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“Eugene Made It Perfect” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge

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Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
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Mile 41.5 Hummingbird Highway | P.O. Box 356, Belmopan, Belize   |  
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
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4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Eugene Made It Perfect”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

My now wife and I went to Caves branch mid-July prior to our wedding in Mexico. Overall, our experience was great and I am giving Caves Branch a 5-star rating "because of" Eugene. He bent himself backward to make us feel comfortable and to ensure that we enjoy our stay.

1) Lodging: we stayed in a jungle cabana for the first two nights and a jungle bungalow for the third night. I actually preferred the cabana because it was more rustic - no electricity except in the half bathroom, so we would light up the room with petrol lamps at night. I loved the wooden ceilings, floors, panels, etc. The bungalow had a tiled floor, full bath and outside shower, electricity and wall plus to recharge our electronics.

2) Food: food was good, plentiful and offered in a great variety of dishes. The chef would come out of the kitchen at night to greet us and ensure that we enjoyed the food. He even baked special pies when guests made the request. Breakfast is BIG! You can have all sorts of fresh fruits and omelets made for you specifically. The freshly squeezed orange juice which guest make themselves was very refreshing.

3) Activities: good selection of activities which blew me away. Be careful though: some activities like ATM require a minimum of people signed up otherwise they won't take you there (and they ask you to recruit the people). We were told about this detail the night before we wanted to do it which we found was an inconvenience (my wife and I came to Belize to do ATM).
extra people. We didn't partake to any of the free activities (night walks, bird watching) but I've heard it's pleasant.

4) Service: overall excellent. Kudos to Eugene and Jason for being wonderful with us...especially with me. I arrived to Caves Branch food poisoned and they both took care of me throughout the day. Eugene gave me medication for free (which normally they charge you for), and the cook arranged for a soup to be delivered to my room.

On a different note: there was construction being made around our cabana for the first two days. I don't mind when we are out and about, but because the cabanas are well, very rustic, there is no way to hide in your cabana (no curtains and the walls are actually mosquito nets so there is not much privacy).

5) Getting there: on that part, the reservation people didn't do a good job. We were driving down from Mexico and driving around the border town of Chetumal. Lydia sent me a map of Chetumal while I asked her for driving directions from that town, which wasn't helpful. I called and talked to a guy who told me "it's a straight shot from the border" and it wasn't. We arrived late at night and it took us 30-45 minutes to find the lodge.

6) Last word: EUGENE YOU ROCK!

  • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (190)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Peterborough, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

We are a family of 5 ranging in ages from 14-54. Each one of us totally loved our time (6 nights) at the Caves Branch. If you are looking to really experience the jungle and are not afraid to be adventurous then this is the place for you! Everything was absolutely amazing. The awesome expeditions were led by extremely knowledgeable and capable guides. We stayed in one of the treehouses with a gorgeous view of the jungle and river. The accommodations were extremely clean and the food was over the top. I can't say enough about the staff. They care about how you are doing and will do anything do ensure your stay is fun-filled and memorable. This trip was a 10 out of 10!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodland Hills, CA
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013 via mobile

Spent 4 d/3 nights in treehouse #24. The view of the stars from the top deck lying in the bathtub is unreal. The staff is first rate and bend over backwards for you. They even provide citronella coils for sitting outside. If you need something not in the store, the staff will get in town for you. I can't say enough good things. Thanks to Jason, Eugene, Mario, Chef Jay, Abel, Viktor, Arnold, Pedro, Telma, Veronika, and many others who made our stay special.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Danville, California, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

We just returned from a 10 day trip to Belize which included 5 nights at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. This place is an absolute gem for any active family, couple or individual looking to explore the jungles of Belize. The staff at Caves Branch is AMAZING. You can't help but get attached to the staff - especially Jason, Eugene, Chef and the guides. Truly wonderful people and Ian should feel fortunate to have them working at his property. We made our reservations very last minute so ended up in the most "rustic" bungalow - but it was great! Thatch roof, oil lamps for light, outdoor showers - it was all great! Eugene went out of his way to upgrade us to an available tree house for a few nights during our stay - an unexpected treat! The food is amazing and Chef did not disappoint. The meals were fresh, made with care and plenty for even the biggest appetite (my 16 year old son). During our stay, my wife and I got violently ill (probably from drinking something in Guatemala - definitely NOT from the food or water at Caves Branch). The staff went out of their way to get me to a private doctor on a Sunday night since my fever was so high. They arranged a driver who stayed with us the entire time and made sure we were well taken care of. Again - just amazing personalized service! Thanks Jason!

We did the Waterfall Caves, Tikal and the Lost World Ceremonial Cave - ALL were absolutely amazing. The Lost World Cave is a MUST for anyone who is physically fit and can stand to get dirty. We saw amazing Mayan pottery, skeletal remains from human sacrifices, amazing natural sink holes, etc. Trust me - if you are somewhat fit and can squeeze through a few tight openings I highly suggest this outing. Esperanza was our guide and she knew everything! Wonderful woman with a great knowledge of the jungle plants and the Mayan people.

Tikal (in Guatemala) is a long day but well worth it. the drive was 3 hours with a van transfer at the boarder to another van waiting for us in Guatemala. Our guide was awesome, driver was great - definitely recommend if your budget allows for the extra cost.

We enjoyed the family style meals and the staff rotated guests each night so you sat with different people each dinner. This was great as it allowed you to meet lots of different people during your stay.

I honestly don't have one negative thing to say about Caves Branch and their staff. Ian and his partners have done an amazing job creating a true "eco lodge" in the middle of the jungle.

Room Tip: #23 Tree House has the BEST canopy view of all the units. Amazing outdoor bathtub as well!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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.
Westford, Massachusetts, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

I have to admit that my criteria for a great hotel includes an extremely fast internet connection. That being said I enjoyed every minute at Caves Branch even though they do not provide a fast Internet connection in the room, air conditioning, or really any power outlets you can use in the room. I have not found another hotel that provides a similar experience you receive from Caves Branch.

When staying at Caves Branch you spend majority of your day not in your wonderful room (video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGhJvBZDQHw&feature=share&list=UUZIYkumfoq5c2tyu6kgxjuw). Rather you spend it in the pool, the truly impressive botanical gardens, wondering what that creature is in the distance, and different excursions. We did the waterfall cave expedition (video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-KkmDLdT9U&feature=share&list=UUZIYkumfoq5c2tyu6kgxjuw) which was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

My recommendation is to bring a flashlight for walking around at night. Even though the room does not have air conditioning it is surprisingly cool from the breeze.

This is a MUST for those traveling to Belize! By the way the breakfast and dinner are OUTSTANDING!

  • Stayed May 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.
Gainesville, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

My husband & I were on our 10-year anniversary trip-one of our few trip get-a-ways without the kids. We are in love with the Caves Branch tree houses. Our house was the one at the very top. Even after the 136 step adventure to the top, we still looked forward to taking e hike up because once we got up there, it was heaven on earth! The outdoor shower was unlike any other I have been in and a pleasant way to relax after a day of excursions. The no a/c did scare me because I'm a Florida girl and love nothing better than walking into a room filled with cool air on a hot day. But, to my delightful surprise, the room was not the to humid mess that I'm accustom to in FL. It was delightful with the fans going and I even got chilly at night and needed the comforter. We were there at the end of July and during the rainy season, but we were aware before we arrived and found the sounds of the rain to be relaxing and refreshing. Jason greeted us upon arrival and quickly called us by name as we saw him around and was always trying to make our stay more enjoyable. He is definitely a top notch employee and one that provided most of the guests with laughter and service! The chef was also a most valuable employee. He greeted us daily and constantly reminded us to let him know if there was anything in particular that he could cook for us. He also wanted to know about dietary restrictions so that he could accommodate. The food was delicious and he make the stay there very enjoyable. Overall, we wished we stayed out at the Caves Branch Treehouse longer than our 3 nights because we missed it once we got to the beaches!

Room Tip: Pick the treehouse, you won't regret it even after the stair climb!
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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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bay Area, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

We just returned from one of the most unforgettable vacations of our lives. Our time at Caves Branch exceeded, in so many ways, the very high expectations I had for this well-researched trip (thanks to Trip Advisor). Here are the highlights:

Adventures: Caves Branch is known for its adventures, and we quickly learned why. We stayed four nights and did three days of adventures: (1) River caves expedition; (2) zoo and zip line; and (3) Xunantunich and Cahal Peche Mayan ruins. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Guides Julio and Carlitos lent a hand to my 75-year-old dad to help him navigate some of the steep and slippery parts of the cave exploration. At the end of our three days, we came away with a huge understanding of Mayan civilization, geology of cave formations, and the wildlife of Belize. There was not a moment to be bored during any of the tours.

Room: Our river-view treehouse was one of the most memorable and relaxing rooms in which we've ever stayed. We fell asleep each night to the sounds of geckos, birds, and the river rushing through the property. We traveled during the rainy season, and the rains usually started after we fell asleep—the rains fell (or sometimes pounded) on our corrugated roof throughout the night. We awoke to more birds chirping and, occasionally, howler monkeys howling. The living room is a screened-in porch on three sides, so it was like sleeping in the trees (without getting wet). We had a beautiful view of the lush jungle surrounding us and, peeking through the trees and vines, the river below. The treehouses are all strategically placed so that there is complete visual privacy from your neighbors. The king-sized bed was incredibly comfortable. Our daughters slept in bunk beds in the sunken living room. The room was so large that it provided enough mental separation from them for us. The outdoor shower was fun. There are no TVs, landline phones, electrical outlets, or WiFi in the rooms, which we found to be a welcome relief. If you truly cannot disconnect from your email, there is one shared computer in the main lodge. Be prepared to wait for the teenagers to get off of it. (In general, better to tell everyone back home you are unreachable during your stay.)

Service/Staff : I had heard the staff was friendly and helpful but those adjectives do not do justice to the quality of people we met who—without exception—went out of their way to ensure we were happy and fully enjoying our time at CB. The staff at the lodge--especially Eugene (guest services) and Jason (emissary between kitchen and guests)--were so kind, cheerful, and enthusiastic. My 75-year-old parents who traveled with us had a number of routines and special requests that might not have been an ideal match for the CB environment, and yet each of their challenges was solved enthusiastically and with a genuine expression of care and concern.

Food: Dinner and breakfast are served buffet style. Lunch is eaten on the tour. The tables in the dining room hold 8 guests, so multiple rooms are assigned to each table for dinner, and the assignments change every night. (At breakfast, there is no assigned seating.) If you hate meeting new people, this set-up may be awkward. However, if you have a little bit of interest in getting the inside scoop on one of the tours you are considering, this is a great way to do it. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the other travelers we met—everyone seemed to be there for the adventure of trying new and challenging things, and that excitement permeated the conversation and interaction. The food was tasty and plentiful, with a number of healthy options (and always three dessert choices).

Grounds: We have stayed in some beautifully-landscaped tropical resorts, and CB takes the cake. The lodge is set in 58,000 acres of jungle. So it is secluded from the outside world. The plantings at the resort (chosen by Ian Anderon's wife, I understand) were absolutely awe-inspiring: brightly colored, lush, dense, texture-rich, etc. If I had a better camera, I would have taken more photos of just the plants. We also regularly saw frogs, iguanas, geckos, unusual fuzzy caterpillars, Jesus lizards, and howler monkeys around the gardens and in the trees.

In sum: If you are looking for a busy, adventure-packed vacation in a beautiful setting, and you are ready to disconnect from your email, the Internet, and your hairdryer, you will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: Treehouse rooms are one-of-a-kind. Some are an uphill haul from the main lodge, so you may need to...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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.
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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 9 Specialty Lodging in Belmopan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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 
Also Known As:
Ian Anderson`s Caves Branch Jungle Hotel Belmopan
Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge Belize/Belmopan

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