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!
- 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