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“Jungle atmosphere”
Review of Pook's Hill Lodge

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Pook's Hill Lodge
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Belmopan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 22, 2014 via mobile

Was there in January 2012 and loved the jungle area. People nd staff were friendly. Meals were great. Rooms are basic but clean (huts with beds and bathrooms). Amazing how
Many stars you can see at nights. Occasional wildlife viewing of birds and insects. Resort is half hour bumpy ride from closest town and not much to do after dinner - except drink and talk and take in the surroundings.

  • Stayed: January 2014
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2  Thank cengizg29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 14, 2014

I stayed in a regular cabana. The cabana has one side is screened and one side has a several windows you can close and it was very cold and raining. It rained for 2 days, some of the activities I had asked for were not open due to so much rain before I got there, you just couldn't get there. I did get to see the butterfly farm, it was wonderful, so many varieties of butterflies and hummingbirds was OMG! I also got to see Cahal Pech, Hugo's father was tour guide and has spent his life at this site and knows it very well. The next day was spent going to and at Tikal. If you book this go for the overnight tour because it takes hours to get there. This site is immense and I feel just the one day there does not do it justice. The food is good, it is very basic food, Mayan dishes that are mainly chicken, beans and rice and there are dishes with vegetables and a salad and dinner is finished off with a dessert. At night the place is lit up with old style hurricane lanterns. Be sure to take a flashlight with you it is very dark there. I found the staff very warm and friendly and willing to help you with activities. Vicki is amazing, quick with smiles and a charming personality. I had cabana # 2 it was right on the edge of the jungle. The howler monkeys will wake you up early with their howling calls and sometimes they will do this in the daytime and you can watch them through a spotting scope. There were many varieties of humming birds, a big JC lizard that liked to hang out in the covered seating area. There are so many varieties of birds in the area, it is amazing. The reason for only 3 stars on sleeping quality was it was cold and for 2 nights I felt the cold. The cabana was out fitted with 3 blankets for the bed but it was still cold in bed. I cannot say enough about the staff at Pook's Hill, I think Vicki, Hugo, Mayra, Izzi, Pam, and Mike all do an amazing job. There are many other staffers in the background that keep the place running. The road when I was there was in bad shape due to the rain, many holes and mud bogs. Take your bug spray or get eaten alive. Dial your expectations back and you will have a spectacular time. I enjoyed my time there and would go back.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
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Thank NMHiker1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2014

The Good Stuff:
- Location can't be beat
- Sounds of the jungle all day and night
- Lots of bird sightings - I gasped at the first sight of hummingbirds, which after a few hours seemed rather ordinary as they were fairly common as were other colorful birds
- There are two "bird house villas" on stilts in the middle of a clearing in the jungle, reached by a walkway on stilts. Amazing views from the screened in room.
- No AC, but the room was well ventilated.
- Room was simply decorated with basic furniture- 2 full beds, 1twin bed, 2 chairs
- Shower was not enclosed, this was okay for us
- Sink was tiny, also ok, until it was filled with all the dead bugs that fell during the night


Stuff they REALLY Needs improve:
- Poor coordination with tour guides. We selected Pooks Hill specifically for the early entry into the ATM cave and had emailed and confirmed (with Hugo) the early morning ATM tour weeks in advance only to be told upon arrival that the tour guide had cancelled and another tour guide could not be secured. Unfortunately we left our stay in Belize without experiencing the ATM (due to Pooks Hill). There was hardly an apology when they informed us of this and they claimed to try to reach us about this the prior day when we were in San Ignacio without any cell phone reception and tried to make us feel bad for not being reachable! I chalk this up to the inexperienced staff.
- Food was so spartan and bland, even on New Year's Eve!
- Food was not plentiful, and salad ran out and was never replenished. Given that I am vegetarian and happened to be standing at the end the 'food line', my meal was plain white rice, beans, a few scraps of eggplant and steamed broccoli. The meat eaters also had ham, though it did not look particularly appetizing.
- Flashlights are needed in the evenings as it is pitch black and there are many creepy crawlies. Flashlights should have been given upon arrival but were only provided when requested.
- Indifferent and inexperienced service. Upon checking out, they asked about how was the stay to which we informed them that our room was infested with bugs in the evening and we had to sleep with the sheets pulled over our heads. The response of the host was nothing other than "oh?" We asked if this was common, and learned that it was not, but again, that was not offered as an initial response.
- My take away is that they pride themselves in providing a unique location and do not much care about the experience taken away by guests.

Room Tip: we stayed in a bird walk room. you will need a flashlight (Pooks can provide, though we had to ask...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Surfcoast09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2013

My boyfriend and I booked a trip through Adventure Life, who set us up at Pook's Hill for our entire stay. This was our first time using a travel agent but we are so glad we did, otherwise we might have missed out on this awesome gem!

The place is nestled off the main road amongst some Mayan ruins near the ATM cave (Our arrival to the lodge made us feel like we were in the middle of the jungle). Everything about our stay was amazing. It rained the entire time we were there but it certainly didn't keep us from having fun! The staff was very nice and accommodating, the food was absolutely delicious, and the tour guides were the best! Our hut was just like "glamping"...very quaint with electricity and hot water provided in the afternoon for showering. Perfect for what we needed.

We went on three trips during our 5 night stay, not including the stop at the zoo when we arrived. The rivers were high and some of the roads were closed due to the rain so we were not able to follow our itinerary exactly, but the folks at Pook's Hill worked hard to arrange alternate trips to ensure we got to see the best of what Belize has to offer! The first day was a zipline/Cahal Pech adventure with our guide, aka "Easy", that involved a visit to a local restaurant (Benny's!) for lunch. Day two was the most memorable trip. Our guide Hector had us up bright and early for the ATM cave with some other guests staying at the lodge. Because we got up so early, we were able to get a private tour of the entire cave before the other guides and their guests arrived. It was awesome! Our last day trip was an exciting road trip to Caracol with Mike, including a few stops and some off-roading along the way.

The entire trip was absolutely amazing, thanks to Pook's Hill and Adventure Life! We highly recommend staying at Pook's Hill if you want a real Belizean experience and don't want to feel like you're just another tourist staying at a hotel!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank khanson79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013

My husband and I recently stayed at Pook's Hill Lodge for 2 nights before heading to the islands. Vickie, a small, strong woman with a huge smile picked us up at the Belmopan bus station. Once in Teakettle village, you turn off onto a five mile rustic road. If you have ever ridden the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, this ride is pretty much exactly like that. So, if you are renting a car, you MUST have 4x4 to successfully negotiate this road.

When we arrived at the lodge, it felt magical. There are sounds of birds surrounding you and plants and trees with giant foliage. They bring you into the main lodge where your first drink is on the house. Vickie delivered our luggage to our room while we enjoyed our beverages and talked with Jessica. Once we finished our drinks Vicki showed us the ruins and to our room, the forest view cabana #6. Small, cute, clean, and just the cabana I was hoping to get.

After a nap from our exhausting travels, I went down to explore and the mail lodge where Vickie showed me how to get down to the meadow and subsequent trails through the jungle to the river, but it was getting too late to explore further secondary to sunset was nearing. At 6pm, is cocktail hour in the main lodge there you can get water, soda, juice, beer or mixed drink meet some of the other guests and talk about where each if from and about their adventures that day and plans for the next day. There are lanterns set up all around and lends to a very intimate atmosphere. You then head down for dinner at 7pm served buffet style in yet another lantern lit room. Lots of fresh vegetables, beans, rolls and a protein are offered. Of course completed with a desert. Breakfast is served 6-9am? It includes fresh squeezed orange juice, fruit, eggs, toast (or fry jack) and some variety of breakfast meat.

We had been informed that the previous 3 weeks had been very wet and it did have a downpouring thunder and lightning storm while we were there as well which made for a very muddy/slippery path to access the meadow and jungle trails, which I think maybe needed to be lined with stones in order to prevent slippage. There were slippery areas on the jungle trail, but I think that is definitely to be expected.

All day and all night you hear various birds. You will definitely see geckos and butterflies and too many species of birds to count. The views are breathtaking. Be warned you will get eaten alive by mosquitos without application and reapplication of repellant including underneath the areas that your clothing covers. So, wear the bracelet thing, bathe in natural repellant, spray the DEET, eat a ton of garlic prior to your vacation, or whichever of the methods you prefer, but the bites are definitely the gift that keeps on giving.

The staff are wonderful. Thank you to Vicki, Jessica (who is now taking care of baby manatees) Mayra and Hugo as well as the countless other staff members who made our stay so memorable.

Room Tip: Cabana #6 has a view from the top of the small hill and the backside windows are open to the forest...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank orcasdance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2013

For your total Rainforest package deal, Pook's Hill offers the best. We were met at the airport and driven through the countryside to Pook's Hill while Dennis explained the surroundings as we travelled. We stopped at a local café for lunch. After arriving at Pook's Hill, we found the staff working hard to accommodate us with activities since it was unusually wet, even for the rainforest. Owner, Vicki, and manager, Jessica, along with guides Izzy, Mike, and Noe seemed ever-present in their efforts to keep guests completely safe and satisfied. Activity highlights: Tikal, nature walks (Noe), and zip lining. Especially noteworthy was Vicki's personal tour of the on-site Mayan ruins. Individual accommodations were spacious and comfortable complete with a ceiling fan and plenty of hot water (heated by coconuts!).

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank twohappi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2013

If you are looking to meet great people, get off the grid, and have an adventure (the type that might include bugs, nature, and mud), then you MUST visit Pook's Hill.

I spent 6 nights at Pook's Hill recently and I can't say enough what a special place it is. I visited Belize during the rainy season and due to unusual flooding most of the normal sites like ATM, Cahal Peche, and Caracol were closed. Vicki and Jessica took it all in stride and helped come up with interesting alternatives (tikal, ziplining, local market visit). All the guides were excellent (big thanks to Mike, Izzi and Noe). If you get a chance, do the nature walk with Noe or night hike to better appreciate the amazing setting.

As a solo traveler, I appreciated both the 6pm drinks and the family style dining as it gave me a chance to meet a bunch of interesting people as well as adding more places on my to see list! The food is buffet style so be sure to save room for dessert (standouts included the key lime pie, carrot cake, and divine lemon crepes)!

I can't wait to return to Belize and will certainly be swinging back through Pook's Hill.

Room Tip: I had coatamundi hut which was close to the onsite mayan ruin and an easy walk to the lodge.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Liz R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pook's Hill Lodge

Address: PO Box 14, Belmopan, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Cayo > Belmopan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Belmopan
Price Range: $202 - $302 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pook’s Hill is a small eco-lodge situated within the primary rainforest of Western Belize. It borders a 7000 acre reserve and the Roaring River, and is only 4 miles from the ATM cave. Eleven thatch cabanas surround an ancient Maya site and look out over the jungle canopy. Each has a private bathroom with hot water and 24 hour electricity. Pook’s Tours offers a full range of day tours to attractions in Western Belize as well as transportation services to or from any destination in Belize and Tikal in Guatemala (it is a two hour drive from Belize City). Pook’s Hill provides visitors with truly unique jungle experiences in a breathtaking natural setting and is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the treasures of Western Belize. All management and operations at Pook’s Hill are carried out according to sustainable business practices. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pook`s Hill Hotel Belmopan
Pooks Hill Hotel
Pooks Hill Cayo
Pook's Hill Lodge Belize/Belmopan

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