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“Out of the ordinary adventure.” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge

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Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Duluth Ga.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Out of the ordinary adventure.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 November 2011

My Wife and I stopped for a night and day at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. It was one of our most intriguing outings we've done anywhere. The buffet dinner was delicious as was the breakfast, but then the fun really got started. It's a good thing the Cabana was so comfortable and we slept like logs, because we needed the energy to enjoy the 'Cave Tubing'. The river water was not nearly as cold as what we are accustomed to hear in the North Georgia mountains, so that was a welcomed surprise. After about 20-30 minutes of pedaling our way up stream, we were guided through some truly astonishing sites/sights inside the caves. It has to be one of the most unusual places we have ever eaten lunch. If you're adventuress in the least, don't be afraid to give it a go!

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Thank OBIJUANDuluthGa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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832 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (311)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
atlanta
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2011

I visited Caves Branch 11 years ago and am writing this review from their property - as i decided to come back. With all due respect, I think you need to remove your post as it is not fair to them and more importantly, any travelers researching to visit this gem.

They did not commercialize themselves by any means. Yes, they made some improvements - but I would say these are "welcomed" and they did not take away from the overall experience in any way - I would say they enhanced your jungle experience. You mentioned you liked the rustic feeling of the jungle, well they brought more jungle for you to have.

1) The gardens they planted around the grounds are beautiful, everyone is commenting on them. They include so many exotic plants, local to the region we have never seen before & probably wouldn't if not for this. And If you cannot figure out a plant, from the picture book they have up in the "lobby," you can personally ask Mr. Chan - the individual responsible for such beauty.
2) The pool and hot tub are a most definite welcome....The hot tub is perfect for enjoying after one of the many excursions where you use muscles you didn't know you had! This allows you to revamp them for the next days trek.

They took great thought into how to incorporate these into their lodge. It is not a huge pool, lined with chairs on top of one another you find at a resort. It is entwined into the lodge's layout, atmosphere and the jungle. The design and placement definitely took a lot of thought.

3) Accommodations - Nothing "commercialized" here either......you have the basic bunk house with the same outdoor shower with the leaf "shower head" they had when you visited, where people with private showers still enjoy trying out.

It is nice that they added the suites & tree houses - for the guests that want a little more luxury in the jungle. Again, they do not have the amenities found in a resort. You still enjoy the intimacy of the jungle - there aren't any TVs or coffee pots,etc. You do have a private outdoor shower (and if you rather, and indoor shower), a comfy sitting area & a spectacular view of the jungle from your "tree house." Yes, a literal tree house....where else can you spend the night in a grown-up tree house.

4) Meals - family style! The food is great & the people we met are fabulous! we actually met a couple we are going to continue our vacation with after Ian's - heading to Amgergris. Some people like family style, where you are mingling with all the guests....and some may not. I do with this ambiance!

I had to cut the Meals and the rest of this short bc, like I mentioned, I am at Ian's right now, for my 2nd visit......and others are waiting to use the internet. But I urge you to remove/amend your review....And those of you considering visiting Ian Anderson's Cave Branch - I highly recommend it (and over any other lodge in the area).....It is definitely an experience not to be missed.....

Room Tip: Fitness Center - I am referring to the outdoor adventures!!!! Beats any indoor gym....
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank charterprincess2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Monica, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 November 2011

This place was such a find! It was situated in the middle of the jungle but within easy reach from a major Highway. What we loved most about the place were our accommodations. There are several different levels of lodging but we chose the best, being the canopy treehouse. It was beautiful. Situated high above a babbling river, our cabin was a very large split level with a raised bedroom and screened in living room which could accommodate an additional person or two. This screened in feature was fabulous. It was like living in the trees. We heard all sorts of jungle sounds throughout the night. A night-time jungle rainstorm with thunder and lightning became a very exciting experience as our cabin was being pelted by by torrential rain. The furnishings were comfortable and aesthetic and the actual structure interior and bathroom was made from local woods and stone. Besides having a beautiful stone bathroom with a shower, there was also an private outdoor shower built in the treetops. That was fun! There aren't many options for meals other than their buffets, but that was nice in itself giving us the chance to mingle and talk to other guests. The pool was a beautiful place to hang and cool off after a day of hiking. They also have a thriving business providing caving and jungle adventures as well as other excursions in Belize (Belize is a very small country and its easy to get from one area to another). There's a beautiful large greenhouse on the property full of jungle flora for the guests to enjoy. The owner was in the process of making fabulous home-made botanical soaps for the guest rooms and for sale. We don't usually get the priciest accommodations when we travel, but this was money well spent!

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank travelbuggy15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver
Level Contributor
25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank el_hombre_rico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East Wenatchee
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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 Contributor
29 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lfpalmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moab, Utah
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SlickrockAdventures
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 11 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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