Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to post your opinions and experiences on this board. We just returned from a fabulous trip to Victoria House and to Pook's (which we selected based on what we read here) and had a great time. The two places are totally different, and not everyone who likes VH will be happy at Pook's (there's no a/c, it's more homestyle). But, if you are looking for a wonderful, interesting, beautiful place with a family atmosphere, Pook's is the right place to go! Some highlights:
--delicious, healthy, homestyle food: suitable for vegetarians and meat-eaters
--beautiful setting--really in virgin jungle, unlike (from what we heard) many other lodges
--friendly and interesting hosts (Vicki and Ray)
--a fabulous tour guide: the irreplaceable Benjamin Cruz (former chief ranger at Lamanai); all tours done on-site (and there is a lot to do without leaving the premises, in contrast to many other places) are FREE with the exception of horse-back riding and a day-long trek to/in the nearby cave-->I kept myself busy with three hikes with Benjamin and one river-tubing expedition, plus one ride-along to Belmopan with Vicki
--interesting guests (while we were there our fellow guests included a team of young archeologists working on the on-site Mayan ruin and a team of Scottish biology students (including Vicki and Ray's son) studying tropical bats)
--cabanas are pretty and perfectly comfortable-->water wasn't hot 24 hours a day, but in the jungle a cool shower feels pretty good!
If you are flexible, easy-going, love food and meeting others, and are looking for some beautiful scenery and interesting hiking, Pook's is the place to go!
PS: We also highly recommend going to Lamanai from San Pedro with Hustler Tours/New River Cruises. Vincent is a great tour guide and his wife is a fabulous cook!