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“Not my kind of place, but loved it anyway!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge

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Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Wasington
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Not my kind of place, but loved it anyway!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2013 via mobile

I have never stayed at a place like this before where you all eat breakfast together at 8am and dinner together in the evening and there is no town in sight, so no freedom to go do your own thing. That said, rooms were great, grounds were beautiful, staff super friendly and most of all the tours were amazing.

We did two tours, both cave-based. One involved tubing and walking and Mayan artifacts and the other involved walking, crawling, climbing, swimming and jumping off of underground waterfalls into pools of water below. I'd do both again, but the waterfall one is a must do. These cave systems are huge and beautiful. The guides were perfect - helpful, friendly, informative, but not over the top or in your face. The ones we met all grew up in local towns and had been working as guides here for many years.

We stayed 3nights and did two tours - it was a nice intro to Belize before heading out to a caye for the rest of our time. I think that this was the perfect amount of time for travelers who are used to being more independent. If you don't mind being in a more structured place like this and like having the resort plan everything for you, then you'll probably be happy staying longer as they had a huge variety of tour options.

We stayed in a jungle cabana which was great- if you can afford a treehouse do it. They looked amazing. Only complaint was that the hot tub never worked and it would have been nice on one of the cooler days after a wet caving trip.

Last thing- just do the package. If you are there, you are there for the tours and the packages give you the best deal. You are not going to be skipping any meals after being out all day and you'll definitely want that beer when you get back.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank lanik23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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833 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (311)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Statesboro, Georgia
Level Contributor
458 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 171 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2013

We had our family reunion here, staying in the treehouses, which were gorgeous. All the wood was mahogany and furniture was made by locals. The owner is a great supporter of the local population, hiring natives (who are wonderful at what they do) in all jobs. The food was delicious, the pools and hot tub delightful, and the many options for touring nearby and far away (Guatemala's Inca ruins) were handled professionally and with ease. Every place we turned we were offered free beverages (including fruit and rum punch). We enjoyed the river, the blue hole, bird watching, horse-back riding, cave-tubing and historical information about the Maya.
I can't recommend this place highly enough - for ANYONE!

Room Tip: We enjoyed the treehouses. The upstairs have a lovely deck hot tub, smaller bedroom, and a beautiful...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ruhu61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2013

We chose Cave's Branch with intention for the adventures it would offer our family with two children ages 14 and 12. It is kind of like camp for families in a beautiful jungle. The grounds and lodging are stunning, especially the tree houses! The staff, during our Christmas 2012 stay, were fabulous; warm, welcoming, accommodating and extremely helpful. So we were stunned to discover that in this pristine, eco-firendly jungle full of outgoing and adventurous guests to find that they allow smoking. Guests during our stay were smoking all around the dining area (it is open air), swimming pool, grounds, etc. It was awful and we were really disappointed to find they allow smoking - ruining the experience around all the common and shared public areas. We hope Ian Anderson reevaluates this smoking policy and consider's changing it. He had just left upon our arrival or we would have asked him about this directly. Otherwise the greatest resource was the well trained staff and we inquired during our day long adventures about how they liked working for Cave's Branch and each said that they were happy and very well taken care of by Ian Anderson.

Room Tip: Tree houses are expensive but fabulous for a traveling family.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank FosterPL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Red Deer, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2013

Sorry for the late review. We stayed for four nights in October and had a great time. Due to the rain in October (not caves branch fault) we werent able to do all of the excursions that we wanted to but really enjoyed the zoo, ziplining, cave tours and we almost made it up to the waterfalls until the river got too high and we got turned around. Safety is always number one with the tours and guides and this was one instance where it was shown. This was really appreciated since we had our outgoing eight year old boy Jesse with us. We stayed in the tree top canapy which was absolutely awesome! The pool is exceptional as well as the food, drinks and service of all of the staff. We were able to meet Ian and listen to his intriguing stories. I was able to make a pretty good howler monkey imitation and he was pretty impressed with that. Highly recommended and we may be able to make it back in April with our whole family!!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank starchub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2012

We just returned from a three day all inclusive package and it was outstanding. We stayed in a canopy treehouse which was beautiful. It was situated perfectly in the trees so that the view from the bed was incredible to wake up to. The coffee service to our door each morning was perfect. Our kids stayed in a river view treehouse which was also great. The steps are worth it to get the views and the experience. We did cave tubing and the black hole. Cave tubing was good but I would recommend the ATM caves if you have never been in caves. The black hole was incredible. The hike was beautiful and the rappelling was spectacular. We needed one more day to add Tikal

The best thing about cavesbranch is the communal dining and the staff. At the end of each day you are seated with other guests and the opportunity to share stories and meet new friends is perfect. We met friends that will be in our lives forever. The staff is incredible. Jason made our stay filled with laughter from the first moment of the morning until the last beer of the night. Dylan and Kareem were fabulous as were the rest of the servers and kitchen staff. Eugene made sure that we were well taken care of.

Thank you to cavesbranch for an amazing end to another fabulous trip to Belize.

Room Tip: Spend a little extra and climb the steps to stay in a canopy treehouse.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank lovetraveltoronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Zealand
Level Contributor
34 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

Caves branch is very special, pricy but you get a unique experience. We booked a jungle cabana and fortunately were upgraded to a jungle suite. Quite a relief because the jungle cabanas are old and very average for the price. I saw the interior of the treehouses and without a doubt they are classy. The atmosphere, communal dining each night makes for great socializing. All inclusive packages makes things easy and laundry is very reasonably priced.

Activities are the essence of a stay and we loved the cave-tubing / zip lining, Belize Zoo and of course Tikal. We did Tikal on our last day and then continued on in Guatemala so doing this tour with Caves Branch took the hassle out of the border crossing.

Staff were very friendly and accommodating....thanks Kareem, Eugene, all the guides and Mario for finding us a tarantula.

Rooms could do with more lighting and pillows a little average. If you've got the cash, get a tree house and you can't go wrong.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Monkeyboynz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

When we arrived at Caves Branch, I felt like we had reached paradise. Leaving Portland rain and snow behind, we stood awstruck at the garden of Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. The grounds around the lodge, pool, paths and cabins have been planted thickly with tropical flowers and plants. I spotted every houseplant I had ever owned grown to brobillian size at this river hideaway.

Pretty content just to sit and marvel at it all. At night I spooked myself going back to my cabin alone with a flashlight. Heck it gets dark here and the shadows cast ominus forms, jaguars? Before dinner, we are asked what we want to do the next day. It's summer camp!

We are not the fittest travelors. Well into our fifties, my husband had a recent rotator cuff injury and my feet are tricky. Our teenager had mono. We needed to pace ourselves because many of the adventures are pretty extreme. We started with horseback riding in the jungle. We had a great guide and fine horses. Our guide was the Belizean barrell racing champion. The ride was at Banana Ranch where there is a small zoo. We got pretty close to the black jaguar that was contentedly chewing on cow heads. We also saw the deadly snake on the loose. Watch where you are walking.

At dinner that night, we assessed our physical capacities and opted for the short river cave expedition. We paddled upstream in a shallow river through the cave entrance. We then paddled and climbed through the cave. It was like the National Geographic magazines had come alive... sparking stalagmites, vampire bats, huge caverns and my all time favority, bacon stalamites. It was rough going but worth it. We saw some Mayan sacrificial sites and had a picnic in a cave. I did well, but sprained my ankle a little just as we left the cave. At dinner we talked about our big adventure. I said it was hard, but everyone told me it was easy. Obviously these people are tougher than I am.

So what can softies do at Cave Branch? Bird watching! We got up at 6 am to look at the birds. We had two excellent guides, Abel and Esperanza. Try to bird watch on a clear day as the birds do not show themselves in the rain.

At dinner that night, we were told that the ATM cave adventure was just right for us. It was supposed to be easy. Well, consider the source, a twenties something semiprofessional rock climber. At the ATM cave, I was really challenged. It involved swimming through a cave which was the easiest part. My husband doesn't swim, so he had a life jacket. We then climbed what seemed to be miles. I was identied by the guide as a weak link so I got a lot of extra attention from our guide Michael. He told me where to step, held my hand when he could and kept admonishing me, "Careful mother." We had some magic moments. Finally we reached the area where we took our shoes off and entered the cavern of the sacrifices. If you are a scholar of the Mayan, you will know that caves are the Mayan underworld. In times of doubt, drought and calamity the Mayans came into the caves to make sacrificial offerings to the gods. The floor of this cavern is covered with pottery and human bones. I felt very solumn and in sympathy with the victims, especially thinking that I now had to climb out of this cave. As I am writing this review, you can see that I made it.

Other trips included going to the local Mayan temples and a trip to Tikal. Our travel agent, Lydia arranged for us to go overnight with another tour company. It was not planned very well, but overall the destination was worth it. We got to be at the ruins in the evening when the monkeys and birds were very active. In the morning we basically had the ruins to ourselves. Our best moment in Belize was going to the ruins in the morning with the howler monkeys in full chorus. Caves Branch does have a day trip to Tikal, but I really recommend the overnight stay. Our diver for the day was an archeologist who could answer any question we posed. He was also a cave explorer. He was excited because he had the opportunity to explore a new cave that was found by ranchers.

I learned that Belize has hundreds of caves running through the limestone rock. Limestone was used to build the pyramids. Anyone who loves exploring caves would be in heaven in Belize. I felt happy to have experienced a small part of that.

Room Tip: The jungle bungalows were very nice with large king beds, big bathrooms, bunk beds for kids and outd...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank squilope
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

Property: 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: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the lush rainforest of central Belize, Caves Branch Jungle Lodge offers visitors the opportunity to immerse in a culture of mid-range to extreme adventures. From the guest rooms that are open to the sights and sounds of the jungle, some of which are thatched in the ancient style of the Maya to our luxurious Treehouse suites, your experience should be something that must be experienced to be believed and once experienced, truly-never forgotten! ... 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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