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“Good, clean, low-impact fun!!”
Review of Cotton Tree Lodge

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Cotton Tree Lodge
Ranked #4 of 18 Punta Gorda B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 April 2009

What an amazing place Belize is! And Cotton Tree Lodge made the experience even better by directing us to the best spots for birdwatching, cave-exploring, snorkeling, kayaking and swimming. The trip can be as relaxing (and what a place to relax!) or as tour-packed as you want. As an "eco-sensitive" lodge, Cotton Tree is sensitive to both the environment and the locals who live in the area. One can visit without out feeling intrusive and colonial. There are many scheduled activities, but the staff is willing to accommodate special interests (we wanted to see birds and kayak).
The cabanas are a perfect combination of comfort, coziness, and simplicity. The "luxury" is provided by mother nature: waking to a myriad of bird calls, hearing haunting howler monkey calls at night, a hissing rain in the early morning.
My advice to travelers to Cotton tree is to make sure to remind them of any dietary requirements (vegetarian, food allergies) when they are packing lunches for outings. Also, bring your bug repellent. We saw some nasty clusters of bites while we were there. Be aware that there are often families staying at the lodge, so plan a romantic getaway at a time when there won't be screaming kids around (i.e. not spring break!)

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank oluluta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 April 2009

My husband and I spent Valentine's Day 2009 at Cotton Tree Lodge, as part of Cotton Tree's Chocolate Week. It was an unforgettable Valentine's day, perfect from waking up to the sound of rain on our cabana, to reminiscing by the campfire to the sound of nearby howler monkeys at midnight. Our morning began with picking cacao pods and planting cacao trees in Cotton Tree's sustainable garden. We roasted beans, made cocoa butter, and completed our own chocolate bars under the direction of Vilma, who runs Cotton Tree's small chocolate making facility. While waiting for the chocolate to harden into the molds, we visited a local family in Santa Ana, who demonstrated how to make tortillas totally from scratch. We returned to Cotton Tree and enjoyed the beauty of the tropical flowers against the backdrop of deep blue clouds after the rainstorm. Our Valentine's Day happy hour included mudslides made with local rum and the chocolate we had processed ourselves. Dinner with all the guests seated together, was topped off by flourless chocolate cake, again made with our own chocolate. We were fortunate to spend Chocolate Week at Cotton Tree, but anytime would be a great time to visit this rain forest hideaway.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank carolsviews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2009

My family was a bit worried about "eco-resort" being shorthand for second-rate rooms and a stripped-down experience. Cotton Tree is the opposite -- it's a near-ideal place with some of the best service I have experienced at a resort. It manages to be comfortable and upscale (truly hot water and private bathrooms in clean cabanas, great food, even internet access if you must) while not losing an authentic environmentally-conscious setting. You can really experience in comfort in a less-touristy area the real culture of Belize.
It's not Disneyland, and if you want satellite TV, a beach front room, crowds, and shopping, don't go. It's clean, but there are occasional insects -- it really is a rain forest. If you want a slower paced family vacation (my 7 year old loved the beach and the river swims especially) with a strong authentic cultural experience, it's near perfect.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank jcn2045
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 March 2009

My partner and I spent 4 nights/5 days at the resort in March 2009. The service is top notch. They plan your airflight for you and pick you up at the airport, even when we ended up coming in on an earlier domestic flight. The food is very good and they had no problem accommodating our vegetarian requests. There are a variety of free daily activities, from kayaking to horseback riding. Also, each day they offer two or three activities away from the resort. Our favorites were a trip to watch red macaws and a trip to a cocao farm where you learn how the cocao is grown, sample crops grown, and roast cocoa beans into dark chocolate which you take back with you and also make into a hot chocolate.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Roger R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2009

Howler monkeys howling in the trees, beautiful / elegant/ rustic cabanas all with locally handmade furnishings situated on the edge of a creek. This is a beautiful wonderful place, good homemade food, trips and adventure available nearby, good people , friendly warm atmosphere dedicated to self-sustainable farming. Taste the chocolate they make--delicious

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank Juliespeak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2009

Cotton Tree Lodge is an amazing place. Located in a non-tourist area of Belize, the lodge wisely includes all meals, plus visitors have the choice of a rate which includes a daily tour, or a rate without. Unless you just want to sleep in a hammock all day, take the rate with the tour! They take guests to a wide range of interesting places -- an organic cacao farm, with chocolate making; tortilla preparation, beginning with grinding the corn; Mayan ruins; a Garifuna village, etc. The local people are extremely welcoming, as are all of the staff.

Cotton Tree bills itself as an eco-lodge, and for the most part I think they live up to their claim. A lot of the vegetables and eggs served are raised organically at the lodge; they use a combination of solar power and generators for electricity, and they have composting toilets. Some of these things require a little adaptation from guests who are used to the typical American lifestyle -- hair dryers are discouraged, as they are energy hogs, and nothing should be flushed that hasn't gone through you. All paper products in the trash can, please.

The food was wonderful -- far above what I would have expected in such a remote place. Breakfast was buffet, but lunch and dinner were plated meals, with dinner preceded by hors d'oeuvres in the evening. The serving sizes were fine, probably a little more than most women eat, but it's certainly possible to leave what you don't want. And they accommodate vegetarian diets.

The grounds are gorgeous -- elevated walkways between the main lodge and the cabanas (it floods in rainy season) -- with lots of interesting flowers, trees, and shrubs. The citrus trees in particular attract wonderful birds, some local and some North American birds spending the winter in the south. The warblers were everywhere at the end of February.

The only thing that visitors might need to think about is that jungles have lots of insects and spiders, and there is nothing that can be done about it. Because of their environmental approach, Cotton Tree does not use insecticide sprays in the cabanas, which means that you will see some insects and spiders in there with you. If you are not comfortable shooing them out, the staff will do it for you. Fortunately, other than the mosquitoes, the bugs want even less to do with you than you do with them, and in addition to good screens, all the beds are equipped with nets, so nothing will sneak in bed with you at night. And the good side of no sprays for insects is that you aren't breathing the fumes or touching the residue either.

In all, a really wonderful place

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Virginia_Lee7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2009

Attractive, small hotel in which each room is a separate building, with screens and mosquito nets. Staff is eager and friendly. The eco-friendly spirit is manifest by general lack of illumination at night. Menu does not include choices, but they do honor special requests (e.g. vegetarian). Daily trips to nearby tourist sites and subsistence-farming Mayan villages involve travel on rutted dirt roads. I'd probably be more enthusiastic had my stay been 3-4 days instead of 7.

  • Stayed: February 2009
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3  Thank hptn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cotton Tree Lodge

Address: Moho River, Punta Gorda, Belize
Region: Belize > Toledo District > Punta Gorda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Punta Gorda
Price Range: £41 - £159 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Cotton Tree Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our eco-lodge is hidden between the Moho River, the rain forest, and Mayan villages in southern Belize. Stay in beautiful thatch cabanas with private bathrooms and verandas. Enjoy delicious cuisine prepared with organic produce from our garden and the jungle around us. Try kayaking, birding, swimming, and yoga on the grounds. Connect with the people and culture of Belize on daily tours to villages, Mayan ruins, cacao farms, caves, waterfalls, and more. Or simply relax in a hammock all day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cotton Tree Hotel Punta Gorda
Cotton Tree Lodge Belize/Punta Gorda

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