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#15026 - 04/29/02 04:06 AM Caves Branch trip report
chanin Offline
Recently stayed at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge and had an incredible time.
Getting there we took a cab from the airport $100US. Getting back to Belize City and Municipal was bus to Belmopan, express bus to Belize City and cab to Municipal-total $11us. It clearly paid to have a good plan/bus schedule!

We stayed in the jungle cabanas. Two double beds, thatched roof,porch with chairs, screened windows all around--you are really open to the wonderful sounds of the jungle. Falling asleep to the ochestra provided by nature was one of the neatest things I've experienced. I wish I could do it every night. At night, the camp is lighted with tiki torches, and in your cabanas there are kerosene lamps. Really looks beautiful at night.

Food was excellent. Lots to choose from, nice variety, yummy desserts too. They also have drinks there if you'd like beer, wine, basic liquors.

We went on two trips, the Black Hole Drop and the Waterfall cave trip. We loved them both, can't decide if one was better than the other. Check out www.cavesbranch.com to get descriptions and pictures!
Each trip was a fairly challenging hike into the jungle, then one was a repel; the other was a hike/swim/climb up waterfalls trip through the cave! Each trip we had lunch and then another hike out after the main event.

Guides Esperanza, Morjelio, Abell and Edgar were great--pointing out diffent trees, plants, fruits(we ate the yummy custard apple fruit, and the chico saposa fruit from the chicle tree). I learned to identify a few different palms, saw some wild orchid, and even an allspice tree. Abell was an expert at identifying birds from thier calls and from sight.

The whole staff there is knowledgeable and friendly, eager to see that you have a good time. We would play cards and dice games with the staff after dinner, I really hated to leave after only three nights.

We went across the street to the Blue Hole for a quick dip after one hike, and also enjoyed just walking around camp to look at the pretty "landscaping" and try to identify some of the species of birds.

I got a massage from Kelly, the on site therapist. It was excellent and just right after our 2nd hike. A bargain too at $50 US for an hour. She was really good.

We had a wonderful time, felt very "taken care of" and didn't feel like we were "roughing it" as much as I was prepared to. Oh, I almost forgot the jungle showers. Another highlight. Hot water(really hot!)and the ceiling is the tops of the trees. Really an experience!I think there is a picture on the website--check it out!

Can't say enough about the experience--we will definitely be back, hopefully with friends we can share it with. Any questions about what to bring/wear--please ask.
Chanin

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#15027 - 04/29/02 08:45 PM Re: Caves Branch trip report
nuck Offline
Hey Chanin,
What a great trip report! Also your AC trip report was great too!
It sounds like you did exactly what we're going to do and I have some questions.

We are also taking the bus back to Muni from Ian's lodge to go on to AC.

Did you make bus reservations in advance?
How long did the trip TO the lodge take, and how long BACK to Muni did it take?

Were there cabs readily available when you got to Belize City?
Finally, did you have the local air tickets in advance to go to AC or did you just "wing" (hah no pun) it?

Then about the waterfall trip...I am in decent shape, but uncoordinated. My husband on the other hand is in his mid 50's but in great shape and coordinated. What do you think?
We're def. doing the black hole rapelling thing, but was wondering what to do the other days. (We're there 4 nites.)

Thanks

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#15028 - 04/29/02 11:02 PM Re: Caves Branch trip report
chanin Offline
Nuck-
About transport--cabs are readily available at the airport, in fact the guy had our bags in his car before we could "negotiate" the rate. He said $100, I said how about 75, he said 100. I wasn't in the mood to haul my bags out and find someone else, so in we went. Had I done more investigating, there may have been a bus we could've taken, but at first glance we arrived too late to get out there and catch a connecting bus in Belmopan to go south. The ride took like and hour 1/2, I guess. Was talking with our cabbie and just enjoying the sights.
Leaving Ian's was a breeze. There was a bus that picked us up near 7am at the entrance to his place, we rode on an old school bus to Belmopan-about 15-20 mins with stops. Then at Belmopan we got on the Express to Belize City. No stops, A/C, about an hour or so. Cab to Muni 5 mins. All total $11us. I emailed Ian's before I went out there to see if he had any other guests arriving at the airport close to the same time so we could share a ($120)ride. Unfortunately, he didn't, but you could check.

As far as the trips go, the guides said the two we did were the most challenging. We are in our mid/early 30's, I work out and exercise more than my husband. You'll sweat and take breaks, and they make you carry two big bottles of water each. You have to be in OK shape to do both of them. The waterfall cave trip was great, but I could see some folks could have trouble with it. It will also depend on when you go. It's dry season right now, and the water level was low, in the rainy season, the waterfalls in the cave would be bigger, more pressure, tougher to climb.
The guides told us they have had to tell people that they couldn't go on certain trips...if you think you may be "borderline", you could go on a less strenuous one the first day and see how you do. I did not find them that tough, but I know that my husband was definitly breathing heavier than I.
There is plenty to do there, and plenty of trips. I wish we had stayed another day or two. I wouldn't have minded doing a trip a second time. If you haven't ever done the cave tube trip--that's pretty cool. Try it maybe your first day. We did it last year as a day trip while we were staying at Banana Bank(which was nice, too)but wanted to stay at Caves Branch for our next visit.
Have fun, bring small backpacks to carry your water and maybe an extra shirt and bug spray. Make sure you bring your boots and that they're nice and broken in! You are on the move from 9:30 til 3-5pm except for a lunch break.
Sorry so long.
Chanin

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