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“One of the most memorable places I have stayed” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Banana Bank Lodge & Jungle Horseback Adventure

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Banana Bank Lodge & Jungle Horseback Adventure
Banana Bank, Belmopan, Belize   |  
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Hotel amenities
Jacksonville, FL
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“One of the most memorable places I have stayed”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2011

I won't soon forget my stay at the Banana Bank Lodge. First there are the owners - the Carrs, who are American ex-pats who have lived in Belize since the 1970s. Mr. Carr is a former rodeo cowboy from Montana, and Mrs. Carr is an artist of some reknown in Belize. She designed many of the buildings on the grounds, and it shows that they were designed by an artist. My room had a beautiful carved mahogany headboard and a stained glass window but no night stand, towel rack, or toilet paper roller.

One of the best things about Banana Bank was the service, which was excellent. The staff made sure I was able to schedule trips I would enjoy, my guides were on time, including one early morning departure to get me connected to a tour out of San Ignacio, and everyone was friendly and helpful. While I was at Banana Bank, I had a day out to see Xunantunich, a couple of horseback rides through the jungle, a river tubing trip (the Lodge is located on the bank of the Belize River), and a visit to Tikal.

Another good part of my stay was the food, which was basic, but well-prepared. Many of the vegetables served at meals were grown on property. It's a good thing that the food is good because it's more than 2 miles to the nearest paved road. Luckily, unless you are really into partying, most of what you need is at the Lodge, including a little cafe that serves drinks and light snacks and where one can often find interesting people to talk to.

I do have a few complaints about the Banana Bank Lodge. The main one was the warped window in my room that would not close all the way, so most of the AC escaped and my room never got cool. Also this is not a great place if you like to sleep late. Not only does the sun rise very early, but there are no blackout curtains, and the birds in the aviary start squawking. I never could sleep past 6:30 AM.

If you stay at Banana Bank, say "Hello" to Tikatoo, the jaguar who lives in an enclosure on the path to the dining hall. As I said, this is a most unusual hotel.

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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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91 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    51
    22
    9
    4
    5
See reviews for
31
26
3
5
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Lynnfield, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2011

My husband and I spent the first two nights of our first trip to Belize (Cayo District) at the Banana Bank and were very pleased. The setting is lovely and the staff is eager and flexible. We enjoyed traditional home-cooked meals which accomodated the vegetarian among us and took advantage of the river tour and horse back riding. We met other lovely guests and felt very well taken care of and relaxed. The pool area is beautiful and the staff are very friendly and knowledgeable. The Carrs have created a wonderful inn/ranch and we feel lucky to have been guests here.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston MA
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2011

If you are looking for a genuine, quality Belizean experience with endless possibilities for a stay of any length, you will feel at home here with John, Carolyn and Leisa Carr and their attentive and caring staff. The Carrs have developed Banana Bank Lodge over a period of many years and it reflects their values and their personalities.

Although there are handsome buildings with a somewhat colonial flavor(photo), we chose to spend 14 days in one of their well-appointed cabanas (photo) and ate most of our meals on site. The kitchen also willingly provided a substantial lunch to go when requested. Three imaginative and seasoned cooks delighted us with a wide variety of fresh fruits (fresh squeezed orange juice every morning, a real treat) and vegetables, organically homegrown whenever possible and breads baked daily. A favorite breakfast dish was easy-over fried eggs topped with sauteed diced veggies. The chicken, beef and pork were reportedly excellent and they always offered a vegetarian alternative to us. Long tables arranged for family-style sharing facilitated a friendly contact with other guests as we collectively 'oohed and aahed' over the large circular, artistically arranged plats du jour.

January temperatures in the perfection range--low 60's to high 80's sent us for a daily swim in Carolyn's spacious and uniquely designed pool with adjoining cafe offering a limited selection of drinks and snacks in the afternoon.

No need to visit the Belize zoo if you'd be contented to have a frequent peek at the nation's iconic jaguar, Tika 2, (photo) safely contained behind electrified fencing, and if you'd like to photograph some of the extraordinary collection of tropical birds in Carolyn's aviary, just ask Chico to arrange for a photo op. (photo below) Our granddaughters enjoyed their frequent vocalizing.

My most favorite activity was horseback riding either in the jungle or along the vast agricultural fields with my favorite guide, Jose, who is in training under 'Mr. John' (Carr) to become an experienced horse whisperer. One morning Mr. John graciously demonstrated his astounding natural horsemanship techniques and partnership with an unbroken 2 1/2 y.o. colt, completely subduing him in a respectful manner.

As farmers in New England we particularly appreciated learning about the challenges of John's entrepreneurial agricultural endeavors which gave us a good feel for the gritty endurance required for success in a small country with great potential as it interfaces with the global community.

The office can arrange for a variety of tours from a leisurely float down the Belize River to a terrific caving, tubing or ziplining outing or to an archeological site. If you haven't got a car, Carlos knows the locale like the back of his hand and is available to take you to such places as The Valley of Peace, Spanish Lookout, or the Saturday market in San Ignacio. Banana Bank Lodge is centrally located near Belmopan for your more urban needs such as a pharmacy or a cappuccino or for any of these day trips.

If art is your thing, you will find many of Carolyn's paintings that tell a story documenting Belizean culture hanging in several locations around the lodge. For a real treat, be sure to visit the upstairs gallery of The Art Box on the Western Highway just east of Belmopan. Carolyn's paintings are featured there along with many beautifully crafted pieces of furniture made of choice local woods.

In short, if you are looking for a meaningful, comfortable but not luxurious out-of-the-box experience, we'd put BBL at the top of our list.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, Oregon
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2011

This was our first trip to Belize. The people at Banana Bank were friendly and helpful. We were picked up at the airport and driven to the lodge. Each day we chose our activities and were driven to each activity (Zip line, ruins, caving, Saturday markets, and more) The food at the lodge was great and made vegitarian if requested. The horseback riding was great even beginners will be at ease here. The horses are Clean and well cared for. We rode a full day, three hours in the AM and 2 hours after lunch. The guides we had were helpful and freindly. They pointed out the sights, vegitation, trees, animals. Our room was clean and comfortable. If there is a problem or question they will help fix it if you ask. We will return here again. Since it was our first trip this was a great choice. The money we saved on a rental car went along way toward tours. There are birds on the grounds. to see, there is a Jaguar, and lost of horses. Take some "OFF" for bug bites, this is a jungle there will be bugs.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2010

This hotel received an "our pick" from Lonely planet so I chose it for my family, but as dusk came the cockroaches invaded our room. Within one hour they were everywhere, in our bags, on the walls, all over the floor. Then in the morning we found animal droppings in the middle of the kids' room. The place did not seem very clean and we noticed that a garbage can behind the kitchen had been knocked over and left that way for several hours.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mesa, Arizona
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2010

The people make the trip. Mr. John gets to know everyone, Carolyn a lovely lady and a great artist, Carlos is a nice and knowledgable guide, Leisa checks on everyone's comfort, Jose a fun & caring cowboy, Adriel an entertaining food host, Jessica a sweet , young hostess, the efficient and pleasant front office, Lynn puts out a good meals & the cleaning crew. A convenient place to use as a central point for the ruins, cave tubing and, of course, horseback rides.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2010

Banana Bank was nice to an extent. We liked our cottage, it was very spacious and cute. The outerwalls had huge screens (no a/c) which was ok, except the holes in the screens allowed in lots of bugs. Also, the noise from other cottages kept my kids awake at night. The food was ample and edible, but fairly bland. Lots of REI-type tours coming through. Horseback riding on the property was nice. The owners are clearly dedicated to the locals and there was a nice family feeling. Huge pool. Highlight for us was the on-property animals.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Banana Bank Lodge & Jungle Horseback Adventure

Address: Banana Bank, Belmopan, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Cayo > Belmopan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Belmopan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In a beautiful rainforest setting beside the mighty Belize River sits a jungle paradise where horses roam freely. Parrots, toucans, macaws will greet you with a "tropical Hello" while and our jaguar Tikatoo and other animals delight your stay. Here you'll find adventure, great food, congenial hosts, exotic artwork and memories to last a lifetime. Family style dining and our helpful, friendly staff all ensure your stay at Banana Bank is an unforgettable experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banana Bank Lodge & Horseback Adventure Hotel Belmopan
Banana Bank Lodge And Horseback Adventure
Banana Bank Lodge & Jungle Horseback Adventure Belize/Belmopan

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