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“Lots of fun, albeit pretty pricey”

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Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Lots of fun, albeit pretty pricey”
Reviewed 17 August 2014

So - we just got back from an amazing trip to Belize, and spent four nights in a Jungle Bungalow. I'll start with the all of the good things:

The lodgings are quite lovely. While this is advertized as a "rustic" retreat - the accomodations are quite nice. The bed is comfy, the fans work well, the bathrooms are very nice and the cleaning crew leaves lovely towel art daily. How can you not love that? Yes, there will be an occasional bug/spider. It's the jungle! The outdoor showers are a nice touch. Also, the pool is amazing - we had a great time enjoying it one day. And, there are really two pools, so if one is really busy, you can go to the less busy lower pool. We also very much enjoyed the hottub at night. Turns out most of the travelers when we were there got tired right after dinner, and for several of the evenings, we were able to enjoy the hottub by ourselves. Unlike most hottubs I've been in, it is not super hot - which is a plus when you are in tempatures over 90 degrees! Also - the plant life - is - AMAZING! They have really done a stunning job. It's gorgeous.

The staff - everyone seemed very friendly and inviting. Also, we decided to lay low one day and not go on an "adventure" - and we had the pleasure of meeting/having lunch with Ian and Ella, who are really delightful and friendly.

The "adventures" - the ones we went on (cave tubing, zip-lining, Xunantunich/Cahel Pech) were a lot of fun - although watch out to avoid the cruise-ship crowds! Yikes. We luckily only caught them in the last two caves, and during zip-lining, but unless you like having to watch your guide yell over all the others, try to avoid cruise ship days on certain adventures.

Food. I researched the heck out of places before we left, and I saw a few people say they were disappointed in the food. I felt quite the opposite. It was a great variety and consisted of several courses. Sure, I'm not the pickiest of eaters - but, my boyfriend is pretty darn picky - and he found plenty to eat at each meal.

So - what would I improve?

The price. This place is pricey. I stayed at a similar place in Brazil that had air conditioning - and over four nights - it was about $600 cheaper (and, it also included "adventures"). Also - I was lucky enough to find someone mention a groupon before I went to Belize - and was lucky enough to get one (which basically cut about 40% off the price - and the place in Brazil was still $600 cheaper (and the "travel" to/from the resort was included in their price). I really love Ian's resort, but wish it was cheaper!

The shower. So, I never complained to anyone about this - and don't know whether there was anything that could have been done regardless - but, our hot/cold water didn't mix in our shower - and thus it was either FREEZING or BURNING. It certainly cut down on the length of the showers we took - which I guess is good for conserving water - so, silver lining. Also, I decided to venture out once to the outdoor shower, only to find the cold water didn't work. I then noticed a spider on the hot water knob, and decided that I'd stick with indoors anyway.

And - so, I KNOW this is the jungle - and I know this is "rustic" - but, oh how I wish there was air conditioning! But, hey - I knew ahead of time, and so do you - but, be warned. The jungle - is hot and humid. The fan works well, and certainly helps. But yeah - it's still hot.

Did I love it? Yes. If I were doing it over again, I would stay here. There is nothing quite like being woken up in the middle of the night by howler monkeys, or tubing through caves. It was great. On my budget, I won't be going back too soon - but, I would go back. But, definitely look to see if you can grab a groupon!

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jfoster101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Brooklyn, New York
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2014 via mobile

My husband and I went here for a five-nite honeymoon package and absolutely loved it. It was really unlike anyplace else we'd ever been, and I highly recommend it!

The cabins are beautiful, and put you right in the middle of nature. All nite long we heard insects and birds and monkeys right outside the screens. For being rustic, they're wonderfully well-appointed, with tons of room, and the outdoor shower is a huge plus.

The staff was welcoming, professional, and well-informed. We did multiple adventure excursions (waterfalls, cave tubing, trip to Tikal, Guatemala) and have only great things to say about how the trips were run.

The food was delicious (and there's so much of it!) and the unlimited local drinks that come with the honeymoon package is a huge plus.

We were so sorry to leave on our last day, and are already dreaming about when we can go back.

Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank skittles10001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Huntington Beach, California
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2014

We stayed for 3 nights in a treehouse. The room itself was beautiful, multilevel, open air with great views of the jungle and river, appointed very nicely with wood and pottery decorations. The breakfast and dinners were good. We did 2 adventures: cave tubing and the waterfall trip. The cave tubing was fun, start off paddling upstream into the cave (not as difficult as it sounds, the river is very slow moving) and then you get out, alternating walking and floating deeper into the cave. Very small fruit bats are all over the place. Inside the cave our guide, Carlos, gave us a very nice history of the Maya who made use of all the caves in the area. You then reverse course and alternate walking and floating out of the cave. This adventure is capped off at a spot where you can jump into the river from a spot 15-20' high. Good fun. The waterfall trip is definitely hi adventure. Walking, crawling, stooping, shimmying, and yes, climbing deep into a cave surrounded by some of the most stunning stalactite/stalagmite formations you'll ever see. At the far end of the hike, you make 2 legit waterfall wall climbs of ~10 to 15'. I had 2 kids with me ages 9 and 11 and the guides were great with them.....when the guides spotted any moment of uncertainty, they were extremely quick to help them, without depriving them of the adventure and accomplishment. Once done climbing, you reverse course and jump down(!) the waterfalls you just climbed......super fun and a trip I won't ever forget. Abel is a true pro, and his years of experience guiding this trip definitely show.

The people that work at the lodge--Anthony, Pedro, and numerous others do a nice job of making every evening seem special. Nice place and experience, and I have no problem recommending it for those who are looking for a top notch jungle adventure.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
1 Thank Floydbird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Texas
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2014

Our family of 5 went to Caves Branch to celebrate our oldest child's graduation from high school! On the drive from the airport the landscape went from basic to wow once we hit the mountains. The grounds of CB are beautiful and very well kept. We stayed the first two nights in a jungle cabana and our 3rd night we were upgraded to a 2 bedroom tree house. The pluses of the cabana was that it was an easy walk from the dining hall, pool area, and the outdoor shower was huge and nicely landscaped. We had two hammocks on our porch. The negatives were that the water pressure was poor and there wasn't much hot water and strangely enough they stocked it with one ply toilet paper while we had extra soft charmin in the tree house. The positives of the tree house is that is was gorgeous, nicely appointed with not only ceiling fans but also standing fans. The outdoor shower was little but had great water pressure. Dining was a wonderful experience with interesting foods to try and getting to meet new people. We loved being assigned to tables with other people! You would set with another room number for dinner and then breakfast, then you would be assigned someone else. We enjoyed meeting several great young couples. The adventures were wonderful, Pedro led us on both our cave tubing and our Mayan ruin tour. Both adventures met all of our expectations. All of the staff were wonderful, Carmen, Pedro, Anthony and Chef Jay all stick out in our memories. We would certainly recommend Caves Branch! Things you should know: there is no air conditioning, there are bugs, the climb to the tree houses is quite a workout, some of the food is adventurous in itself (cow foot soup), you will awaken to birds calling and sunshine at 5:30am, you will fall asleep early after you go on excursions.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Travelinfine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Micco, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
162 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2014

We went to this jungle lodge and adventure outfitter with our adult (25+) year old kids. We loved everything about it. Food, activities, accommodations, transfers, staff...just everything. We travel quite a bit but this was our first adventure type vacation. We are now on the hunt for the next place to vacation and try new and adventurous activities. It is a lodge/company that will work for any age. There were families with small kids, honey-mooners, 50+ travelers and older. Highly reccomended for anyone looking for this type of trip. FYI--no AC but it is truly NOT needed. Fans, drinks, pool and fun in the jungle makes it all worthwhile.

Room Tip: Get one of the treetop houses. They are up in the canopy of the rain forest. Do not miss one of th...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank FLtravel0330
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pleasant Ridge
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2014

I first discovered Caves Branch back in ~1998 when it was very small and rustic. Ian was a fixture there, and we had just missed the pet monkey that he used to have there (good stories, though). My roommate and I had plenty of money and loved to scuba dive and travel so we set up a trip to Belize. The first half was on Ambergris Caye for diving and the second part was in the jungle at Ian Anderson's. The web site had some excursions that sounded both amazing and challenging so it seemed like something that was right up our alley. We did the cave tubing and Black Hole Drop -- both were awesome. We stayed in the most basic of the accommodations, the jungle cabana that was divided in two and "shared" with other guests. The best part of the stay wasn't even the awesome surroundings and activities but really the people we met. This includes the awesome staff that spend lots of time with the guests just talking and having a good time... And of course also the variety of guests that you meet from all around the world. I told myself that whenever I found the right lady and got married I would want to come back to Belize (and to Caves Branch) for my honeymoon.

In 2003 I got married and we came for our honeymoon as I had hoped one day I would. Not only was I happy to be back and to share the great experience with my new wife but many improvements had been done since I had been there last! There was a new style of room that had its own shower (as opposed to the jungle showers out in the jungle -- WHICH ARE AWESOME). We tried this one out and really liked it, but we still used the jungle showers most of the time because they are just the best thing ever. Again we met great people and had the best time imaginable. We knew we would be back. We did the Crystal Cave tour, hiking thru the jungle to get there and back, and then hiking in the cave included climbing up a waterfall.

Several years later we booked another trip. Lo and behold, more and SIGNIFICANT improvements! This time there was a pool and hot tub area (awesome) and also treetop suites which we opted for. Now these things are better than anything I have ever experienced; you are actually WAY up at tree level and you hear the wildlife (monkeys, etc.) in the trees next to you and even walking on your roof at times. Not only that but these things are top notch. A fresh coffee/tea/snack tray is brought to you in the morning, which is an extra special touch that is just icing on the cake. Then you come down for an amazing breakfast to fuel your active (or not) day ahead. We did the Crystal Cave tour again, but the water levels were different this time (varies a lot throughout the season) so this time we were able to dive OFF the waterfall on the way back out of the cave. Different than the first time but equally awesome.

Most recently, in 2013 we did our 3rd (my 4th) trip to Belize. This time instead of Ambergris we tried Placencia, but of course we still came to Caves Branch. More improvements and more treetop suites added. Another great time -- the best part of our trip because the weather for Placencia was mostly rain and no fun. The Crystal Cave tour was not possible when we were there because the river was too high from rain, so we did some ruins that we had toured on a previous trip. The ruins are different each time too, because excavation continues slowly but surely over time. Also, each guide is different and you get new tidbits of interesting information every time. You also remember some of the cool things that you might have forgotten.

I cannot recommend Caves Branch enough... Breathtakingly beautiful environment (enclave of civilization nestled in a rich and thriving jungle). Professional, helpful staff that are well trained, knowledgeable, and amazingly friendly. Great selection of activities -- most have some challenge and some have high degrees of challenge so how far you go is up to you. Awesome accommodations with little details that you don't expect in this environment. I am impressed with all the little things every time I go. Finally, don't expect to be glassed in here, watching nature from your protective bubble. Caves Branch embraces nature instead of insulating from it -- this is why you go here. You will have screens in your living quarters, don't worry about that part, but the rest is very natural and respectful of the environment. It reminds me of Jurassic Park where things are built to blend in and look natural, while still bringing elements of comfort and even luxury.

I have mentioned staff, and there are many on the staff from guides to dinner to drivers. They are all extremely respectful, friendly, and helpful. I have never had a bad experience with a single one of them in all my trips here. As far as guides, one I will mention is Abel -- he was there in 1998 when I first visited and we had a great time with him and Walter in our overnight cave hike. I'll never forget the fun and laughs we had. Every time I go back, Abel is still working there (he now heads up all the trips/excursions) and we laugh about some of the stuff from that first trip. At the same time, we all make new memories experiencing all the wonderful things that the area has to offer. The guides are very good at bringing your attention to the little things you might normally miss as you, say, trudge through the jungle hot, sweaty, and buggy. The guides and highly trained, know their environment, and impart some of their rich knowledge to you along the way.

Can you tell how I feel about this place? I love the experience every time and will continue to come back again and again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I always do.

Room Tip: Every room is a good room, but the accommodations get more luxurious and enjoyable as you scale up...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jay F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2014

Nice accommodations in the jungle. Be sure that's what you want--it's not a resort, but has many of the amenities of a resort. The best part is the EXCELLENT staff. Everyone from the drivers to the front desk to the kitchen and of course the adventure guides bent over backwards to be helpful. We did the Black Hole and Cave Waterfalls for adventures. As an older (over 50) woman with a teenage son, I wasn't sure how they would accommodate us both, but they very much did--the guides (especially Carlitos, but all were great) helped me as much as I needed, but let him figure it out. We both got the full experience. It was super cool to see tarantulas and blue morpho butterflies in the wild. All the guides were so knowledgeable. We also went to Tikal, which is very much worth the long day. The breakfast and lunch in Guatemala were different from what we had at the lodge. Remember to stay hydrated!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Anne R
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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