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Reviewed June 23, 2012

The ECO-lodge is located on the bank of a gentle river which is great for a swim which is far better than in a pool. They have a huge number of staff, both locals and also foreigners who do project work in eco tourism.
We had booked a 5 days/night package. Since we had aimed for one not so popular (because strenuous) activity we had to choose another option, which was a bit disappointing. All in all 4 days would been sufficient. From the tours we especially enjoyed the two where you get in close contact with the local Maya people: the Tortilla workshop (really hands on!) with Mrs. Pou and the tour of Eladio's cocoa farm.
We stayed at the honeymoon cabana which has a nice jacuzzi bathtub; we used it not only for the laundry, but also for warming up after a swim in heavy rain. The majority of cottages are pretty close to each other. With the open building style you can hear your neighbours (and even beyond) talking and snoring. On the other hand you also hear the voices of the jungle as well; especially impressive was the noice of the howler monkeys which some people saw pretty close.
The insects were a nuissance despite all the repelant we had put on! Especially impressive was the noice of the howler monkeys which some people saw pretty close.
The variety, quality (from their own gardens) and preparation of food was very good. The atmopshere is informal with dinner being served at a large table most of the time.
We found the prices for the drinks excessively high.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank sunshineVienna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 8, 2012

Amazing place! We wanted a "different" kind of vacation and got that and more at the CTL. From the staff to the tours everything was great. Food was fresh and home-made. Tours were fun and a great learning experience.
Our cabana was comfy and had a very cool rustic feel to it.
Beautiful surroundings that make you feel like you are in the jungle!
Yes we did have some run-ins with the locals in our room...1 big tarantula in our bathroom but it's all part of the experience! hahaha.
Be sure to say hi to "Mr. Miss" the Lodge Kitty. He is a cute feline that loves to be pet. We miss him!

Highlights:
Laying in bed in the pitch dark listening to the howler monkeys!
Snorkeling the "cayes". Amazing!
Learning more about the Maya culture in Belize

My only complaint is that they don't have every tour available every day. We had to skip one tour and take another.

To recap it was a great experience and if you can put up with some wildlife and no AC this is the place!

Room Tip: Get a room with a Hammock! i spent a ton of time it! super relaxing. If you're up for a wild time get the "jungle hut" it's tucked way back in the jungle.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank litespeed74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 5, 2012

We had an wonderful time at the Cotton Tree Lodge! It’s a trip we’ll never forget. The jungle is beautiful. It was interesting learning about the local Mayan way of life. The adventures are fun. The people are hospitable. And the lodge itself is great. As someone else put it “fantastic for anyone slightly adventurous”

The food was really good. We did the all inclusive package, which means we eat the meals they prepare (not from the bar menu which cost extra). I was concerned since my girlfriend doesn't usually like many different kinds of food. But we both really enjoyed all the included meals. And dinner with everyone at night was fun. As someone else notes, for better or worse you get to know some of the other travelers. Also as others note, there are insects. Typically I have a pretty strong aversion to bugs, but I was really ok. We saw one or two bigger ones in our cabana, but they hid, we slept with nets, and besides, I kind of understood we are in their territory - it's not like finding one in my apartment at home. When we were outside, we used deet and wore long sleeves and pants to keep off the sun and bugs (I recommend EMS's techwick shirts and EMS pants - I found them comfortable even when it was warm).

Our trip was a blast! We loved it! I am so happy we decided to go! Thank you CTL!!!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank David B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 27, 2012

The title of this review is absolutely not an exaggeration: I just got back about two weeks ago, and I just can't stop thinking about how incredibly lucky I was to have a week at the Cotton Tree Lodge. To have lived next to the gorgeous Moho River for a week, able to watch the azure water flow, the fish jump, and the herons rest in the shade (plus all the afternoon kayaking and swims, the perfect way to cool off and relax); to eat the locally-grown, delicious gourmet menu the kitchen thought up every day (not to mention the luscious, and hilariously named, tropical drinks!); to cliff-dive, swim in crystal waters through cave, snorkel, explore ruins, tour the Moho by kayak, see how genuine organic Mayan chocolate is made (plus make some myself!), and learn to make my own tortillas with Mrs. Bo, possibly the most hospitable woman on earth; to explore the jungle and learn about the wildlife, taking in the sounds and sights of howler monkeys, hummingbirds, honeycreepers, parrots, and innumerable others; to swing in a hammock on the porch of our gorgeous thatched cabana, taking in the stunning view and the fresh, vivid scent of the greenest plants I've ever seen; and last but absolutely not least, to have met all of the staff there, including the independent contractors that lend their services as tour guides, not to mention the members of the community I happened to meet during outings to nearby sites and villages. Even as I try to recapture the experience, my words fail me; I honestly cannot describe how truly valuable & amazing my time at Cotton Tree was.

I met so many brilliant people, and (besides being stunned by the ungodly beauty of the Moho River and the land surrounding it), I continue to be incredibly inspired by the collective drive and ambition to 100%, cradle-to-grave sustainability the Lodge and their partners have. In particular, I owe the Lodge a great debt of gratitude for the connection they forged when my tour group visited Cyrilla's Chocolates and I met its owner, manager, and residential visionary, Juan Cho (as well as his beautiful wife Abelina, and their awesome kids, Henry and Lucida). If I could bring back half of Juan's knowledge of, and passion for, sustainable farming techniques, environmental advocacy, & conservation to the U.S., I can't even imagine the impact it would have.

I also had SUCH a great time hanging out with and getting to know (as much as you can in a week!) the staff at the Lodge (I miss you guys already)! I had some awesome and really fun talks with Darren, Sandy, Ernesto, Pablo, & Carlos. And of course, I was so happy to meet and get to talk to Jeff, Becca, & Chris (the owner of the Lodge)!

To the community at the Cotton Tree Lodge: I can't thank you all enough for your generosity, your knowledge, and your hospitality. I wish I could have stayed longer - much longer. Hopefully, I'll have the luck to make it back to Belize sometime in the near future - and if I do, I'm heading straight back to your part of the Moho! Much love and luck to all of you.

To all travelers reading: PLEASE don't pass up what is truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a part of this community, even if just for a little while. The Cotton Tree Lodge is unique, welcoming, and gorgeous in every sense; it is a jewel that should never be passed over.

- Kate S.

PS: Don't forget to use the rope swing to jump out into the river! So much fun.
PPS: My rating of "swimming pool" pertains to the Moho River, and my rating of "fitness center" pertains the the multitude of walks, hikes, swims, kayak rides, bike rides, horseback rides, etc. that are available to you every day!

Room Tip: All the cabanas seemed fantastic - I know ours was! If you want to be closer to the sounds and sights of the jungle (and have the most privacy out of anyone at the Lodge!) definitely ask for the Jungle Cabana. It is really, really cool!
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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12  Thank KateShumway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 5, 2012

I recently returned from the Taza Chocolate Week program. The Taza team was great. The group was great. The activities were varied, educational and fun. The jungle was all it was expected to be - up close and personal with all sorts of flora and fauna. You need to accept that all your senses are on high alert - it is easy to adapt to this. My only quibble is with the lodge itself. The lighting is very low in the cabana. I understand that it attracts insects but if you like to read after the sun sets - be advised. I also would have liked a loveseat inside the cabana. The one straight-backed chair is not adequate. Bring a snack bag clip to close the mosquito netting behind you - it helps close off a point of entry. In March the ceiling fan was adequate. I also just want to add - as points of information - if you are a light sleeper - the howler monkeys may wake you up and most of your clothing will stay packed in your suitcase - to avoid surprises and having to shake everything out! Chicken (and rice and beans) appears too many times for lunch and dinner and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables would have been nice. The suggestions did arise in our group about possibly having a supply of board games and maybe a movie night. Having said all this, I also want to add that the staff were wonderful, helpful and informative. It was truly a unique week and one that I am glad I experienced. Also - if you go into town don't miss the Snack Shack - great milkshakes!!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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6  Thank Travelyn103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
forgottendistrict, Manager at Cotton Tree Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 5, 2012

We are happy to hear that this guest enjoyed the Taza Chocolate Week program. Every year we have a great time hosting all the three of the chocolate weeks offered here at the lodge. We appreciate this guest’s feedback and are taking steps to address some of her points about the cabanas. Regarding the food choices at the lodge, we make every effort to offer a variety of food options and we can always accommodate special dietary requests. However, we also strive to incorporate local foods and traditional recipes as much as possible. Sometimes this means that the selection is a bit more limited than our guests might be used to. Guests who enjoy board games will be happy to hear that we do in fact have a nice selection available in the main lodge. Apples to Apples, Jenga, and Uno are some popular choices. Unfortunately movie nights are not one of the lodge’s entertainment offerings but appetizers at happy hour, the family-style dinner table, and activities such as the Nocturnal Jungle Hike ensure that you will certainly not be bored!

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