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“A wonderful beginning to our Belize journey!”
Review of Hidden Valley Inn

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Hidden Valley Inn
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
PA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A wonderful beginning to our Belize journey!”
Reviewed 30 August 2010

Arrived to Belize, and took a long drive to Cayo to check in to our first resort. Even though the drive seemed to be long, and bumpy to get out of Belize City into Cayo district it was all worth it! We arrived and were checked in. It felt very quaint and personable. It seemed as though they were waiting for us. They offered us some juice, and showed us the property. Showed us to our room, which was beautifully designed in a ranch decor, and explained the meal situation. We felt sooo pampered and at home, had great food at the resort for 3 nights. Even though it probably wasn't their local food, was very delicious. The first full day that we had, i had booked us a private meal and stay at the waterfall... Wow, it was probably the most romantic thing we did during our trip. We were driven to the entrance of the hiking path, spend less than 5 min waling down, and found a gazebo overlooking this amazing waterfall!!! They prepared lunch for us, with champagne.. It was sooo pretty to watch the waterfall, and best of all swim there! no one was around, it was ours for the day!!! I highly recommend do that ahead of time, since it quickly gets booked! We were later picked up and had time to relax at the jakuzzi! Enjoyed dinner last few nights. Hiked the largest waterfall the next day, was sooo tired, and relaxed. We love this inn, and plan to come in the future! Thank you! Altbregens

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank yasik815
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (68)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Charlotte, NC
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 August 2010

My wife and I stayed at Hidden Valley for 2 nights and 3 days in mid -July, and we are very Big fans, yes raving fans.
Adjacent to the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and the 1000' Water Falls, 2000 feet up in the Cayo District, Hidden Valley is over 7200 acres of rain forest, punctuated by more than 40 waterfalls and over 90 miles of groomed walking trails. You just need to grab a walking stick, take the Inn supplied map and radio, and get started.

We highly recommend the charter flight from Belize Int Airport and landing at the Hidden Valley airstrip- we were whisked away out of the Belize airport, our Canadian pilot Alicia couldn't have been better, and it saved us a half day's travel over bumpy roads. We were hiking in the Cayo the day we left Charlotte NC. (Daily non-stops to Belize, 3hr 15 min. Charter Belize Int airport to Hidden Valley 30 minutes)

Once there we found a first rate inn managed by English speaking locals, Elmer, Archie, Iris and our excellent Mayan guide Rick- the service was first rate (all had considerable training) and friendly, their English was excellent, and their knowledge of birds, the flowers and the archeology and history of the area was great. The food was excellent and plentiful. It's a good thing too, it's a long taxi ride to town for a 2nd choice!

They share the land with amazing flora and fauna- orchids I've only seen in flower shops, palm tree species I've never seen before, an amazing amount of birds, and the occasional wild boar and even rarer Jaguar. There is some logging going on, but not among your regular travels.

Our recommendation is that this is for a couple or a family interested in hilking, nature, and adventure- we hiked and swam every day-and were amazed every day. We visited the Mayan ruins of Caracol on one day trip, and since it is the low season- i.e. the rainy seasons, I think we got wet nearly every day. But no matter as the rain seemed to keep it cooler, and the water was crystal clear to swim in. We came back to a restful visit in the hot tub, a drink in the bar and a wonderful dinner.

Our 2nd recommendation is about your physical condition, be fit. These hikes involved a great deal of up and down hiking, following the river, so the better shape you are in, the easier it is and the more fun it is. My wife and I are in our early 50's and are runners, yet - we still took great quantities of IB prophen we'd brought with us.
3) Make generous use of Avon's Skin so Soft (provided by the Inn in your room) but take a bottle yourself for re-application on your hike) there are the black flys known as "No see'ems" No see'ems are no fun, thankfully I didn't get bit once.

We liked the off season- we shared the inn with a few other couples, a Yoga instructor the Inn had brought in for the guests, and the Peregrine Foundation was there tending to Peregrine falcons. That and I'd stay longer the next time- we were able to only hit the highest of highlights. One couple visited ATM from there-- one of Belizes's true treasures... and we only hiked about 7-8miles out of 90, there was much more to see and do.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank TerMac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 July 2010

My husband and I stayed here for the first half of our honeymoon before heading off to Ambergris. This hotel exceeded all of our expectations. The piece of land, to which you have free reign for hiking, is absolutely beautiful and if you like to bird watch there is an amazing assortment. The rooms are also wonderful. The standard room is spacious and clean with a fireplace. The rooms are also set up like little duplexes, so it is very private and you rarely see anyone else near the rooms.

The hotel is very secluded, so you are pretty much limited to their in house restaurant, but every meal we ate there was superb and we weren't able to beat it at the multiple restaurants we ate at on the island.

The staff of the hotel was also friendly and very helpful. Our guide to see some Mayan Ruins, Rick Romero, was so pleasant and knowledgeable. He made our excursion perfect.

We would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone and will in fact be travelling back in October.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank momorains
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scottsdale, AZ
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2010

What an amazing experience! 11 private waterfalls, some of which you can privately book for a day (champagne lunch included), some of which you can swim in, all of which are beautiful and breathtaking! Not to mention the plush, clean, comfortable private cabanas that you stay in. And don't forget the made from scratch food for breakfast, lunch (that they'll pack for you on excursions) and dinner. But most of all the super accomidating staff that really went above and beyond to make our stay the best I've EVER had!

Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank ryAZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 July 2010

Wow. This was seriously the most impressed I've ever been with service at a hotel. Misael, Tito, Bruce, Rick, Fredy -- the list of terrific people we met, goes on and on. These guys have service down to a science, and regardless of how peculiar the the request, they're happy to oblige. For instance, I went into the pool with my iPod Touch in my trunks pocket. Yep, it was soaked. I had read one time about a storing a wet iPod in uncooked rice to draw out the moisture, and I shared this with Misael. He was puzzled, but sure enough, he came out of the kitchen with a big container of white rice, and he stored my iPod (which didn't survive, but that's not the point) in the rice until we left.

The only possible downside to Hidden Valley is the three-hour drive from the Belize airport and the rocky drive through most of it. I mean, it's rough. But once you're there, it's a perfect hideaway. We did the Caracol tour with Rio On Pools and Rio Frio Cave, and we also took advantage of the private waterfall lunch. It's surreal how beautiful the countryside is in this area. Make sure you don't miss Butterfly Falls, which will be one of the most stunning things you've ever seen.

The food is amazing and new each day. They grow many of their ingredients on-site, and meals seem like an adventure (in a very good way) in themselves; you choose your dinner early in the day, and there are always some very pleasant surprises on the menu. One of our friends said a dinner at Hidden Valley was one of the best meals of his life. We took advantage of the four-night ruins and romance package, and meals were included within that. We were very happy to have meals prepaid, because that allows you to not worry about price, and just order what you like. Meals are so important at a place like this, because of the isolation, and Hidden Valley didn't disappoint.

Almost everything pales in comparison, though, to the service. We were so sad to leave Hidden Valley, and future hotels will be graded against what we experienced there. What a place.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sea_Pappy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 22 June 2010

We stayed at Hidden Valley for the last few nights of our honeymoon, and we flat out loved it. We just got back a few days ago, and I'm sitting in my office longing, longing to be back at HVI.
The good stuff:
(1) The hiking and trails are unbeatable. Just one breathtaking waterfall vista after another. Swimming under a waterfall - especially something as gorgeous as Butterfly Falls - is the stuff of life. Everyone should do this at least once. At HVI, my husband and I swam under waterfalls several times a day. There are 90 miles of trails, so lots of variety, and you're bound to see some kind of wildlife. You're on your own (unless you hire a guide), but the hotel gives you a two-way radio so you can call for a ride back to the Inn if you don't feel like hiking back. The Inn will also pack a picnic lunch for you if you ask. We did this our first day there and ate our lunch on a bridge over a creek. It was so romantic. I'll never forget it. And the food is GOOD.
(2) To repeat, the FOOD IS GOOD. Hearty, delicious, gourmet... The options are all fresh and local. And the bartender makes one hell of a mango daquiri with fresh cut up mangoes. And the coffee is fresh and grown and roasted there on the property.
(3) The staff was phenomenal - especially Misael and Elmer. They map out routes for you and talk you through which hikes to take. They were on hand for our every need, and they each took the time to introduce themselves and get to know us a little bit. It was funny, on our last day we did the new(ish) Cascade Trail, and recognized that a lot of the bridges and pools are named after current staff: Fredy's Trickle! Flavian's Bridge! Ofelia's Bath! We were especially touched that they left us a sweet note in our room congratulating us on our honeymoon, and gave us a gift certificate for drinks in celebration (which, damn it, we never used). I should also say that we had a bad incident right before we left for our honeymoon - My passport went missing just days before the wedding, and we had to delay our trip two days and shift the dates we stayed at HVI. We emailed them and Misael emailed back immediately and changed the dates of our stay with no trouble and no additional charge.
(4) The Inn itself is beautiful, and the rooms were soooo nice. We'd just gotten through staying a few days at something of a jungle lodge, where we had to go outside to get to the bathroom and often saw a lizard or giant spider in the bathroom with us. At HVI, we'd go out for some intense hiking and swimming and be all muddy and sweaty, and come back to a beautiful rainforest shower and a luxurious clawfoot tub, and fresh bathrobes, and then a screened-in porch (bug free! hooray!) with a soothing ceiling fan and a hammock. It's the perfect combination of exertion and relaxation.

The downsides (sadly, there are a few):
(1) Booking tours from HVI is much more expensive than booking them directly with a tour group in San Ignacio. This is probably in large part due to HVI's remote location. It's way off the beaten path. But even with the extra gas the prices are probably too high. For example, it's much cheaper to go on a tour to Caracol from San Ignacio than it is to go from HVI, even though HVI is over an hour CLOSER to Caracol than downtown San Ignacio. We knew this in advance, and stayed in an inexpensive, bare bones guest house in San Ignacio for three days and did as many tours as possible from there. We did ONE tour with HVI - a horseback riding trip. Mountain Riders (the ranch where we went riding) charges $48/person for 2.5 hours, but the total came out to nearly $200, which means that the nice man who owned the ranch and gave us the tour got only half of that money. I felt bad about that. Even with the 12% tax, I don't see why HVI's drop-off/pick-up fee should be so high. There are lots of hikes to do on the property, and if I had it to do over again, I would book the HB riding in town in San Ignacio and not do any tours from HVI.
(2) The food is pricey. It's delicious, but it's one of these places where there aren't any prices on the menus because I guess if you have to ask you probably can't afford it. If we'd known how expensive it was from the outset ($22 for a sandwich and fries - a good sandwich, but just a chicken sandwich), we might have shared a lunch or two rather than ordering different things. Eating elsewhere really isn't a realistic alternative, since you have to pay a lot to be dropped off or picked up anywhere, and HVI is extremely isolated. You certainly can't walk anywhere to get food. In the end I don't regret the money we spent on food because I like that much of the food is local, and it was delicious food. Further, HVI is this sprawling nature reserve and helps protect many species of plants and animals. I'm glad places like HVI exist. It's not a non-profit by any means, but I'd much rather my money go to a place like HVI.
(3) It's expensive to get to and from HVI. Yes, I know, all of my cons are about money, but I assume I'm not the only one out there that has to set a budget for vacations. We were staying in San Ignacio and needed to get to HVI (didn't rent our own car). HVI charges $85 for a pick-up, but we were able to find a local tour guide who would give us a ride for $50. (His name is Sergio, and he is THE BEST. Highly recommend him). To get back to Belize City, our only realistic option was to pay HVI for a transfer, to the tune of $200. I'm glad they offer this service, but I had so hoped there would be some other, less expensive option. It is what it is, but I think it's important to mention it since we didn't have a realistic notion of how far HVI is from everything, and didn't properly budget for this additional expense. This is sort of an issue all over central Belize, and isn't the fault of HVI.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HevUVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Avignon, France
Level Contributor
47 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2010

This hotel is just incredible: very good service, delicious food and wonderfull surrounding!

Stayed April 2009, travelled on business
Helpful?
Thank AlexisB1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hidden Valley Inn

Property: Hidden Valley Inn
Address: 4 Miles Cooma Cairn Road, Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Belize
Phone Number:
Region: Belize > Cayo > Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hidden Valley Inn 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hidden Valley Inn, a Luxury Life Style Boutique Hotel with only 12 rooms, is located on a 7200 acres private reserve in the Mountain Pine Ridge, Cayo District in Belize. This intimate eco resort offers quality accommodation, fine gourmet food and attentive service in a natural environment. The flora, wildlife and bird watching here are truly unique in the region. Guests staying at this Intimate Luxury Boutique Hotel enjoy exclusive access to over 90 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as many secluded Crystal Pools and Waterfalls set in a tropical rainforest. For those seeking romance, one of the waterfalls may be reserved exclusively for the day.Situated in the Maya mountains, also serves as a convenient base for visiting the various scenic and historical attractions of the area. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hidden Valley Hotel San Ignacio
Hidden Valley San Ignacio

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