What a great find to start off our trip in Belize! My husband had been researching the Mayan ruins and Tikal when we started looking at traveling to Belize and somehow ran across Ian Anderson's in the process. Set in the jungle, it's a beautiful, rustic adventure for everyone who stays! There are various accommodation types depending on your needs and the number of people in your party. We opted for the jungle bungalow since there were only 2 of us and it was great. All of the rooms are off little paths throughout the jungle, there are indoor and outdoor showers, hammocks, and they are peaceful and quiet unless the howler monkeys are up! There is no AC, no outlets, no Wi-Fi....so you really are enjoying nature!! Although it was quite hot while we were there, the ceiling fan circulated great air and it did get cool at night! There is a lovely pool area and it's a nice cool off after a hot day on your adventure trip! Meals are family style, you are assigned to a table and then everyone eats at once. Don't be alarmed by their obsession with hand sanitizer! The food is great...main dishes and side dishes with a little bit of Belizian flair mixed in! We even ate with Ian Anderson himself one evening! The bar is great and everyone is very friendly and efficient! As far as the adventures, there are many to choose from and you just need to use your judgement while knowing your own limits when picking what you want to do! We opted for the all day trip to Tikal which was amazing! It's about a 4 hour trip to get there but that includes a stop for breakfast (with the hands down most fabulous tortillas I have ever eaten and fresh pineapple juice that is so good I may have had an entire pitcher myself!) and another bathroom break. The ruins are amazing, I can't describe them any other way! We also did the river tubing/caving adventure and it too was fun. I do recommend Keen type sandals if you are doing this adventure...they say wear tennis shoes but unless you plan on throwing them in the trash afterwards don't do it! They will never dry in Belize and they will smell terrible anyway so either wear a pair that you can trash or wear something that has a good sole, covers your toes and can get easily washed! Neither adventure was strenuous, the Tikal trip involved walking on trails to the ruins and climbing them only if you wanted to! The river tubing one involved climbing in caves and using your arms as oars on the tube, children in our group had no trouble with any of this!
I think my only gripe about the whole experience was the check-out. They hand you the bill, along with a sheet to make recommendations and then a sheet to give tips to every possible person and then a sheet to donate to their chess club. And the person checking you out sits there and watches you fill things out. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to leave a tip because I had a great experience but I feel as though if a place wants to put tip sheets out there and expect you to fill it out every listed category, they should just add a service charge. My suggestion is to place a tip box on the desk and let people donate what they wish to that. The money can be divided evenly between employees and I'm not put in a spot where I get a dirty look for not tipping a category listed on the sheet. The same can be said for their chess club thing...a donation box goes a long way.
- 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