caves Branch Jungle Lodge is owned and operated by Ian Anderson. I have known him for many years as we used to house our guests here back in the mid 90s. I recently re-visited Caves Branch and now I can say that his place is stupendous, he has made some impressive improvements. He has a huge greeting center for day tourists, a giant open-air bar and dining area, a huge pool with two waterfalls, 5-star treehouse accommodations (!!!!!wow!), a botanical garden with an impressive orchid collection and all plants labeled and described, a search and rescue training program for remote Belize, and a chess camp for Belizean kids that they fund in part by selling soap they make right on the property using rainforest ingredients collected nearby.

Room Tip: Stay in the treehouses! They are amazing!
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank SlickrockAdventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moab, Utah
Level 5 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 September 2011

Caves Branch Jungle Lodge is owned and operated by Ian Anderson. I have known him for many years as we used to house our guests here back in the mid 90s. I recently re-visited Caves Branch and now I can say that his place is stupendous, he has made some impressive improvements. He has a huge greeting center for day tourists, a giant open-air bar and dining area, a huge pool with two waterfalls, 5-star treehouse accommodations (!!!!!wow!), a botanical garden with an impressive orchid collection and all plants labeled and described, a search and rescue training program for remote Belize, and a chess camp for Belizean kids that they fund in part by selling soap they make right on the property using rainforest ingredients collected nearby.

Room Tip: Choose the treehouses! The view is stunning.
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank SlickrockAdventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Caye Caulker, Belize
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
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
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
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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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