More about Hidden Valley Inn
We just returned from a three day stay at Hidden Valley. It is an amazing property. The cabanas are very nice. The food is outstanding. I would recommend renting your own car (make sure it is a 4x4!) rather than getting picked up. Once you arrive, you can use your vehicle to get to all of their amazing trails and waterfalls. You can spend an entire day just exploring their property. The pool is great but the hot tub was broken. We were disappointed because the cool nights and stars were perfect for a hot tub. Be sure to arrange to go horseback riding. Phillip with Mountain Riders will take you to an amazing limestone cave with Mayan artifacts.
Beautiful but be ready
We just returned from Hidden Valley Inn. I appreciated all the reviews before I left, so I decided to write up a review when I returned.
Hidden Valley is beautiful.
1. The grounds were well taken care of and the cabins are nicely designed.
2. The tours were great.
3. The food was ok, but we are from DC
4. The waterfalls were outstanding.
5. The location is ideal for forgetting about the world outside.
6. The transportation back and forth from the airport worked great.
7. The staff was very helpful and nice.
1. The beds are very hard. (My wife is picky in this regard)
2. The hot tub was broken. (not a big issue)
3. The black flies were plentiful especially around the pool. You need to live in bug spray - bring a bug spray with a high def %
4. There are bugs in the cabin. (You need to be ok with this. My wife had a scorpion in the bathroom one night)
5. You need a military escort to go to Caracal, because of theft/rape incidents in the area of the ruins.
Overall, I would highly recommend Hidden Valley Inn. It is a beautiful inn in a wonderful location.
Fabulous family fun
Our family (kids ages 9 and 11) spent 5 days at Hidden Valley Inn in late July. We were very pleased with the experience, it was a great place to go for family adventure and relaxation. Yes, the hot tub was broken, but when you realize how far out on very bumpy dirt roads you must travel to get there, you are a bit more understanding of the incredible energy it must take to keep such a large property as well cared for as it is. The staff were very knowledgeable and we highly recommend Rick as a tour guide for anything. He was our tour guide to Caracol, and yes, we had a police escort, which not only made us feel safer, it was quite adventursome to have 6 machine-gun officers driving ahead of us. Our Belizean guides shared so much knowledge with us - we all learned far more information than from a guide book (which I would also recommend, Lonely Planet: Belize).
The food was very good and our children loved the variety of Belizean dishes, like Escabeche and Black Bean soup. They do offer "kid friendly" foods too, but ours prefered the 'adult' menu. We had the best ice cream ever, it was made by the local Mennonites and it was so fresh and delicious. The beef is Central American, so don't compare it to North American standards.
Touring the grounds is incredible, don't miss hiking/swimming the falls (Butterfly is beautiful). We also biked some of the trails, but the childrens bikes were much heavier and gears didn't work, so I wouldn't recommend biking for kids. I also recommend doing all excursions with a guide, no point in driving on what can be dangerous roads. There had been an accident the day before we went to Caracol and several people were hurt. Also, the information shared by the guides is well worth the cost. We had people coming over to our guides to hear what they were missing by going it alone. In the evening, we would hear tales of wasted and frustrating days of those trying to "go it alone". The weather was great, bugs weren't very bad (not as bad as expected), but DO wear repellent, skin-so-soft is provided in the rooms (highly recommended at nighttime/sleeping) and remember you are in a remote pine forest ridge that borders on broad leaf jungle (there are scorpions, ants, animals, etc). It was amazing to watch the leaf cutter ants in action after the sun goes down. If you want a bug-free, non-adventursome vacation, don't bother with Hidden Valley Inn (or probably most places in Belize).
We stopped at the Belize Zoo (the best little zoo in the world) on our way to Hidden Valley and I highly recommend this for kids (and zoo loving adults), as you won't see too many animals up close at Hidden Valley Inn. We continued on in Belize for another 5 days, at Victoria House on Ambergris Caye, which was also very relaxing and enjoyable, but very different. However, some of our fondest memories/photos came from Hidden Valley. As another reviewer recommended, we did all of our shopping at the Intl airport before leaving.
One of the best in Belize
My wife and I recently returned from a two week honeymoon in Belize. Our first stop was the Hidden Valley Inn and it set the bar exceptionally high for the rest of the hotels on our trip (Chaa Creek, Inn at Roberts Grove in Placencia, and Mata Chica in Ambergris).
From the second we were picked up by Rick we were treated fantastically well. Rick was a great guide, and as there were only about 4-8 of us at the hotel while we were there he almost became our personal driver. He knew a huge amount about the country which he eagerly shared, took us for some good local stew chicken and rice and beans en route to the hotel, and came by to say hello each night during dinner.
The immediate property isn't going to floor you. It's nice, but it's not mind-blowingly pretty. Admittedly the green roof villas leave a little to be desired aesthetically, but it's all very well maintained with beautiful flowers and manicured plants throughout. The inside of the rooms, however, are incredibly comfortable and attractive each with their own fireplace which is rebuilt every morning. The beds were decently comfortable, not amazing, but a pretty good night's sleep. Comfortable beds seem to be a rarity throughout this country, something we could never figure out. Upon our arrival to the room they had taken flower petals to form a heart on the bed and placed flowers all around the room along with a note wishing us a good honeymoon. It's one of many touches that really raises this place above the rest.
The food at Hidden Valley Inn is spectacular. It's a mix of local and foreign cooking, and every single thing we ate was stellar. Their escabeche (a local chicken soup) was talked about for the rest of the trip, though admittedly we talked about a lot of their food regularly. We ordered dinner in the morning so the chefs don't have to waste ingredients having too much of one thing, and looked forward to it every night. We even bought their cookbook and some of their delicious homemade coffee on our departure.
Their pool and hot tub are perfect. The pool isn't huge and you won't do laps, but after a long day exploring it's a wonderful place to relax. We spent many hours out here enjoying ourselves, talking with other guests and relaxing.
But the true jewel of Hidden Valley Inn is the property itself. 7200 acres of very well marked trails and roads that you can mountain bike or hike to your hearts content, but only if you're staying at the hotel. We spent the first day mountain biking to Butterfly falls, possibly the most beautiful place in the world. It felt like a movie, we had the place all to ourselves, our own waterfall. In fact, the Inn will let you rent one of their waterfalls for the day for your exclusive use, where they lay out a champagne lunch for you. If that doesn't scream decadent honeymoon location, I don't know what does. My bike broke down while we were out riding, and using the two-way radio we were provided they came and brought us a new one pretty quickly.
We had a WONDERFUL time at Hidden Valley Inn and will hopefully be returning soon.
My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon in Belize. We spent the first portion of our trip at Hidden Valley and were both blown away by our experience.
The staff was attentive and friendly. Raul from the front desk was incredibly reliable and went above and beyond to make sure we enjoyed ourselves. The Inn's guide Ric, who drove us to and from the airport, also went out of his way to take care of us. His passion for his country and the mountain region is infectious.
After an exhausting day of hiking or a day of caving it was refreshing to be greated by smiling faces, great accomodations and fantastic food.
Things to know about Hidden Valley
We just returned from a family trip to Belize with our 3 young adults and 2 of their friends.
We spent 3 nights at Hidden Valley and there are some things I think it would be helpful to know if you are considering this Inn.
First of all, I was picturing a rainforest setting and was somewhat dissapointed to find the inn is actually in a pine forest where most of the pines were destroyed by a beetle in around 2002. It is a nice setting, but not what I was expecting from the brochure.
Second, during the time we were there in late Dec 2006 the bugs were terrible. They are small black flies, like the no-see-ums in FL. You don't feel the bite but find any exposed skin quickly covered with little dots of blood. Covering with clothing and lots of insect repellant helped but we still managed to look like we all had the chicken pox.
The bugs made it very uncomfortable to sit outside for any length of time.
I agree with other reviewers that the staff are very friendly and helpful, for the most part. We did have some issues with meals/service being inconsistent but this was improved after I spoke with the managers.
The best thing about Hidden Valley is the access to fabulous hiking. It was wonderful to just step out our doors and head to the trails, many of which led to beautiful waterfalls and pools where you can swim and play. The trails take you through a diverse ecological environment including the tropical jungle we love. We spotted a nice variety of birds and butterflies.
If you are looking for an adventuresome day trip I recommend the ATM- it is a guided tour through a cave that has a river running through it. It does involve a 2 hour drive each way with most of that time over very bumpy dirt roads. You spend a half hour or so hiking to the cave entrance, then swim into the cave and wade/swim for another couple of hours until you climb up to a cavern housing numeous Mayan artifacts. This is truly a unique adventure. I recommend wearing old sneakers with socks, and quick drying clothing.
The staff at Hidden Valley can give you more info on ATM.
Relaxing and Yummy
Everything was great. The food is really tasty and the service is great. The website lists additional costs for food as if it's optional - which it is - but not totally because unless you have a car and want to drive over an hour to San Igancio (down an unpaved, rutty road), you have to eat there. There are other mountain lodges within about 15-25 minutes you could go to for dinner, but the food at the Inn is great, so after a day of hiking or caving, we never wanted to do that. The rooms are nice. All of the candid photos you see are accurate.
Lovely Isolated Mountain Hideaway
My wife and I just spent 6 days at this wonderful little gem. The service is very personable and the staff will try to provide anything you request. There are 12 cottages with fireplaces and an endless supply of firewood outside your door. The neat thing about this property is that they own over 7000 acres that are for guests only! There are miles of trails and 6 waterfalls on their property. The Inn provides you with a radio if you get lost or need a ride. They will also pack you a lunch and provide bikes if you prefer to ride. The property also has a spring fed water supply so the water is safe to drink. The meals were wonderful starting with the best banana nut bread I ever ate to the fresh squeezed juices and fresh fruit. The coffee is grown on the property as are many of the fruits. The lemon meringue pie with cocount and the pineapple sorbet are delicious. The Inn's guide and birding expert Rick Romero is a great asset to the property. Rosa,Vanessa,Anthony,Misael,Estelle, and Elton were all very friendly and helpful during our stay. If you like privacy, comfort, good food, nature, and natural beauty I would highly recomend Hidden Valley Inn.
Impeccable, the only place to stay in the mountains
March 14, 2007
Trip Advisor Member Cape Cod Mass
My husband and I just returned from a 2 week tour of Belize. HVI
gets 10 stars across the board. The inn, the rooms, the staff, the property, the food !!!, the tour guides, the tours and the management were impeccable. Literally, if you sneezed someone was there to hand you a kleenex.
Every evening the guests gathered for drinks to share their activities of the day. All the guests that we met had the same reaction to this fabulous resort.
The tours to Caracol, Barton Creek and horseback riding with TZUL are a must. The tour guides were extremely knowledgable, fun and friendly.
The 90 miles of hiking and biking trails with 6 waterfalls is also a must do, even if your not adventerous they will drive you. We set out on our last day to see this beautiful property. They packed us a lunch, water and snacks. Gave us a map and a radio to cry UNCLE when we were ready for a ride back. We biked, hiked laughed, and swam in all the falls and pools until we reached 1000 ft falls, 7 hours later. Exhausted, we called for a ride back to the inn where we sat in the hot tub recooperating with one of Raoul's fabulous drinks.
Don't miss this wonderful place.
Thank you HVI for giving us this memorable experience.
Hats off to Karen and Raoul
Unlike Black Rock Lodge (see review), Hidden Valley does it right from the moment you arrive- a welcome with cold towels and freshly made juice, while the property and tour options are explained in a genuine and non-imposing manner. Accomodations are top notch- your own fireplace for cool nights, beautifully appointed rooms with comfortable beds and linens, and immaculately clean. Dining is not to be missed- several selections of some of the best meals we have had anywhere- they even sell their own cookbook.
The resort offers incredible on-site hiking opportunities to hidden falls and pools to swim, with incredible scenery. But for us what makes Hidden Valley special are the management and staff, who are always welcoming and genuinely appreciative of your choosing to stay at their property.
Road is a challenge, but also an experience.