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Reviewed 24 January 2008

Overall, a fantastic experience! I went for a Christmas vacation with my family and stayed in a jungle bungalow. Not quite as luxurious as the pictures makes them look, but the surrondings make up for it. Lush, green surrondings and the river right out the door! The food is OK, family style with a local flare. Everyone that works there is helpful and fun.
The tours are the best part about the place. A variety to choose from and each one more fun than the next. We did ATM and the Black Hole Drop. Exciting and exhilirating, even with the constant rain. The tour guides are knowledgeable, english speaking, and very friendly.

Stayed: January 2008
1  Thank tray1881
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2008

I stayed at Caves Branch for 6 nights in early January. I stayed in a Cabana. My extended stay provided me an in depth look at the place. I didn't come across other people staying there that long.

According to the guides, the two most popular day trips are:
1) The Black Hole drop
2) Waterfall caving

Many people said that the Waterfall caving is a better experience then cave tubing. Their all day cave tubing does get boring after a while (around 3 hours of paddling).

Bring a flashlight- it gets pitch dark at night!

Advantages:
Amazing, memorable day trips.
Very helpful staff. On the day trips, they go out of their way to make it a safe adventure- helmets, proper gear, safety instructions, watching out for everyone.
The outdoor shower had hot water.
The room was not buggy (lots of screens).

Disadvantages:
Getting there. A personalized pick up $130 US one way. The only other way to get there is a bus, but those are difficult to navigate and slow.
10% sales tax on everything adds up in the end.
Cabana had no electricity and all the screens gave very little privacy.
Guests in the tree house suite said that the tin roof made rainfall very loud, making sleep difficult. One said they had no hot water (temporary problem).
You don't see much wildlife around the lodge.

Overall, Caves Branch makes adventures all around the country easy and fun. But be prepared to pay for it.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank ezschaef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2008

Our family of four stayed here for a four-night package, which included all meals and three activities (or one day-long activity and one overnight). Our daughters are ages 7 and 9. We stayed in a "Treehouse", which are the newest rooms at the Lodge. We had a GREAT time in every way. First, our room was very nice. The treehouses are split-level. The lower level of ours (#17) had bunk beds, a sofa, and two chairs, and a coffee table. The floors are stone with grass-type mats (jute or sisal?). The sides were almost all screen - very open to the jungle and river below. The upper level had a king-size bed, a dresser/closet alcove, nightstands, and the bathroom. The bathroom was lovely - all stone and the toilet was in a separate room. A large bottled water dispenser was provided in the bathroom. I found the bed to be quite comfortable. The room was perfectly clean and due to the excellent screens was pretty-much bug free. (This is the jungle so a few bugs are bound to sneak in!) We were very comfortable sleeping in the room and hanging out.

The main lodge is where all meals were held - buffet style. Chips, salsa, and drinks were served at 6pm, and the meal started to arrive at 6:30pm. All meals started with salad and soup, and then moved to fruit (usually 3-4 types), vegetables (3-4 types), carbs (1-2 types), and meats (1-2 types). The foods were quite "accessible" - things like rice-and-beans, au gratin potatoes, steamed squash, roast pork, stewed chicken. All was quite tasty and the kids and we ate very well. It was a treat to have a ton of good fruit and vegetables at every meal. We had absolutely no issues with food safety here - it was clear that they pay a lot of attention to that.

The activities were fabulous. Our daughters were among the youngest kids there, and were not ready for many of the (very cool) adventures. We did a daylong trip to Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. Our van broke down on the trip, and our guide was great about handling it (Pablo). A new van arrived and we hit all the sites on our itinerary. The ruins were wonderful and the guide was very knowledgeable. Our second adventure was the "River Cave Expedition", which was not the standard float down the river for miles thing. We tubed into a cave, and then got out and hiked and climbed. We saw Mayan sculpture in the cave, pottery shards, Mayan firepits, catfish in the river, and lots of bats. Our guide, Esperansa, was wonderful - she paid attention to our safety but made sure we saw everything. Our final adventure was horseback riding at Banana Bank (another lodge in the area). The wranglers were wonderful - and seeing another lodge made us even more impressed with Caves Branch! The ride was not a sissy ride - we took the horses down a muddy creek, through the jungle, and into a teak planting. Again, very interesting!

We were very impressed with the staff at Caves Branch. Most of the guides seem to have been there for many years - our two guides were there 8 and 9 years. Our driver from the airport had been there several years. The guides are highly trained in emergency rescue. We had a medical issue come up (unrelated to anything the Lodge did or our activities) and even the bartender of the night went out of his way to do everything he could for us. All the staff were nice, friendly, and made our time there especially enjoyable.

We already are talking about returning, when our kids are old enough to do the Black Hole Drop and Waterfall adventures! I recommend this place very highly. It surpassed all our expectations.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled with family
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6  Thank JoKnits
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2008

We stayed here from 12/24 for four nights! We really enjoyed this lodge and can highly recommend it. We stayed first in a Treehouse Suite. These rooms (only four) are gorgeous. (We stayed in Number 19 which I believe has the nicest and highest location). Build up on stilts in the trees. Large rooms and beautiful woods were used. They also provide outside and inside showers. We had a kingsize bed with 400 thread-count sheets and down pillows. The view from the rooms is wonderful and they are all open to the sights and sounds of the rainforest. We then moved to the next category room, a jungle suite. These are the second most expensive rooms, but are rather primitive compared to the treehouses. Very basic, but nice and clean. This is my only gripe with the lodge. The new bungalows which are a price category below the jungle suites are much nicer and all new. More similar actually to the treehouse suites. I am not sure why the hotel is pricing the jungle suites more expensively than the new bungalows. The jungle suites and bungalows are closer to the road into the resort and so you will hear the trucks that take people on to the activities early in the morning.

The setting of the lodge is far removed from towns. It is nicely located at a river. If you are expecting to see much wildlife and to hear many varied jungle sounds, you may be disappointed. The lodge is too large and too populated with tourists to really attract a lot of wildlife. However, you may see some on your tours. I would recommend the all-inclusive packages. They are worth the price. The food however is nothing special and maybe the most disappointing aspect of the lodge. Also, the water pressure is very low and thus it is hard to get a very hot or strong shower.

The tours are very special and wonderful. We did the Waterfall Hike during which you are in a cave for about 2 miles and then you climb waterfalls inside the cave from which you later jump back down. Some as high as about 15 feet. Exhilerating. We also did the repelling which was a wonderful and adventuresome trip. Canoeing was more relaxing. The guides are knowledgable and very professional. I would stay at this lodge again. Great place!

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled with family
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4  Thank danielswiss64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2008

Would have like to stayed longer!! Our family of four stayed here for 3 nights. The food was excellent--plenty of it and lots of fresh fruit and veggies. Our bugalow was great but close to the mainhouse so we were woken up every morning to the roar of the worker trucks arriving at 7:00. Perhaps a bungalow further away from the road would be quieter. The outdoor shower was fantastic. The tours were the best feature--we took the cave waterfall hike and the tubing/ceremonial cave trip. Expect to be wet the whole time. They tell you to wear hiking boots, but Keens with the closed toe worked just fine and then you have dry hiking boots for the rest of your vacation. The trips were well organized, had knowledgable tour guides and great lunches inside the cave. But is that REALLY 1000 year old Mayan ashes in the caves??!! I would have like to see this resort be a bit more green--because it would be fitting for this place. How about biodgradable soap in the rooms, toilet paper from recycled paper, and dry bags for the tours guides instead of all those ziplock baggies? Nevertheless, a great place.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled with family
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Thank trekkingshoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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