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“Lovely”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Cotton Tree Lodge

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Cotton Tree Lodge
Ranked #4 of 17 Punta Gorda B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Lovely”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 27, 2013

My husband and I stayed here for three nights in early March. The lodge is beautiful and the staff are friendly. The meals were delicious. Alcoholic drinks were not included in the all-inclusive price and turned out to be quite expensive - $5 for a beer and $7 for rum punch, but our stay was still overall much less expensive than another resort we stayed at. The tours were very fun. We did a cacao farm tour which was fun and interesting. We also did a zip lining (extra cost) and river tubing tour. We enjoyed stopping mid river and drinking rum and coconut water from a coconut. The cabanas were clean, but they are in the jungle so we had cockroaches in the bathroom at night and one night there was a giant spider by the bed. But this is just the result of staying in the jungle, not the fault of the lodge. The bed is surrounded by mosquito netting and the bugs were not too bad while we were there. We only wore bug repellant on our cacao farm tour and only got a few mosquito bites during our stay. The cabanas have screens all around so you will hear the sounds of the jungle all night long, so if you are a light sleeper, bring earplugs, but the sounds of the jungle - bugs, birds, howler monkeys - were one of my favorite things about this trip. My husband also loved swimming in the river. The staff are so kind and will do their best to accommodate your interests when scheduling excursions but you will have to do what works out with the other guests. We recommend going out to the jungle cabana for a visit if it is not occupied.

Room Tip: Pick a room with a hammock. They are listed on the website. I think the one we stayed in was a delux...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank Beth V
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, March 28, 2013
Thank you for all of the kind words. We are always happy to be able to pass along to our local staff all of the wonderful things the guests are saying about them here and in emails. We offer a drink special daily to keep the cost of our bar offerings down, but we do have to factor our remote location off of the grid into these prices since we must transport all of our own drinks, buy ice, provide electricity for refrigerators, etc. While it is the jungle and we do have bugs all around us, we are constantly trying to improve the experience of our guests, and that includes bug control through the use of natural insecticides so that they are minimal in the cabanas. Thanks for the feedback as we continually work on this. Come back and see us again!
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268 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 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
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (76)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2013

My sister and I came to Cotton Tree Lodge for her birthday, and had a wonderful time! The cabanas were amazing, clean and roomy. The daily activities for touring were excellent, highly recommend the cacao farm and blue creek tours. We learned so much about cacao on this trip! The spelunking we did at Blue Creek was so worth the trip-swimming in caves, seeing the ruins on the ceilings...wonderful. We also did a day trip into the city-which was great-seeing the local fares, food and visiting the pharmacy-no prescriptions needed! We did a day trip on horseback to local caves, which was terrific-just the horseback riding adventure alone was amazing! Cotton Tree had amazing food, on site tours were so informative...and the staff? Can I say? Excellent! The howler monkeys are on site, enjoy! Can also hike on site, and enjoy kayaking on the river. Take a day trip to Guatemala if so inclined. Would I come back? Definitely! A+++++ experience in Belize!

Room Tip: The rooms are mostly the same, depending on your family size. We were 2 sisters, each had a queen si...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Inessa D
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, March 26, 2013
Thank you so much for the wonderful review. Come back and see us again!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Congers, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2013

My husband and I received this reservation as a gift from our daughter and son in law and we arrived one week after they got married. We wondered about malaria and other health issues. To our great surprise we felt so welcomed and safe.
The Lodge is truly a meeting place of very interesting world travelers. It becomes immediately apparent that the whole staff is concerned about your comfort. Most of the staff were very gracious Mayans and the chef, Sean, was a daily delight to talk with about recipes. We had read a few blogs about Cotton Tree and watched some Youtube videos. We were very happy that we paid attention to buying river shoes, taking malaria pills and brought plenty of bug repellant. The weather during our week was very moderate and the mosquitoes were not a big problem. The Blue Cave expedition is not to be missed, followed by a rope swing splash in the pool below.
Our accommodations in a cabana were cozy with a wonderful river view. The full meal plan is the way to go since there are no other food accommodations available. The small plane to get to Cotton Tree was an extraordinary view of the coast.
One note of caution would be that there is little health care in the area. Someone with compromised health issues should take note that medical care would be hard to find.
Although we had heard from others that it is not recommended to stay in Belize City, we never felt unsafe in any other area that we visited.
It 's wonderful to see that Cotton Tree also invites interns to help them establish ways of improving life in the local villages. By all means, we would go back!

Room Tip: We do not recommend the remote jungle hut. It seems very isolated. Our cabana was great. We never...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Peter M
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, March 26, 2013
Hi Peter,
We are so glad you enjoyed your stay and thank you for all of the great feedback. It is truly wonderful to hear from our guests after they have a great stay. We do have two doctors down the road who are able to make house calls, and in case of emergency there is a hospital in Punta Gorda. Great to hear you found your cabana to be very comfortable- the jungle cabana is definitely not for everyone but is quite well-suited for those looking for an adventure further into the jungle. Thanks again- come back soon!
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Lander, Wyoming
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2013

We had a great time at Cotton Tree. The staff took good care of us and enabled us to fully recover from a active week of diving on Tom Owens Cay. We especially enjoyed being able to roam about and get to know the local folks. The visit to the cacao farm and ensuing lunch and cacao demonstration was perhaps our favorite. The accommodations were fun and novel. Thanks for a great time.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rick A
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, March 21, 2013
We are so glad that you enjoyed your stay at Cotton Tree Lodge. Thanks for the kind words!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Addison, Texas
Level Contributor
96 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 28, 2013

It was a Road Scholar program that took me to Belize, but it was the Cotton Tree Lodge that managed, programmed and hosted us the entire time we were in Belize. Was fascinated by the insights into Mayan culture provided through exchanges with both lodge staff and their programs such as the visit to the cacao farm of Eladio Pop. The Road Scholar enhancement to the programs that are available to all clients of the lodge was a visit to a nearby Mayan school which provided enormous insight to the efforts being made their toward cultural preservation. But by and large, our activities were the same as those available to any client who books a stay at the lodge. We did miss the cave swimming experience due to the persistent inclement weather, and the alternative activity of swimming in a nearby park was a poor one. But overall, the activities were well planned and executed. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to visit Mayan architectural ruins in the area. And since our visit coincided with the Belize national elections, we also got to see history in the making! Cotton Tree provided us a wonderful glimpse into the culture of southern Belize both historical and contemporary. And the accommodations are extraordinary given their location in the middle of the tropical rainforest!

Room Tip: You can book a room deeper in the forest isolated from the rest. I didn't try it, but ask about...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank twintx
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, March 2, 2013
We are so glad to hear you liked your stay! We really enjoy having groups come through, and are always delighted with Road Scholars groups. We are constantly working to improve the experience for our guests, so the feedback about your experience is greatly appreciated. Road Scholars do have special guest speakers and musicians that come to enhance the experience, as well as the opportunity to visit sites that are not offered to our other guests. The Road Scholars also travel and eat together as a group with a dedicated staff person, in order to really make it a true group experience. Of course they also go on our most popular tours to get the true Cotton Tree experience of the Southern Belize jungle. Thanks again for the feedback. We look forward to more Road Scholars groups in the future!
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Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2013

This place if for someone who wants an adventure. The all-inclusive is the only way to go, and will allow you to not feel so bad if the day's tour turns out to be something you didn't expect (I am probably the only person to not care for the chocolate farm, but I'm still happy I went). We LOVED Blue Creek Cave, Tiger Cave, and our hike up the hill in the San Felipe Village (can't recall the name). We tubed down the river, visited ruins, and went snorkeling (weather was not awesome and I felt totally sea sick..but we had a large group so it didn't cost us an arm and a leg as it is the only tour we did that was extra). The cabana requires nightly bug killing missions (we only had cockroaches and got off easy..next door there was a scorpion...), the sheets feel moist all the time (humidity) and the mattress was not good (they doubled up on mattresses next door, but we didn't have two of the same size bed to do that) and I know that sounds reasonably bad but, I'm telling you its totally worth it. Never again will I feel that awesome about a physically challenging journey (the aforementioned caves). The food is honestly amazing, the lunches they pack are delicious and you will NEVER go hungry. The drinks are delicious, and the staff are super helpful. My husband did not care for "family style" meals each night, but he's not terrible social. Personally, I thought it was fun to interact with the guests and hear about their day's adventure. We stayed 8 nights and would do it again in a heartbeat.
My tips are: Deet? hahaha...didn't work at all. Be brave enough to swim in the water...its worth it. Bring some cortisone for your bug bites, wear sunscreen always, and make sure you have long pants. They provide mud boots for you, so I never really needed my hiking boots. Also, you want some water shoes in the Blue Creek cave, so start doing P90x, because you're gonna need it.

Room Tip: You will not escape the howler monkeys. Take ambien if you have it. I only docked on sleep quality b...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Melissa M
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, February 22, 2013
Hi Melissa,
Thanks so much for the kind words about the lodge. We're so glad that you enjoyed your stay. The feedback about the bugs is definitely heard. While it is the jungle and we do have bugs all around us, we are constantly trying to improve the experience of our guests, and that includes bug control through the use of natural insecticides so that they are minimal in the cabanas. It's a work in progress so thanks for the heads up that we have more to do. The humidity is also a constant battle in the jungle. We've found that turning on the fan a bit before bed helps to relieve some of the humidity. A jump in the river helps with the heat too, so I'm glad to hear you were not scared! We are especially proud of our tours, our food, and the adventure our guests experience in the jungle, so we're glad you were not disappointed. Thanks again for the good words, and the feedback to us to improve the experience for future guests.
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Somerville, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 13, 2013

My boyfriend and I were able to escape Winter Storm Nemo, which hit the day we flew to Belize, at the Cotton Tree Lodge. We purchased a package through Groupon and upgraded to an all-inclusive package in a private cabana (instead of the Garden Vista Room). All my interactions via email with the staff prior to our arrival went smoothly. They were very patient and helpful, and they answered all my questions. They even offered to help us book the flight from Belize City to Punta Gorda.

When we got to the Punta Gorda Airport, a staff person was waiting there for us. He warned us the drive was going to get bumpy once we got off the main road (and he wasn't kidding, it felt like we'd spent 45 minutes inside a bucking bronco). We got to the lodge and checked in, and the chef talked to us about our food issues to make sure we weren't served something we couldn't eat (only on his night off did the forbidden ingredient appear on my plate). We were welcomed with a free drink (rum punch) and told appetizers would be served a 6pm and the four-course meal would be served family style at 7. We went to our cabana, which was very nice, to settle in and then relaxed in the gazebo (and played with the owner's puppy, Tucker) until it was time to head to the lodge. The meal was wonderful, but we'd filled up too much on appetizers (jackfish caught by one of the other guests).

Admittedly, the first night was a little rough. Reading reviews doesn't prepare you for what it's like to stay in a remote location in the rainforest. Between the heat, a hard bed that made me have to pee more frequently than usual (from 0 to 5, which included my only major bug encounter, with a cockroach), the excitement of starting the vacation and being in a strange location, tiredness from 12 hours of flying, and then of course the sounds of the jungle (birds, crickets, and the horror-movie quality sounds of the howler monkeys at midnight and early morning), I wasn't able to get very much sleep. However, when we got up we were finally able to see how truly beautiful the resort was. The next few nights falling asleep became easier, but I never got a truly restful sleep (at least during a vacation you can easily nap during the day and it was cool on the porch in the hammock under the fan).

Because we had the all-inclusive package, we did a tour every day. Only the horseback ride through the jungle to the Santa Ana Cave was slightly disappointing (it was a 1.5 hour horseback ride mostly on road under the blazing sun and partly through the bug-filled jungle to reach a tiny cave that was not spectacular aside from the bats and a great guide who happily helped us take photos and then another 1.5 hour ride back). The trip to Eladio's farm the next day was better, as his "farm" is not like any you've seen before and offers opportunities to try some unique foods (allspice, a strange cabbage-tasting leaf, raw cacao, and the most flavorful plantains I've ever tasted) while he shares his unabashed love of nature and his spiritual outlook on life. After you have lunch at his house with his wife and 15 children (and 15 grandchildren so far), his oldest daughter shows you how she makes her own chocolate (letting you taste along the way). They were all very charming, and I loved meeting them. We also bought a souvenir from them (which they set up on tables while you were watching the chocolate-making demonstration). Finally, we visited two different Mayan ruins, which are not as elaborate as, say, Machu Picchu but have their own interesting histories (the Crystal Skull was allegedly found at Lubaantun and both featured ballcourts where, depending on the purpose of the game, either the winner or loser was sacrificed).

Everyone at the lodge was extremely friendly, including the guests, who you will get to know while you adventure and eat together every day. The owner introduced himself on the last day, and you could see why all the employees seemed to genuinely like working there. We chatted with many of them, and they all were very knowledgeable and friendly. When we expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of hammock at our cabana they switched us to a different room without issue. As far as the meals, there were a few misses, but all of the food comes from the garden or through trades with neighbors, so we had plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade bread, as well as unusually American or European dishes each night (French onion soup, chicken with fettuccine, stuffed pork chops, cheesecake with chocolate made on-site, and lobster bisque).

My biggest complaint is that we didn't stay there longer. There were still plenty of tours I would have liked to have tried (with a minimum of four guests required in order to arrange a tour off the property, your schedule is sometimes determined by the interests of others). The day we left for the airport, all the remaining guests that day were heading out with the owner to go snorkeling in the Snake Cayes, which we really wanted to do. Some of the more adventurous visitors said they loved the Tiger Cave (though it was very challenging), zip-lining, swimming though Blue Creek Cave, and kayaking or tubing down the Moho River, while others enjoyed the garden tour, the early morning bird walk, or chatting with the woman who runs the pottery studio and the fellow who leads the Medicinal Plant Walk.

This is not the kind of resort for someone looking for luxury. It is a sustainable hotel (so typical resort amenities are limited) in Central America (hot & humid), and there are a lot of bugs. The Moho River is great for swimming, fishing or kayaking, and my boyfriend liked the rope swing. The couple who stayed in the jungle cabana (a quarter mile into the jungle, past the horses and goats, on a walkway made of three wooden planks) said they would stay there again in a heartbeat even after a run-in with a tarantula in their bathroom. If you can't take the heat or humidity, the ceiling fans in the room may not offer enough comfort, and the mosquito netting in the windows and around the bed sometimes fail to keep out the bugs. There is no TV or Internet, and cell phones will not work, so those addicted to technology may have trouble adapting (they do play music from an iPod in the lodge when people are there for dinner and cocktails). However, this is a fantastic resort with an important Eco-friendly and community-supportive focus, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique adventure.

Room Tip: Get your meals covered. There is nowhere else to go for food (so you will have to pay their per meal...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank AnubisAbyss
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, February 22, 2013
Hi there,
Thanks so much for the high praise! We are so glad you enjoyed your stay. You provided some great tips for future guests as to what to expect in the jungle. A note about the bugs: this is a constant work in progress through the use of natural insecticides to keep bugs to a minimum in the cabanas so do know that we are listening to that feedback. We are so glad that you enjoyed the food. Our chef is training our local staff and working with our gardener to continually improve and diversify the food that is served to guests. Thanks again for all of your kind words.
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Additional Information about Cotton Tree Lodge

Property: Cotton Tree Lodge
Address: Moho River, Punta Gorda, Belize
Phone Number:
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 17 B&Bs / Inns in Punta Gorda
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Cotton Tree Lodge 3*
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 
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Also Known As:
Cotton Tree Hotel Punta Gorda
Cotton Tree Lodge Belize/Punta Gorda

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