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Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
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Reviews (927)
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432 - 437 of 927 reviews
Reviewed April 23, 2014

Holy moly was this place cool. I cannot even begin to describe all the great qualities one will find at this place. The staff is top notch and the food is wonderful. The suites are are so beautiful and immersed in the magic of the jungle. If you want to escape the elements and stay in a cushy, air-conditioned and sterilized environment, Caves Branch most likely will not meet your needs. However if that is the lodging you are looking for I would have to wonder what you are doing in Belize to begin with. This place is spectacular. I think back on our trip fondly and hope to come back here one day, perhaps once I have kids. It is definitely a spot to "pay forward".

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Alicia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2014

My wife, our 7 year old daughter and I traveled to Caves Branch in March. We travel a good bit, and this is the first time I ever felt compelled to write a review but the staff and experience at Caves Branch was so great we had to share it. We spent 5 nights in the Canopy View Treehouse and it was amazing. It was a long walk up, so don't forget anything!

I can't say enough about how well they treated us; especially our daughter. We went on a tour of the Mayan ruins, we did a morning bird watch, a night tour of the jungle, zip lining, cave tubing, and made a visit to the zoo. On the excursions the guides were very attentive to our daughter, always making sure she was safe and having fun. Abel, Ching and Rosa were simply fantastic. Everyone did a great job educating us about the mayans, the history of Belize, the flora and fauna, etc.

One night, Ella sat at our table and we mentioned that our daughter wanted to explore the orchid garden and look for frogs. Ella found us later and gave us a personal tour of the garden, showing us her unique and wonderful plants, and we even found a tree frog!

This is definitely a trip for active people looking to explore Belize. I would not go here if you just want to sit at the pool and go to the spa, but if you want to hike and explore Caves Branch is perfect. We already plan on coming back when our daughter is a little older so we can do some of the more intense excursions that she was too young to handle.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank maccarolina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2014 via mobile

We loved, loved, loved Caves Branch! Staff was amazing, trips amazing, and the food amazing. A great place for families with kids & couples.The grounds were beautiful, and nice and quiet, It is not just on our places to return, we will book a trip as soon as we get home!

Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Debispeck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2014

Absolutely amazing. My wife and I honeymooned in Belize; four nights in the jungle at Caves Branch Lodge followed by four nights on San Pedro Island at the Xanadu Resort. The initial part of our stay was booked in the jungle because I enjoy the more adventurous activities while my wife would rather lay on the beach and relax. In the end, we both fell in love with Caves Branch and were sad to leave. We even thought about canceling our beach trip to stay at the lodge because my wife fell in love with the adventures and the staff.

We purchased a GoPRO Black3 along with a few accessories for the trip. Since we are new to the GoPRO community, we will include some info below on what worked, what didn't work and how we would have done it differently.

From the moment you arrive, you feel like a part of the lodge family. We were greeted by Rene for the walk up tot he front desk. The cold rum punch was a nice touch on arrival after the long journey. After a quick check in and tour, we hit the bar to begin the relaxation. The bar is open until 9:30pm. Don't worry, after trekking through the jungle all day and filling up at dinner, you will be in bed by 9pm to prepare for the next day. My wife and I considered the bar staff to be great friends after only four nights at the lodge. They are personable, honest and hard working folks who never made it seem like it was their job to be nice. If it was, they did a very good job in fooling us. The local drinks were included in the stay but the premium spirits were extra along with blended drinks because of the draw on the generator system with blender use. Not an issue though, the prices were still normal. I think the Belikin Beer record is still holding strong at 24 in one day, so feel free to try and take it down.

Rooms. No air-conditioning. No electrical outlets. No problem! It was nice and refreshing to be disconnected from the world and really enjoy nature. The screened in suite amid the trees made it feel like we were a part of the jungle. Being the first week of April, the temperature dropped to a very comfortable 60/70 degree range during the night so sleeping was never a problem. The jungle noises were wonderful to fall asleep to and the howler monkeys are the perfect alarm clock...at 11pm, 2am and 5am. I opted for the outdoor shower while my wife preferred the indoor shower which came with it's own tree! The room was always put back together perfectly by the time we returned from our daily adventures and we started looking forward to the towel art of flowers, frogs or other tropical themes on the bed. If you're afraid of bugs, don't worry; we only saw one spider during our visit and Rene was nice enough to escort him out the room in a flash.
*** Other rooms do offer electrical outlets and air conditioning. We were in one of the tree houses.

Food. The food was amazing! The set up is buffet style for breakfast and dinner; my wife and I were never around the lodge for lunch. Breakfast never let us down. The lodge offered something for every palette and more than enough to power you through your daily activities. Flour tortilla, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh peppers, onions and lots of hot sauce was my go-to meal. Lunch on tour was served during the middle of the adventure, most times on a linen carried by the guide spread across a rock. The wraps were the greatest meals ever! Fresh veggies, lunch meats, condiments and plenty of hot sauce on fresh flour tortillas. These are not the flour tortillas you are used to seeing the the states -- these are real tortillas which can be a meal in itself. I am going to miss those things!

Dinner consists of at least three courses so do not fill up on the chips and homemade cheese or the salad/pasta course. Each day is something different and each day was better than the last. Much like breakfast, if you leave the dinner table hungry, it is your fault. Generous offerings and plenty of options for vegetarians also.

Our departure was prior to the normal breakfast time on our last day. We didn't mention anything to the staff but once they overheard us talking at the bar about of transfer back to Belize City, they insisted on having two plates prepared for us before we left. We love those guys!

Adventures. The lodge offers a number of activities ranging in exertion level from lounging on an inner tube through caves to a rigorous hike to the Black Hole drop repelling site. My wife and I chose the ATM cave, cave waterfall and Black Hole drop tours. Each were outstanding and at the higher level of physical activity than some of other tours we discussed at dinner each night with the other guests. All three are highly recommended and were complete with outstanding, well educated and funny guides. Chico on the Black Hole tour had us laughing the entire time. Good dude all around.

ATM: The ATM tour does not allow cameras in order to preserve the Mayan artifacts but do not let this small detail steer you away. A tourist dropped a camera on a skull some years back. The tour is a great history lesson intermixed with refreshing dips into the cave pools. You will be completely soaked, head to toe, so be prepared.

GoPRO Recommendation: SOL.

WATERFALL: The cave waterfall tour is much like the ATM tour but with the waterfall adventure, you will be clambering over boulders and up rock faces while fighting the flow of refreshing cave river water. Don't worry, you are secured in a climbing harness and in the capable hands of the guides. One the return hike through the caves, you will be able to make the jump into the pools below the falls which was the highlight for me.

GoPRO Gear: Head mount strap. 32GB card and the normal battery lasted the entire trip. I made sure to turn off the camera when not shooting and I did not use the wifi function.

GoPRO Recommendation: The guides provide a Petzl helmet that is made with four anchor points to hold the head lamp in place, these anchor points worked extremely with the GoPRO head strap and the lamp.

Light! You will be given a head lamp to use during the trip and when everyone has their light on one location, it worked ok. I have a surefire light that rivals the sun but I did not bring it on the trip. I would recommend bringing a powerful handheld or helmet mounted light to capture video in the caves. Make sure they're waterproof.

BLACK HOLE DROP: The Black Hole drop was the most demanding of the three during the hike to the site. If the ATM tour hike to the cave is a 1, then the Black Hole hike to the drop is a 7. The hike is a great thigh workout as you will be climbing steep grades for about 40 minutes depending on the fitness level of the group. Rocks, vines, trees, roots and the occasional spider mark the trail. At the end, you find yourself atop a couple hundred foot drop into a crater. Each member repels to the bottom so you have plenty of time to rest and take in the view on top and at the bottom. Don't be scared! Small kids to the elderly have done the drop and you've already come all the way to Belize so are you going to back out at the top of the drop? The hike back is leisurely compared to the ascent and the quick hike around the bottom of the crater was amazing.

GoPRO Gear: Diving wrist housing, telescoping GoStick, 32GB Card, normal battery.

GoPRO Recommendation: I used the GoStick for the hike to capture video from every angle, no issues here. For the decent into the crater, I opted to use the wrist housing to capture the close up video of how scared I was. Worked great. The guides will let you bring your camera on the decent if it is strapped to you so any GoPro accessory is good. The GoStick or helmet cam attachment would have worked well too. I recommend planning for editing when picking your which angles you want to capture.

We absolutely loved Caves Branch and the jungle. This is a must see if you plan on going to Belize and especially if you will be in the Belmopan district. The entire staff was a pleasure to meet work with daily. My wife and I are already planning a return trip to Belize and a stay at Caves Branch.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank dan w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2014

Our 3 nights at Caves Branch were the most unique, rewarding and challenging vacation time we have ever scheduled and we loved it.

From pick up at the airport to drop off at the ferry the trip was exceptional and we made lasting friendships with other families.

The room -- we stayed in a jungle room, floor level. It is so unique how you are on with the jungle and protected by just screens. It is so nice waking to a breeze and seeing assorted wildlife. What may not be so nice to some but makes teh experience is the howler monkeys barking away throughout the night -- it lets you know where you are. Probably the most unique room our family has stayed in and 4 of us were comfortable with bunk beds and a queen in the other room. Pls note, no air cond, outlets, tv, etc....part of the experience

Meals -- were great with plenty of choices. They are regimented by time but that allows for families to get to know each other. Unless you have a large party, you will dine with other families during your stay --- truly a benefit. The food is a buffet, usually a very good mix of salads, fish, chicken, beef, pork, pastas, etc.....they work hard to please! Fresh squeezed OJ in the morning using the manual press is fun for kids. Order coffee service if you're an early riser.

On site activities,....plenty for kids to explore with pool, botanical gardens and river as part of property. Our kids kept themselves busy every second...and were exhausted at the end of the day.

Excursions....we did the cave waterfalls and the local Mayan ruins.

The waterfall trip was extremely challenging and rewarding for all of us especially our 9 year old and we stretched comfort zones to grow. The hikes, climbs and jumps were challenging and exhilarating. You will be hot, cold, wet, dry, sweaty, dirty and so satisfied by the end. Long pants a must and good hiking water shoes.

The ruins were great, climbing , exploring and learning the history of the people. One of the highlights for the kids was a pack of howler monkeys at Xunantunich.

FINALLY --- what makes the experience so awesome is the staff of people they assembled as guides and employees to make your trip worthwhile. Carmen, Anthony, Danny, Christian, Maria, Carlos, Jorge.....they were all excellent and tourism and customer service is their calling!

This is not a place you come to sit by the pool ---- you get out there and explore, hike, climb, jump, etc....then reward yourself with a pool plunge and a satisfying dinner before passing out at 8:30!

Thanks for the memories!

Room Tip: Better chance to see Howler monkeys in tree top suites, however, you have to climb the steps. Our room was ground floor so we were one with nature! All rooms about equidistant to central area.
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank ChrisJohnson97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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