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“If we ever return to Belize it will be for Caves Branch Jungle Lodge” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge

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Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
3.5 of 5 Lodge   |   Mile 41.5 Hummingbird Highway | P.O. Box 356, Belmopan, Belize   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Special Price
50% off room rate
Certificate of Excellence
Huntington Beach, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“If we ever return to Belize it will be for Caves Branch Jungle Lodge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

We found Ian Anderson's (a Canadian ex-pat, not the Jethro Tull guy) online through TripAdvisor and decided it sounded worthwhile for including in our Belize vacation planning. It ended up being the highlight of our trip, and a place we definitely hope to return to. We don't return to many places as the world still has too much to offer our wanderlust souls, so this is saying a lot.

The "tree house" accommodations (really on stilts built in the jungle rather than built within the tree structures themselves) were fantastic. Very, very spacious, with large living rooms completely screened in from floor to ceiling on 3 sides for surround sound of the cacophony noises of nature that arise from and travel through the jungle day and night. The large bedroom was raised by about 5 stair steps above the living room, with only a railing (no wall) separating the spaces so the openness and sounds were enjoyed as equally from the bed as from the couch. Even the very private outdoor shower was a delight for being one with the jungle (but a large indoor shower is an option for the more modest who don't want to expose themselves to the elements).

Dining was a hoot - we felt we were at summer camp for adults. It is all buffet style, and all rooms are assigned different tables nightly to enable (or ensure?) engaging with the other guests. This also served to hear about the daily adventures others had gone on to help decide which to plan for ourselves the next day. We were surprised and perhaps not fully buying in to the camp-like atmosphere on night one, but were quickly hooked and looked forward to it each night thereafter.

On the day we stayed put rather than do an adventure we took in the extensive and impressive botanical gardens, toured the cheese house where the owner has created a thriving business making cheeses that supply the whole country, and hung out at the beautiful swimming pool in comfy lounge chairs. While there a family of howler monkeys moved into the poolside trees for an afternoon nibble and nap. Very cool.

The adventures themselves were great, the entire staff was excellent, and all in all this is a place to return again and again. We loved it.

Room Tip: Riverside treehouse #18 had an outlet behind the couch, which we understood to be a rarity. It was r...
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  • Stayed July 2013, 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
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642 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (222)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

After many many many people recommended that we go to Belize, we decided to stay at the Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. While we did not get to meet Mr. Anderson, we did get to meet his amazing staff and tour guides. Watch out for Jason if you come - he's a character! :P But we love him, nonetheless. Eugene was super helpful as well as Dillon and Jay (the amazing chef). The food was better than expected, though we did hope for a little more local fare. Telma was also very friendly and amazing. The tour guides are also very awesome. I know that some of the tours are listed as "difficult" or "dangerous" but the guides always made it as safe as possible for us. Julio is AWESOME. :D If you come, do the waterfall caves - they're soooo worth the hike. (Claustrophobic people and tall people beware!) Anyway, this made our honeymoon memorable - we had a BLASE and we can't wait to come back!!!

Room Tip: Having a shower INDOORS will be a GODSEND.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
San Mateo, California, United States
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

We stayed in Caves Branch from July 5 - 10th. We had a great stay and recommend this place to anyone interested in experiencing the inland Belize caving expeditions as well as those wishing to visit Tikal. Caves Branch serves as the hub for these adventures and guests from other resorts come here for there adventure tours/experiences.

We enjoyed the meals for the most part, but wished they would have had more traditional Belizean cuisine. The meals are served community style which was kind of nice because you get to meet fellow travelers and get tips from them on what tours to go on. The staff was helpful and full of personality (with the exception of one person who I mention below). We had the all inclusive package including three tours and had a great time with the staff special drinks made from the local rums.

We stayed in the river view tree house -- I recommend the tree house rooms. They were comfortable and were really well laid out with both an indoor and outdoor shower. The ceiling fan was high powered which kept the room cool and comfortable. The only thing that I would call out is that it is not a bug free environment and you should not come here thinking that it is. They do explicitly call out that they are not sanitized from the Jungle and are part of it. We had a few uncomfortable encounters with insects but those are now funny stories...(a large beetle fell into my boyfriends ear which woke him up and caused him a bit of a panic as he tried to figure out how to extract it) We were freaked out for about five minutes, but now I just laugh at the memory. I do wish they did have mosquito nets though. Come with insect repellant if you come in the summer. You will need it.

The adventures are really fun: We did the following: Tikal, ATM, and the waterfall expedition. I recommend these three as they are unique and you can experience the culture and wildlife. I would STRONGLY recommend pushing for the adventures you want. Carlos -- the "activity director" was not helpful and you really had to push to get the activities you wanted. We had told him explicitly that we came to Caves Branch to do the three adventures with Tikal and ATM being the most important, and he told us that he might not be able to accommodate. At one point he told us that the ATM tour we wanted to go on was not going -- we found out later in the evening after talking to fellow guests that the tour was going and had to seek him out to add us. Carlos is the reason I rate this place a 4 instead of a 5. He was not very helpful to guests (many other of our fellow guests commented on this as well) and quite frankly he had a pretty bad attitude. The rest of the staff was super helpful -- they were FANTASTIC and I enjoyed speaking with all of them. I hope if management reads this, they address it with him. He distracts from the experience.

Our tour guides were knowledgable, friendly helpful. The ATM tour was so amazing -- please make sure you get to do this one!

I also enjoyed coming back to the resort after our adventure of the day and lounging by the pool before dinner. Another tip: some guests don't really share well and would put their things on the lounge chairs all day to reserve them even if they weren't around or sitting elsewhere. If you want a lounge chair you might have to do the same -- wish they could put out more chairs for the guests to reduce this type of rude behavior.


Overall: if you want to do any inland adventures in Belize, I recommend this place! The small faults are easily overlooked and it's truly a unique and fun experience.

Room Tip: River View or Canopy Tree house are really nice rooms!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Sheridan, Wyoming
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

My wife and I spent months researching places to stay in Belize. We had never spent time at a full service resort and were being very picky. Interestingly, Caves Branch just kept coming up on every nights research. We settled on a stay for our twentieth wedding anniversary. The choice could not have better. Ian and his staff are the best. We ate good had fantastic tours and left feeling like we had friends. We can't wait to return.

Room Tip: Paying extra for the Canopy Tree House rooms is well worth the cost.
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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.
Los Angeles, California, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

Arriving to Caves Branch we were really excited to stay there and participate on the adventures; this ended fairly quickly. It began with a somewhat pointless and painful tour while being devoured by mosquitos. The rest of the tour was telling us all the things that weren't included and all the extra charges that we would incur. We stayed for 5 nights in the Jungle Suite that was actually really neat but the mattress and pillows were old and needed to be replaced, the promised hot water didn't work, all of the water shut off at random periods, there were holes in the mesh so rats came in and ate through bags and clothing even though we had no food in the suite, and there were no plugs. The room was neat to stay in because it was a regular hut but the large windows are only screens with no glass, no shutters and very small white fabric curtains. Something else we didn't enjoy was the rigid eating schedule and extra charges for lunch. You get assigned seating for dinner and the entire buffet experience takes two hours every night during dusk. Eating in the dining area at the specific times are the only times you can get food - unless you want to buy a small can of Pringles for triple the average price. With all the bad I still give it a "poor" rating because the staff were all very friendly and helpful. Cleaning staff, dining staff, transportation staff and grounds keepers were all happy, very friendly and great at their jobs. When we relaid all the problems we were having they were in the room to fix it that day and because so many things went wrong they offered a 20% discount. Though even with the discount the price was still much too high for the value of the experience. All of the excursions were amazing but they were through other tour guide companies and therefore were an extra charge per person. I think "all inclusive" is a bit of a stretch for a description, it should be more of "room, breakfast and dinner".

Room Tip: Perhaps our experience would have been better if we were in a treehouse suite. Anyone who stayed in...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenville, North Carolina, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2013

It was a beautiful place and the meals were THE BEST! The staff is super cool, nice, funny, and helpful and always make for some exciting meals! The only downside to the place (which isn't their fault) are the mosquitoes only because you are in the rain forest over there, however if you were to see any snakes or tranchulas, the staff cages it up until it can be set free somewhere safe. The pool is also really cool, along with the adventures they offer. I would definitely recommend this place if to anyone who is planning on staying in Belize! And if you are a big out doorsy type person who is big on being kind to and conserving the environment you would love Monkey Bay which is a home style bunk-bed type accommodation and my second favorite place in Belize was Jaguar Creek which is right next to Caves Branch. If you want a place that is still very nice but very cozy I suggest Jaguar Creek. Their food is also amazing along with their staff and their coffee and tea is great too. They have mosquito nets over their beds, warm showers, and their staff will deal with any insect or amphibian problem you encounter but that doesn't happen very often since they have a nice little board walk that separates you from them. They also have a little swimming hole and class room (depending on what you are in Belize for). The only difference between Jaguar Creek and Caves Branch is that Caves Branch is more for a family and friend get away or a couples retreat, where as Jaguar Creek is more for the student/group get away that is into nature or photography or something educational and wants a nice place that supplies them with good resources, rooming, and meeting rooms/class rooms.

Room Tip: All the rooms are good rooms, however, beware of the Howler Monkeys!! They can be very loud so bring...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
South Berwick, Maine
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

This was the first time my husband and I have ever taken a 'full-service' vacation. After one week of fabulous bone fishing at El Pescador on Ambergris Caye, we completed our first visit to Belize with four nights at Caves Branch. We had three 'adventures' and each was superb in its own right. We visited Xunantunich and Cahal Pech with a guide who not only explained all we could absorb about the Mayan ruins, but also gave us a great understanding of the current population of the region. Our second day was spent Cave Tubing. Unlike other caves we have visited (none via tube floating up the river), we were able to climb and explore. Again, a very knowledgeable guide, with the addition of a picnic lunch in the cave, and total blackout on our way out. The staff was very nice, accommodating, good food, really nice bungalo with a visit from howler monkeys one night and scuffing of something around just out of eyesight each night that kept me glued to the window hoping to see our visitors. The absolute top highlight of the trip was the third adventure: the Black Hole Drop was a life-changing event for me. I am afraid of heights, to the point of suffering vertigo on tall ladders. I was concerned that I would not be able to make the climb to the top. Not sure I would be able to accomplish the rappel over the edge of the cliff. Afraid I would not be able to control my descent even with the belayer. Had I been truly aware of the 30 foot vertical ladder to climb back out, that would probably have been the deal changer. Marvin, our guide, was superb. He seemed to be able to sense how far away I was and alter his speed to keep me within a comfortable distance, without making me feel the necessity to hurry. When there were difficult areas, he stayed immediately in front of me so I could follow his footsteps. While watching and listening intently to his instructions to my husband, I had the thought that perhaps I could ask Marvin to take me down. I am so happy I did not! When I leaned back in the harness and eased the rope up on my first step, I began to feel confident. None of the possible glitches occurred, and when I took that last step and was hanging free, it was euphoric! Even the climb up the ladder was not intimidating. I got much, much more out of this experience than I could have imagined!

Room Tip: When we go again I will get a tree house.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge

Address: Mile 41.5 Hummingbird Highway | P.O. Box 356, Belmopan, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Cayo > Belmopan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 Specialty 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: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Adventure Travel is what Caves Branch was built on and Adventure Travel is still what Caves Branch is all about. But over the years, the Caves Branch jungle lodge has evolved from extremely rustic Jungle River Camp with outhouses and bathing in the river to our most recent 5 Star Luxury Tree Houses with roof top decks and hot tubs to relax under the stars above. ... 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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