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Reviewed 10 December 2011

We stayed in one of the caves branch treehouses which was very nice. It was a bit of a hike up to them, but the hike was worth it! (112 steps).

I've been to Belize twice and it is pretty rare to get the quality of accomodations that Caves branch provides. (Think long hot showers!)

Another thing I really liked is that it was possible to get actual vegetables for dinner. They served a full range of foods (not just Jonny Cakes and meat). Though the Jonny Cakes and meat they did server were quite good.

If you are into gardening their botanical garden is a real treat. You will not find a garden like they have at any hotels I've been to.

It was also interesting that the owner (Ian Anderson) ate dinner with the guests while I was there. He's a very interesting fellow and made dinner conversation something to look forward to.

If I had to pick some negatives... it was a little too easy to run up a bar tab (i.e those after dinner drinks that they offer/push on you are actually $6 a pop)... If you don't like tipping you will be doing a lot of it if you come here... bags, tours etc...

Room Tip: If you want a real treat get one of the tree houses. They are expensive but unique!
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank Mike D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 December 2011

If you're looking to be taken care of from the time you step off of the plane, this is the place for you. A Caves Branch representative was waiting for us as we exited the airport and called our driver, who showed up within 10m. In the meantime we got tons of friendly helpful information from the rep - and it only continued when the driver arrived.

The drive took an hour or so and we arrived at Caves Branch. Upon arrival we were given a cocktail and a mini-orientation.

At Caves Branch there is a bit of a schedule that is followed, which threw me off a bit at first, but it really worked out well.

Breakfast is served at 8:00am. I am a bartender and am used to a later schedule, but we were always awoken by the sun rising over the rainforest. A few nights I was lucky enough to wake up when it was still dusk and there was a fog over the forest - amazing. Our treehouse was an adventure in itself. But more on that later...

Breakfast was typically fresh fruits (papaya, pineapple, mango), yogurt with granola (one of my favs), fried potatoes with onions and peppers that I chose to mix with the house-made chunky roasted salsa and beans (my other fav), eggs, and fry jacks - my husbands fav - think of an elephant ear without the cinnamon and sugar. There was also a weird sausage served one of the days that we weren't too fond of - but the rest of it I miss and crave.

At 9:00am the adventure guides show up and take you to whatever adventure you signed up for the night before. A couple of the trips need more than one couple to sign up for, but we didn't have a problem with this. We also went in October, part of their slow season, so there were only a handful of other couples there at that time and for two of our adventures it was just us and the guide(s). There are many great adventures to choose from.

On our first day, my husband and I joined a wonderful group of like-minded young adults from Canada for a cave-tubing and zip-lining adventure. We all hoped on the back of a tractor trailer and took a ride through some orange groves in the rainforest. A fun way to start our trip! Next was the best cave-tubing trip I've ever gone on, with a stop for lunch (buffet style that's included in the package but bring cash if you are going to want to buy the most expensive beer you'll buy on your trip), followed by the best zip-lining adventure I've had.

On our second adventure Julio gave my husband and I a tour of San Ignacio and some Mayan Ruins. Unfortunately we were only able to do part of the tour because the second half required a ferry and the water was too high from heavy rain the night before.

Sidenote about the rain: The forecast always showed thunderstorms and heavy rain when I checked in the states, and it was raining when we showed up to Belize City - but after we were in the rainforest it only rained at night when we were in our open air treehouse. And boy was it incredible! Being in that room and hearing the storm start up, all of the insects hiding in the rainforest react to it, and then just downpour for a half hour or so until it suddenly fades away and stops is amazing. It will also wake you up every few hours - at least on the first night for us.

Anyways - back to the adventures: Since we had the extra time, Julio let us make some stops in town. We wanted to get some snacks to stock in our room because the only opportunities to eat at the resort are at breakfast and dinner. Your lunches are set up for you while you are on your adventure - so you don't want to plan a leisure day at Caves Branch. You are far enough removed where there is no city to hop a cab to, there is a pool and Albert or Kareem is always around to pour you some rum punch, but really not much else going on.

Day Three was saved for last and what a way to end our time in the rain forest. Again, we got the tour all to ourselves. Three guides took us on a quick drive to where we began our hike. Two of the guides took their own route and somehow passed us with enough time to get their rappelling system set up. (I think they took the elevator). In the meantime we were guided by a knowledgeable young man who we could never get his name straight. We liked to remember him as Anyong. All of the guides are trained in every aspect of the country and adventures. They can each tell you any and everything about Belize, it's people, and it's culture.

Anyong took us on a hike that took about an hour and a half and was pretty strenuous. We were drenched from the combination of exertion and humidity. Once we reached the top we rappelled 300ft, through the basin of the rainforest, to the underside of a cave. Since it was just the two of us and we completed the hike quickly we were able to put on headlights and climb into a small opening deeper inside the cave. Inside was massive and gorgeous. Full of glittery stalactites and stalagmites and Mayan ritual remnants. We ended our day with a yummy picnic lunch Anyong laid out for us.

Once you return from your adventures to the resort you leisurely spend your time until 6:00pm, which is chips and salsa time, followed by dinner at 6:30pm. You are encouraged to sit family style with the other guests, and in fact they will only set up the amount of tables needed so you can't really sit alone. I wasn't sure about this either as we were on our honeymoon and I was afraid the trip wouldn't be romantic enough. Turned out family-style was fine and we had our romantic times during our second half of the trip on the island of Ambergris Caye.

Dinner is usually rice & beans or beans & rice (two different things), some fruit, some protein, homemade breads and soups (soo good - the spinach soup was awesome), salad, and a couple of pies for dessert. They also have a veggie there called Chola I really liked.

The bar is open until 9:00pm at Caves Branch, which works out fine given the schedule. You're also able to take a bucket of Belikin's (the only beer in Belize) to your room if you want to wind down privately and just enjoy the ambiance of your suite. Just don't plan on watching any TV because you don't have one in your room. You're also missing a mini-fridge, coffee maker, and electricity - but who needs that in the jungle? The gorgeous loft, comfy bed, impressive bathroom, and private outdoor patio with outdoor shower make up for it.

The staff is great at Cave Branch, helping you from the time you arrive to getting you off to your next destination. The scenery is gorgeous, the adventures are awesome, and the treehouse can't be beat. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Treehouse all the way.
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank jraeruhl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2011

I spent 4 days at the Jungle Lodge. I did all kinds of adventures - caving, hiking, repelling, night hikes through the jungle and swimming in secluded pools. The group cabins were basic but perfect for what I needed while traveling by myself. The showers were fine considering you were in the middle of the jungle. The food was amazing! Overall the value was good and I would go back. BUT...watch out for the bot flies. Where lots of mosquito repellent. if you don't know what a bot fly is or what it does, look it up. I got 3 of them while i was there. When I got home I had such a freaky experience with them I can't describe it here.
They tell you that only the guides get them, and maybe that's generally true and I just have bad, luck, but it happened.

Room Tip: bring mosquito nets and repellant
  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled solo
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2  Thank GaryKPSU
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed here for 3 nights and absolutely LOVED it. We were upgraded to the new treehouse and it was supremely splendid. A huge bed, outdoor shower, upper deck, living room tastefully decorated with local (Central American) furniture.

The activities are included and are a lot of fun. We especially loved the hike into the cave. Ian is a wonderful guy who likes to sit down at dinner with his guests and share stories. The food is good and is served family style. It's not gourmet, but we certainly enjoyed it and were never hungry. The staff was extremely helpful. We left some clothes in the room and they mailed them over to us at our hotel on one of the islands.

Great for a family trip.

Room Tip: We had the nicest, newest treehouse available and it was AMAZING.
  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Soph1013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 November 2011

We did the Black Hole Drop repelling trip with Caves Branch and it was my favorite activity of the jungle portion of our trip. (Diving the Blue Hole has got to be number one.) The hike through the jungle to get there is strenuous, but I loved it. I had so much fun on the hike.

Our lead guide (we had three guides for a four-person trek) was Esperenza. She was amazing. She's worked there for 12 years and it shows. I could tell within seconds that this is a lady that knows what's she doing. I've done some rock climbing before, but never repelling, and she made me feel very safe and explained everything very well. She gets an A++++! Safety was obviously paramount, so don't be concerned about that! They also provided a picnic lunch for us after our big drop.

It is not a trip for the faint of heart. I am adventurous to be sure and I'm not going to lie, I was a little scared, but I think that's why I had so much fun!

3  Thank oostar33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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