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“Relaxing, adventurous, philanthropic, fun all in one...loved it all” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cotton Tree Lodge

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Cotton Tree Lodge
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4.0 of 5 Small Hotel   |   Moho River, Punta Gorda, Belize   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 16 Punta Gorda B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Silver Spring, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Relaxing, adventurous, philanthropic, fun all in one...loved it all”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

The Cotton Tree Lodge is phenomenal. The location is beautiful with a "lazy" river, boardwalks, thatched roof buildings and well kept grounds. The food is incredible. It starts with the on-site organic gardens & livestock which provides the fresh food for each meal. Once at the kitchen the chef, Shawn (a Cordon-Bleu grad) performs magic. The staff treats you as if you are family and are most helpful and friendly. The available excursions are well worth the while and the guides that take you are incredibly well informed. It seems that each has a particular expertise (birding, horticulture, Mayan history,...) and are very willing to share their knowledge and answer every question along the way. The Mayan temple tour, Blue Creek Cave, Snake Cayes for snorkeling were incredible. the night jungle excursion was both interesting, & at times suspenseful. WE saw some pretty cool things gong on. After the daily excursions, happy hour ensued with fresh made appetizers at the patio by the river. It was the perfect transition from the events of the day to the evening meal. We were able to share our experiences with our newly found friends (other lodge guests & staff) with drinks and a snack.

Probably the most rewarding day was the day we volunteered with Sustainable Harvest International (SHI). We worked with a SHI field trainer to build a cacao bean solar dryer for a family in a small village about 2 hours from Cotton Tree. Ernesto, the SHI field trainer, was a terrific young man who is very dedicated to the improvement of the lives of those he is helping and improving organic farming techniques as a way to preserve the local environment. We helped a very worthy & hard working family to increase their cocoa bean production with the solar dryer so that they can continue to afford to send their children to school. In turn the family worked along side us and provided us a wonderful lunch of chicken & vegetables stew (cal do) that they grew in their garden. It was a truly rewarding & eye opening day. It was great to see a family that was so happy even though they did not have many material goods.

Cotton Tree Lodge has a feel to it that seems to transcend the description of a vacation spot. It seems to bring people together & allows you to get to know each other (staff & guests) and the area. Its a fun, adventurous, and even a learning experience all in one, while also being quite relaxing. I highly recommend it as a way to get away from it all, and should you want to, do some good for others too.

Room Tip: If in the Garden Vista, choose the second floor room. If in a separate hut, for less chance of mosq...
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  • Stayed April 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
    • 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.
cottontreebelize, Owner at Cotton Tree Lodge, responded to this review, June 18, 2013
I'm very happy to hear you enjoyed your stay. Our mission has been one of cultural tourism. We give our guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture by having a chance to interact with local people as well as our staff and guides. Making a connection with someone from another culture is truly rewarding and an experience that can last a lifetime.
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213 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 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
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (61)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Falls Church, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

Cotton Tree Lodge was the perfect choice for a great get-away. Everything about the lodge and staff was wonderful. The meals were outstanding (Shawn the chef is amazing), the daily tours with Cotton Tree guides were informative and fun, and the folks taking care of business at the lodge were hospitable and accommodating.

The property itself is beautiful and offers lots to do even if you’ve been touring all day. The kayaking on the river is so serene. The rope swing is loads of fun. The wildlife abundant with Howler monkeys and iguanas making themselves heard and seen.The very social happy hours with Shawn’s delicious appetizers and the cocktail-of-the-day are a must-do. It was great to not have to think about anything and leave all the planning to the Cotton Tree staff. We did the all-inclusive so we just had to pick a tour and show up for our delicious meals. Oh, and not to forget, Tucker, the resident wonder dog, completed our awesome visit.

We stayed a week and I could have easily remained longer. Our favorite tours were snorkeling at the Snake Cayes (did it twice!), Blue Cave, and the cacao farm tour. While all of the daily tours were enjoyable, the highlight of our trip was volunteering with Sustainable Harvest International. We were picked up by Ernesto, one of SHI’s local field trainers, and traveled about two hours to help a family build a solar cacao drier so they could ready their cacao beans for market and gain greater economic independence. Ernesto is an incredibly hard working young man and it was truly a pleasure to work with him and learn from him. The family was so appreciative and kind to us during our day and served us an authentic Mayan ‘caldo’ with just-made corn tortillas for lunch. So good! It was truly a pleasure to be able to assist this beautiful family.

One of the other things that makes Cotton Tree so special is the other people you have an opportunity to meet. We had the pleasure of dining and touring with folks from all over the U.S. and Canada. I hated to say our farewells and hope our paths cross again in the future. I highly recommend Cotton Tree Lodge and the SHI experience to everyone!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
cottontreebelize, Owner at Cotton Tree Lodge, responded to this review, June 18, 2013
Sounds like a wonderful trip. We've partnered with Sustainable Harvest International since we opened and the relationship has flourished. SHI supports education and training of local farmers in sustainable organic farming and has helped improve the lives and increase the incomes of the farmers in our area. Hats off to SHI!
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Punta Gorda, Florida
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

We had a GREAT time at the lodge and would recommend it. Truly a unique vacation and tons to do. Food is excellent and plenty of it. Wonderful experience in the jungle! We also had a supurb fishing guide for three days. That got us on fish. Wow.. the vastbess of the mangroves and fishing. And I thought we had the best fishing in SW Florida.... Wrong!

  • Stayed November 2012, 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.
cottontreebelize, Owner at Cotton Tree Lodge, responded to this review, June 18, 2013
The fishing by us is incredible. I've heard people refer to it as how fishing had been in Florida 50 years ago. The Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve does a great job of protecting the local fish populations.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

My husband and I loved our week at Cotton Tree. Our cabana was clean, comfortable, quiet and private. With all of the screening, we felt like we were outdoors. At night we enjoyed hearing the howler monkeys in the distance, and an occasional iguana plop into the river. In the morning we heard a variety of birds trilling their unique songs. (Our only negative comment is that the mattresses were thin and at times I could feel the springs through them. I think a simple foam topper would do wonders!)

The food was excellent and plentiful. Breakfasts were buffet, but you could get made-to-order eggs any way you liked There was always fresh fruit and baked goods. Most lunches we had were packed, as we were out on excursions. They were always delicious. For example, large burritos, or rice dishes featuring shrimp or chicken and fresh fruit for dessert. Dinners were good, as well. Every night started with yummy appetizers that we ate while milling around with other guests, often purchasing a drink or two. The actual meal began always began with soup, always tasty and different each night, followed by an interesting salad, and then the main course and dessert.

The activities and guides who accompanied us were wonderful. We especially liked Tiger Cave, a strenuous (and muddy) hike to see beautiful cave formations. We had to get down on our bellies and slither through one crevice to see a spectacular speliothem-filled room. It was worth getting muddy for. The Blue Creek cave swim was just as arduous. We had to swim against current on the way in, making it challenging but lots of fun. After the cave exploration we swam in the lovely creek. Everyone went off the rope swing there at least once. Other excursions we enjoyed were the Nim Li Punit/lunch in our guide's village/tubing trip; a full day of kayaking down the beautiful Moho River; a day at Eladio's cacao farm. We also fit in horseback riding (lots of fun-if you stay on the road you can trot the horses or go even faster), and swims in the Moho right on the property.

The grounds at Cotton Tree are beautiful, enhanced by views of the river, the many types of trees, the organic garden and farm with goats, sheep and horses, and lovely buildings. The staff is great-friendly and very accommodating.

We did get a great rate on the all-inclusive price because we had spent a week at ReefCI. It was well worth combining the two places. We would love to return some day.

Room Tip: Get a cabana!
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cottontreebelize, Owner at Cotton Tree Lodge, responded to this review, June 18, 2013
I'm so glad you had such a lovely time! Yes, combining a stay with a scuba diving trip through ReefCI is a wonderful combination. Tiger Cave is phenomenal but can be muddy in spots. I hope you can make it back sometime again soon!
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Omaha, Nebraska
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

Cotton Tree Lodge offered the best experiences we had in Belize. I would go back just for the food [be sure to upgrade for the meals and the tours and upgrade to a cabana]. They offer as
many activities as the area allows. Kayaking was an awesome way to see the area even though we chose to do the too long trip. Our guide, William, was patient and helpful. One unexpected highlight was with the Bush Doctor who showed us 15 useful plants within 25 feet and cured our sunburns [be sure that your sunscreen is waterproof before you leave home]. The snorkeling was gorgeous with a delicious lunch and with guides that kept us away from the sand fleas and provided good equipment. The grounds are spotlessly clean. The bar drinks cold. The people well trained and friendly.The water safe. I only heard the holler monkeys just before dawn twice and thought it was someone snoring! Fun! I only saw one bug. My son found a few more when he went into deeper jungle [buy the repellent that the Lodge offers].
Thank you Cotton Tree.

Room Tip: Upgrade from the Garden Vista.
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  • Stayed February 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cottontreebelize, Front Office at Cotton Tree Lodge, responded to this review, April 19, 2013
Thanks for the great feedback! We are so glad you enjoyed your stay. Come back to Cotton Tree soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queens, New York, United States
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

I came to Cotton Tree Lodge with a friend-- we had been looking for a unique travel experience and found the Groupon offer. We upgraded to all-inclusive and couldn't be happier with our stay. Before our arrival, I was emailing with the offices both in NYC and Belize. Everyone was extremely helpful and knowledgeable and made planning the trip planning process smooth and pleasant. The previous reviews on this site regarding the rooms and amenities are pretty accurate and helped to prepare us-- this is definitely not the resort for the set who can't live without a blow dryer and retch at the thought of sharing a room with a creepy crawlie or two. If, however, you can sleep through the heat and the howler monkeys (I slept like a rock every night, but then again I'm a pretty heavy sleeper), then this is the perfect place-- a rich cultural, adventurous, exotic vacation spot with so much heart. The property was unbelievably beautiful with trees, fruits, vegetables and flowers everywhere we turned. There were plenty of things to do at the resort-- horseback riding, kayaking, biking, swimming in the river and taking a turn on the rope swing, exploring the grounds, on-site tours and just hanging around meeting other guests. Staff was warm and hospitable, made sure we were having a good time and in some cases, literally welcomed us into their homes (for lunch during tour days). The food and bar service was great. After reading the reviews, I was worried my hunger for traditional ethnic foods would be left unsatisfied, but I was pleasantly surprised by conch stew the first night and rice and beans with chicken another night! Yummmm. Family-style dinners encouraged guests to interact and make plans with each other; I would not have had it any other way. The off-site tours were amazing (Blue Creek hike and cave is a must!). We were worried about the fact that activities are planned according to interest, but at check-in, we selected the tours we wanted and the staff ensured we got to everything on our list. We certainly got the unique and adventurous experience we were looking for, but without a doubt the best thing about Cotton Tree Lodge is the exceptional service provided by its amazing staff.

Room Tip: - Go for all-inclusive. Unlimited tours and activities, and not having to worry about meals is a def...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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.
cottontreebelize, Front Office at Cotton Tree Lodge, responded to this review, April 19, 2013
Thank you for all of the kind words. It is so helpful to have guests write details of their experiences. Visit again soon!
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San Diego, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

We spent an incredible week in February at this amazing jungle/rain forest lodge along the Moho River. All the cabanas are made from beautiful local woods and furnishings and are quite open, surrounded by netting. Remember you are in the jungle, people don't belong here. You're on the critters turf. If you see something creeping around the room, just accept it. You are not here for creature comforts but hopefully came for a sense of adventure and learning.
The all inclusive package is the only way to go. Three daily meals including a four course dinner that is itself an adventure of culinary delights. Take as many excursions as time permits, each will become a special memory. If there is something you would to do just ask.
We have never had such outstanding care and treatment from locals and staff anywhere....thank you and the wonderful Mayan community ...for our outstanding trip

Room Tip: Loved our river front cabana... the "jungle cabana" is not for the timid!
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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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cottontreebelize, Front Office at Cotton Tree Lodge, responded to this review, April 12, 2013
Thank you for the wonderful feedback! It is always great to hear what people have to say about their jungle experience and we appreciate you sharing yours. Come back soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cotton Tree Lodge

Address: Moho River, Punta Gorda, Belize
Location: Belize > Toledo District > Punta Gorda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 16 B&Bs / Inns in Punta Gorda
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Cotton Tree Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our eco-lodge is hidden between the Moho River, the rain forest, and Mayan villages in southern Belize. Stay in beautiful thatch cabanas with private bathrooms and verandas. Enjoy delicious cuisine prepared with organic produce from our garden. Try kayaking, birding, swimming, and horseback riding on the grounds. Connect with the people and culture of Belize on daily tours to villages, Mayan ruins, cacao farms, caves, waterfalls, and more. Or simply relax in a hammock all day. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Cotton Tree Hotel Punta Gorda
Cotton Tree Lodge Belize/Punta Gorda

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