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Reviewed August 20, 2012

Just retruned from my eco vacation with my son and daughter. Cotton Tree staff are the best ever. They are friendly and very attentive. My son and daughter went for our now yearly vacation together away from the spouses just to have fun. We fished for 2 days with the guide Alex. I fish all over the world and he is the hardest working nice guide I have ever fished with. Did not get the permit and bonefish I wanted but we did get baracuda and jack. The lodge cooked them for us.
The lodge is in the rain forest. There are plenty of bugs, spiders, and mesquitos. It's just part of where you are so deal with them with bug spray. Long sleeve shirts and long pants are just part of everyday.
It's warm and humid. A disadvantage is not having air conditioning. On humid mid 70's nights I didn't sleep too well. But it rained eveynight and cooled things down. The ceiling fans help and we got another floor fan. We tossed and turned trying to sleep but finally you get to sleep. No coffee pots in the rooms or refrigeration. There is a filtered water bottle for drinking water.
The lodge is better than the website shows. The greeting building with hatched roof is the meeting area. Food was great.
The grounds are well maintained and construction was going on. Chris the owner is one of the nicest guys I have met and works hard to keep the lodge running efficiently.
The tours are awesome. The chocolate tour sounds crazy but was one of the top tours of my life. Eladio Pop is the owner and you first go through the rain forest he owns and look and eat all the plants you would never know about. Then to his home where his wife and 15 children live. They show how the cocoa beans are roasted and then you grind the beans into cocoa balls. The lodge made cocoa for us the next morning. The sell some of the best hand made baskets I have ever seen. Do not miss talking with Eladio- he will make a big impression as to how to be a good person through Jesus.
The kayak trip down the river was fun. The night jungle tour was also unusual and fun.
My son loved the trip and is going back with his wife for a week in December.

Room Tip: We stayed by the river but could not see it because of the trees. I would ask for a river view.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Ron B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 7, 2012

Had a great time at the Cotton Tree Lodge! We booked our trip using Groupon and it was a great deal. We did a 5 day all inclusive package which included daily excursions and great meals (including delicious daily 4 course dinners!). The staff at the lodge are mostly locals to Punta Gorda, who are wonderful and accommodating. Additionally, the owner of the lodge, Chris, typically shows up for dinner and participates in the excursions, he is involved with the lodge and ensures his guests are taken care of.

Pros:
- The Daily Excursions are great, we did tubing down the river, tour of the mayan ruins, zip lining, nocturnal jungle tour, kayaking, and much more. I highly recommend doing the nocturnal jungle tour!
- The staff are extremely considerate and accommodating
- There are other activities you can also do on the grounds of the lodge, such as horse back riding, garden tours, etc.. at no cost
- The bartenders are great, and they do not go easy on the liquor! Great strong drinks!
- The lodge is very accommodating when it comes to the reservations, we simply picked the dates and gave them our flight information and they booked the Tropic air flight (local flight from Beliz Intl Airport to Punta Gorda) and picked us up at Punta Gorda for the ~45min drive to the lodge.
- Most all of the excursions are off of the lodge where you get to see and interact with the Punta Gorda (Toledo District) community who educate you on their ways.
- The lodge is well kept, with daily housekeeping who tidies up you're room each day while you are away on the excursions.
- The area is safe and both the community and the lodge make you feel at home.

Cons:
- I can only think of one Con which was mainly an 'ignorance' thing on our part given we knew the lodge is in the jungle with netted cabanas. We were not expecting to find many insects in the room (cabana), and safe to say we have a fun time chasing insects out of the room (especially when we came back to the room very tipsy from the strong drinks at the bar!). We started doing nightly "room check's" where we would inspect every corner of the room when we came back at night and we would usually find a few spiders or cockroaches lingering around. Once you catch them up and throw them out of the room you will be good until the following night. The worse thing we found in the room was a Scorpion, however the lodge explained to us that the scorpions that are around the lodge are not deadly and if you were to get stung it is the equivalent of a wasp sting. So, the insects are manageable and you need only check out your room each night if you are not a fan of bugs. I personally am deathly afraid of Spiders and I was able to manage!

Tips:
-- Try the Cotton Tree Chocolate, it is great! (They grow the cocoa beans at the lodge and make the chocolate bars in the Toledo District City)
-- Get to know the bartender, they have daily drink specials, I recommended one and what do you know the next day we found the bartender outside picking fresh Mango's from the grounds for the Mango Daiquiri special I recommended! Drinks are average priced, however the specials are a great deal and the drinks are strong!
-- Request a River view room if possible, great view!
-- Some of the tours cost extra (outside of the all inclusive package) I highly recommend you go for them as well if they seem interesting, the cost is worth it (Usually $20USD-$60USD per person) however they are great! We did the Nocturnal Tour and Zip Lining at an extra cost, however it was well spent!
-- If you have any dietary needs let the lodge know and they will accommodate, one of us was a vegetarian and they easily provided vegetarian equivalent meals for her that were just as delicious!
-- Bring extra strength insect repellant! Nowadays Deet is indicated as being bad for you, nonetheless I purchased a Deet 100% bug spray from Target and went wild while I was there and I walked away with only 1 Mosquito bite, where as my friend with a lesser bug spray walked away with at least 15 mosquito bites! You are literally in the jungle, so be prepared!
-- I recommend the all inclusive package, it is worth it as you do not have to pay for the meals and excursions, plus the meals are great! Breakfast, Lunch, and a 4 course dinner!

Overal this lodge is excellent! The rooms are great (fully netted, and even though bugs get in the beds are also fully netted to ensure your sleep is peaceful), it is on the river where you can spend hours relaxing with a drink from the bar, kayaking, rope swing into the river, or just hang out on the balcony in the hammock and enjoy the surroundings. Note that in addition to the lodge cost and the flight to Belize Intl Airport you will also have to pay for the flight to Punta Gorda (It is about $300USD round trip per person), however it is a great flight down Belize and the cost is minuscule in the overall trip. I highly recommend this lodge, it was one of the best vacations I have had and I would recommend it to anyone!

Room Tip: Recommend requesting a room on the river if possible.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
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8  Thank Tomy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 10, 2012

What a wonderful week long experience centered at the Lodge with daily "adventures". We swam at the "falls", made chocolate, saw and touched plants with healing qualities, met and shared lunch with Mayan people at their homes, learned drumming with Garifuna people, listened to the howler monkeys and the grunting sound of the toad fish (actually a toad). Our stay was in June which is the rainy season so we experienced heavy rains during the night, coupled with an orchestra of thunder and lightning from the comfortable surroundings of our cabana.The tours we took on various farms were both educational and exhilarating. This is truly an adventure vacation with life altering impact on our twelve year old grandchild who summed up the week by saying "I have walked in other people's shoes".

Room Tip: There are 11 cabanas at Cotton Tree Lodge. We were assigned #1 which gave us a view of the Moho River as well as being close to the Lodge building itself.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank Tony S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 1, 2012

We booked our trip to Cotton Tree Lodge through a Groupon which made it a good deal so we were lucky for that. Overall the best parts of our time there was the trip to Eladio Pop's Cacao Farm - he is an amazing local who will tour you through his jungle farm, teach you about all the plants he works with and afterwards treats you to lunch cooked by his wife and large family of 15 kids as well as roast and grind up chocolate for you to take home - that day alone made the whole trip to Belize worthwhile! Some of the other tours offered by CTL are not as much worth the cost...we also couldn't go to any of the caves because the water was too high at the time we were there, that was a bummer. The resort also tries to get all the guests to coordinate trips which can be awkward...if you are banking on a specific day trip it may be worthwhile to arrange it in advance with CTL. The grounds are beautiful and rooms are nice - and it is definitely in the jungle - there are strange bugs, reptile run-ins, the sounds of howler monkeys and tons of mosquitos, and many kinds of tropical birds (do the morning bird walk if you like birds).

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Angie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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