Once was it a rustic river tent camp, Ian Anderson’s Cave Branch Jungle Lodge has transformed it into the jungle-chic lodgings during its 25 years of existence. The 50.000-acre hideaway is 12 miles from Belmopan, the capital city of Belize. Situated in the heart of the jungle on the banks of the River Branch, from here you can do either the most adventurous and unique cave excursions ever, or just sit down and enjoy the magical environment. This Tree-house Lodge has given me an experience I will never forget in my life. Caves Branch Lodge is nothing less than an adventure travellers dream come true.
“We are not sanitized from the jungle, we are simply a part of it. Wildlife surrounds us! “
Since I’m incredibly tired of the 5 hours cave-waterfall-climbing and hike I think I deserve to take a bath outside on my terrace, overlooking the jungle shady mountains and pristine forest. The marvellous view… the jungle noises…I can sit and relax in this bath for ages and I don’t come out until after sunset! I’m invited to dinner so I have no other option than to leave this magical relaxing bath.
“Jungle noises, all kind of different sounds of animals, mostly birds singing make this a very relaxing experience.”
During dinner, we talk with Ian Anderson, the origin Canadian owner, who talks proudly of the history of this place and his Russian wife Ella, who created here a beautiful and unique garden and does some local projects with children.
Jungle Treehouse Lodge
My treehouse is about 75 feet from the ground offering a panoramic view of the rainforest and Caves Branch River. Although it has space for 6 people, I do have this wonderful place for myself. I have an indoor bathroom, an outdoor shower and a private deck with a hot tub with a remarkable view.
My bedroom has a king-size bed that overlooks the living room areas with sofa beds.
The view from my bed and living room is great. All “windows” are only mosquito-bars (no glass) so even inside and at night the jungle is all around you. The noises make me fall asleep. And oh I really needed this!!
The next morning early at 5 I’m going to sit on my rooftop terrace and enjoy the view and jungle noises again. This place is a 2 years winner and recognized as the “Birdiest” location in Belize. If you look down you see the river bedding. I decided to take a walk down to the river.
It’s partly river, partly dry, so I can go for a walk along the river as a canyon-walk. It’s early morning and nobody is around, except for this animal, a Tamandua, that is busy near the river’s side looking for some food and water. As soon as he sees me, he’s standing still, hoping he vanish cause he has the same colour as the stones… but when I start approaching him… he slowly moves back to the safe jungle where he can hide…
“The colour of the muddy river was called by the Maya’s: Balize. That’s where the name Belize came from.”
And then just before we leave I noticed Ella’s botanical garden surrounding the pool area. Since I was Cave hiking and waterfall climbing all day yesterday, there was no time to explore the property, but I’m glad I noticed this beautiful place just in time.
Ella Baron created this garden in 2008 to bring awareness to the general public about the beauty and importance of Belizean flora and fauna. Visitors to the garden have a great opportunity to smell lemongrass and all-spice leaves, see cacao, papaya and pineapple growing, but most of all enjoy the enormous diversity of orchids, where she’s specialized in. The smallest are so small that you cannot even make a proper picture out of them; you’ll need a microscope to see them properly.
Ella tells very passionately about her flowers. She did research to orchids in Belize and organize orchid-trails in other parts of Belize.
“She even discovered orchid species people didn’t know they existed. Now she’s working in an encyclopaedia of all orchids of Belize.”
We can see she’s a very passionate dedicated woman in the things she does. She ended up here after a holiday in Belize where she wanted to start up a business to help ‘drop out’ children. It was a project of chess programs, to stimulate and develop the brain of the children here to get them ‘back on track’. There was evidence of what chess with the human brain does. Including making connections and thinking ahead and thinking in consequences and that is why she found this a good project to help children here. Nowadays she teaches them about nature and taking care of it.
Arrive by helicopter
A fabulous way to arrive in Caves Branch Jungle Lodge is to fly by air- courtesy of Astrum- Helicopters. If arriving from the Belize International Airport- pickups and drop-offs take about 24 minutes.