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.