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“It was pure magic, dont miss this one in Belize” 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
Nyack, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“It was pure magic, dont miss this one in Belize”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2011

We were at Caves Branch over christmas, on a 3 night package. We had an amazing time! The resort in the middle of jungle was pure magic. Ian Anderson, his wife Ella, and the entire staff at Caves Branch (Efren, Carlos, .... and pretty much every one we met) went out of their way to make us and all the guests comfortable. Their adventure tours were top class, and the we made some great friends at the daily communal dinner table. The food and drinks were very satisfying, to say the least. We had such a good time that we decided that we wanted to go back for the one free day we had kept on the last day of the trip and our treehouse experience made this very worthwhile. Definitely one of the best we have encountered during our many travels, and this is one of the few places that we will be going back sometime in the future.

The things that made it special for us:
1) the adventures: waterfall, black hole drop, tubing
2) the people: especially the excellent service culture from the folks at caves branch where anything we asked was made possible with a smile. We made some good friends with folks we met there.
3) the resort: the rooms and the entire environment was just perfect.

Dont miss Belize and dont miss Caves Branches when you are in Belize.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
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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
Seattle, Washington
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2011

There have been so many great things said about this place that I am not sure how I can say anything more insightful...I just have to echo all of the comments for how fantastic this place is! You do need to understand this is in the jungle, you are surrounded by jungle sounds and the terrain. There is no elevator or room service, if that is what you want this is not the place for you. If you want something different and exciting, this is perfect!! The memories we have from this vacation will stay with us forever!

Couple important things:
You eat family style all meals- food is great but not off a menu, for dinner they offer soup/salad, a couple meats, local fruit and veggie, and starch, and then dessert is served (we loved the meals, food was excellent); breakfast is the same, eggs meat, cereal, juice, tortillas, lunch you get on the excursion, these could be anything based on your trip but very adequate for what you are doing.
You eat with other families - you all get to sit around together and talk about your adventures of the day, if lucky you get to meet some great people!
There is no air-conditioning - at least when we were there, they were building some new houses so I don't know about them, but
This was truly an adventure vacation for us along with 2 kids (both girls, 10 and 13). It was our 10 yr olds birthday on the day we arrived and they helped make it special with a song and candle at dinner and were willing to accept a package sent ahead to have in the room for our arrival. They were very helpful in making it a great day! I read some of the comments about not being very catering to children and I have to disagree, the kids loved it and they made sure in everything we did the kids were safe and helped along the way if they needed it (the cave tubing was a little difficult for 10 yr old, she was too small to reach for paddling, guide hooked on and helped her the whole way).

Every adventure we did was more fun than the next! We did the 300 ft drop, all I can say is Scary but worth it!!! The 13 yr old did not want to do this and they were more than accommodating to keep a guide with her and make sure she met us back on the trail.

We stayed in the Tree House room, so much better than I had imagined! Huge room, with netting acting as 3 of the walls so you really heard the sounds of the creatures at night...SO COOL!!! It did take a little to get used to, and the night of the lightning storm was the craziest we have ever had.

I would recommend this to everyone looking for a different kind of vacation. Everyone was more than helpful for the entire trip, and we book our whole Belize vacation through the company that they recommend and there were no issues. Putting your whole trip in someone else's hands can be scary but they were very responsive and helpful and we had a perfect trip!

  • Stayed August 2010, 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.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2011

We did the 4 night package at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch and it was the second leg of our honeymoon. I don't have very many good things to say about Caves Branch. When you make reservations they don't do a good job of letting you know that this is a big place. It holds somewhere around 60-70 guests. You feel like cattle during meals and when you gather for tours. The staff also aren't friendly or helpful. Their general attitude is that they don't care to help you.

We stayed in a cabana, which was okay. I would urge them to put up drop down tarps or curtains because as it stands, there are just screened windows and there is no privacy. The bird watching tours come right up next to your cabana and the workers are always working and talking right outside your room. It doesn't make it easy to take a nap or relax. Also, the cabanas share a wall with the next cabana, and you can hear everything through the wall even if the people next door are speaking in normal tones. I understand you are in the jungle, and I've stayed in the jungle numerous times, but the number of roaches in our room was unbelievable. The showers were surprisingly hot for outdoor showers, so that was a nice surprise.

The food is so bad that by the last night, we were afraid to eat anything except the bread. My husband got food poisoning on this portion of the trip, and he wasn't the only one. Ian Anderson himself came out and asked people how their stomachs were feeling and there was a rude gentleman making the rounds asking people when they arrived to try and find out when the food poisoning happened. Unfortunately, for 5 days, every single day people were sick. You knew because they write the adventures for the day up on a board with everyone's name on it and everyday there were people's names crossed off who had canceled because they were sick. All of the soups were really gross, I was afraid to eat the chicken or salad. The only safe meal was breakfast. I will be honest, the yogurt and granola along with the eggs and tortillas were very good, so I tried to eat as much as I could at breakfast.

The only redeeming part of Caves Branch is the tours. We had a good day when we did the waterfall caves tour. It's more strenuous than the other tours, but if you are looking for adventure and physical activity, it's great. Climbing the waterfalls and then jumping off the top of them into the pools below was really awesome. Also, the trip to Tikal is worth it to see the Mayan ruins. However, don't expect a history lesson.

This is basically a place for families with younger children who need to be entertained, or a one nighter for people passing through. Definitely not for a couple on their honeymoon. Sitting by the pool isn't relaxing, as there are tons of kids being kids (splashing, jumping in with snorkel gear, water fighting with each other). The hot tub is alright, but it gets filled up quick and then you just feel uncomfortable with everyone crammed in there.

Look elsewhere for a jungle experience. Hurricane Richard came through Caves Branch in 2010 and wrecked most of their canopy so there were no monkey's to be seen there. We actually didn't notice very much wildlife at all. We were more than happy to be moving on from Caves Branch and wished we hadn't wasted our time and money there.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
IanAnderson, Owner at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge, responded to this review, February 6, 2011
I would like to give a very gracious “thank you” to all our guests who have supported Caves Branch from our humble beginnings 16 years ago when all we had was an outhouse, a river and a handmade clay cooking hearth.

Since the very first Trip Adviser comments about Caves Branch were written on May 24th, 2004, we have enjoyed a very high 4 and 5 star response. We feel that Trip Advisor is a very useful tool for our prospective guests and I am adding these comments in the spirit of trying to accurately describe aspects of the Caves Branch experience, so that future guests can decide if Caves Branch is right for them. I have always believed that every guest has a right to make their own comments on how they felt about their stay and have tried to learn from those comments both good and bad in providing a better product to our guests.

I feel that our website actually under promotes our facilities rather than over promotes them.

It is our desire that our guests arrive at Caves Branch saying: “Wow.. This is so much nicer that we expected” rather than the opposite.

Caves Branch, however, is not for everyone and this is prominently stated on our website. I am proud of our offerings; our Lodge, our rooms, our staffing, our adventures and our services to our guests. Our guests are very pleased that we are not, in fact, suitable for everyone; if we were, we would not be the special place that I and most of our guests believe we are.
Although guests from all ages, different social strata and incomes levels visit Caves Branch, the one thing that all our guests have in common is that they are looking for a unique and different holiday adventure experience from the norm and that is what we so successfully provide, a unique and different adventure experience from the norm.

We try very hard at Caves Branch to please all of our guests and as such we are very sorry that JoRodgers from San Diego did not enjoy their stay with us. I feel that JoRodgers comments are likely honest and heartfelt, but since they come from a singular perspective they may be misleading and it is in the interests of accuracy through a broader view that I decided to comment on trip advisor for the first time:

1. It is true that some of our guests did experience 24 – 36 hour stomach illness over a period of 5 – 7 days in early January, and being very concerned about this, we did take a number of our guests to our personal family doctor who, after a full array of lab tests, determined that they were affected by a stomach virus (the stomach flu) with no evidence at all of a bacterial infection (no food poisoning). After finding out about the stomach flu virus I did get up before a meals, explained about the stomach virus and did ask our guests to be extra careful to wash hands and sanitize, passing on instructions from our doctor to protect guests from potentially infecting each other. Our housekeeping also tripled their efforts on sanitizing all surfaces in all rooms to help protect from the passing of the virus.

I feel, as do most of our guests, that our meals are “very good”, not gourmet, but then we have never suggested they were gourmet. All our meals are served buffet style, you cannot order from a menu at Caves Branch. Every dish, without exception is freshly prepared for each meal and the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables are exceptional at every meal.

2. Caves Branch consists of 22 rooms. During most periods of the year, a sold out house would be 44 persons. This is not an overly large number of persons for a jungle lodge. During our “high energy” periods such as Christmas, Spring break and Easter, family travel is very big everywhere in the world. Caves Branch is no different and we are a family friendly jungle lodge, offering very affordable family travel rates as well as an exciting family experience. I would suggest to all travelers that if you do not like being around families, and there isn’t anything wrong about feeling that way as it is a personal choice, that you either avoid traveling during family travel periods or stay at “adult only” facilities. We at Caves Branch, however, do not apologize for having families staying with us; we are proud of the experience we provide for family travel as we are proud of the experience we provide for all our guests.

3. In the last week of October 2010, Hurricane Richard did hit Belize and Caves Branch did loose a number of canopy trees.. a bit of a hair cut we got that night but it could have always been worse. It did not, however, destroyed our canopy and the Howler monkeys do continue to come through Caves Branch as frequently as they have always done. Our guests continue to commonly see howler monkeys on the property and hear them continually throughout the night.

4. Finally, Caves Branch has 5 different levels of accommodations providing a range suitable to just about everyone. Starting with our most economical Jungle Cabanas (which JoRodgers stayed in for their honeymoon), all the way up to our newly constructed 1200 sq foot tree houses overlooking the entire Caves Branch valley, sitting 200 feet above the river below with rooftop deck and hot tub. Because our room range is unusually wide for a small lodge and the experience in each room is quite unique, it is important when reading comments about Caves Branch to pay particular attention to which room the guest was in. Perhaps “that” room type was simply not appropriate for the expectations of those guests.

We always try to assist our guests in selecting a room that fits their budget while being most suitable for their needs, in the case JoRodgers we are not sure if it was price point or lack of availability during peak season but PLEASE we would caution anyone wanting to stay in a Jungle Cabana for their Honeymoon. They are our 4 original rooms with authentic Mayan thatched roofs, very natural and rustic but being duplex units, they do lack the kind of privacy you would want for a romantic getaway.

In ending, I would like to once again, thank all of our guests that have made Caves Branch what it is today and to remind others, “we are not for everyone”, but we might be just what you are looking for.. !

I look forward to personally meeting each and every one of our guests while at Caves Branch.

I remain..
Adventurously Yours, Ian Anderson.
General Manager, Owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Treviso, Italy
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2011

make sure to choose a tree room. stay in room 25 and you will remain astonished by the view and the luxury that an accomodation in the middle of the jungle can still offer....

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2011

I spent 6 days / 5 nights at the end of December 2010 at Caves Branch with my partner and another couple. It was one of the most incredible - and different - vacations I've ever had. The staff, from housekeeping to owners, were absolutely incredible, friendly, and knowledgeable. The tour guides were especially approachable and informative, ensuring that we were safe, but also that we learned about the culture and history of Belize. Some folks have complained about the beds, but I thought they were just fine in our spacious bungalow in the middle of the jungle. The food and drinks were indeed plentiful and varied. My only complaint is that there aren't enough "local" dishes; however, there is plenty of local produce and I never went hungry or thirsty! I participated in four adventures: ATM (the most adventurous, and our favorite), the Black Hole drop (a fun trip including a hike that's a workout in itself), a tour of the local Mayan ruins, and cave tubing/ziplining. I would recommend all of these adventures, keeping in mind that touring a historic site is not nearly as "thrilling" as repelling 300 feet into the jungle, but is still a unique experience. The variety of food, adventures, and offerings and the unique location and surroundings of Caves Branch make this all-inclusive lodge really stand out among vacation experiences. In December, the pool was a bit cool, but we still took a swim or two. We anticipated being awakened by howler monkeys, but found the jungle to actually be very quiet; I enjoyed waking to the sounds of tropical birds each morning. I highly recommend stopping at the zoo on your way to or from the airport for an up-close view of local animals and birds; it is well worth the hour diversion. This is definitely a place I'd return to, worth every penny spent, and highly recommended.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
43 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2011

Tropical foliage, exotic wildlife, wide, fast-flowing river, interesting guests, professional, knowledgeable, happy staff--that's Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. Our "tree house" was gorgeous! Oh, and then there's the well-planned adventures. Really fun--our college aged girls loved it and so did we. A hotel to remember forever!

  • Stayed December 2010, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2010

My husband and I just returned from a 9 day stay at Cave's Branch. While I travel a lot, I have never posted a review. However, I can't miss an opportunity to let anyone and everyone know how fantastic a vacation we had. This holiday and accommodation exceeded every expectation we had.
The location and facilities were lovely. The staff were beyond friendly and accommodating. The food was plentiful and delicious (rumour has it that another post listed it as inedible - not so. Fresh ingredients, well prepared, varied menu, good for vegetarians as well as carnivores). The room (we stayed in the treehouse) was spectacular.
But most of all - THE ADVENTURES - well thought out, fun, exciting, unique and world class. True, I don't rate this hotel a 5* for sleep quality-who expects to sleep when overnighting in a hammock in a cave, 350 feet down a sinkhole in the rainforest?? The waterfall hike-outstanding. The guides were very well versed in survival and adventure training, but also fun, interesting and creative in ensuring you had the best experience.

Where else in the world can you go and be Indiana Jones and Lara Croft for fun!!
Don't miss this experience!! REALLY.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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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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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