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Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury resort where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. Owned by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, the lodge is tucked away in a pocket of the Maya Mountains, within the 107,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. It’s a perfect place to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures, as well as to explore the ancient civilization of the Maya and the rich biodiversity of the region.
- The lodge has its own organic garden, where it grows fruits, vegetables and herbs for its restaurants. Guests can take a tour of the garden and learn about sustainable farming practices.
- The lodge offers a variety of experiences, such as horseback riding, hiking, birdwatching, canoeing, caving and visiting archaeological sites. Guests can also enjoy spa treatments, yoga classes and Thai massages at the riverside pavilion.
- The lodge has a collection of Coppola’s memorabilia, including photos, posters and awards from his movies. Guests can also watch his films at the screening room or borrow books from his personal library.
The lodge is located in the northwest corner of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, a protected area that features pine trees, oaks, palmetto, craboo and ancient melastome shrubs. The lodge itself is nestled on the banks of Privassion Creek, a clear and refreshing stream that flows through the property. The lodge is surrounded by steep limestone hills and valleys that are home to many rare or endangered species of flora and fauna. Beyond the reserve lies the vast uninhabited network of protected areas that comprise the Maya Mountain Massif.
The lodge has a rustic-chic style that blends harmoniously with the natural environment. The thatched-roof bungalows and villas are spacious and comfortable, with wooden furniture, Guatemalan textiles and local artwork. Each dwelling has a balcony with wonderful river views and a hammock for relaxing. Some villas also have a kitchenette, a fireplace and a private plunge pool. The bathrooms are luxurious and feature bathrobes, organic toiletries and rain showers.
The lodge is committed to environmental and social responsibility. It uses solar panels to generate electricity, composts organic waste, recycles plastic bottles and cans, and filters water from the creek for drinking. It also supports local communities by providing employment opportunities, education scholarships, health care services and cultural preservation programs. The lodge is a member of Beyond Green, a global portfolio of hotels that share a vision of sustainable travel.
The lodge has a positive impact on the local community by creating jobs, supporting education and health initiatives, and promoting cultural heritage. The lodge employs over 100 staff members from nearby villages, who receive training and benefits. The lodge also sponsors several students to attend high school and college through its scholarship program. The lodge provides medical supplies and equipment to local clinics and hospitals, as well as dental care to children through its mobile dental unit. The lodge also supports local artisans by purchasing their crafts and showcasing their work at the gift shop.
The lodge offers four types of accommodations: Cabanas, Villas, Cottages and Houses. All of them are spacious, comfortable and well-equipped with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, minibar, iPod dock and ceiling fan.
Cabanas: These are cozy one-bedroom units with a king-size bed or two queen-size beds. They have a balcony with river views and a hammock.
Villas: These are larger one-bedroom units with a king-size bed or two queen-size beds. They have a living area with a sofa bed, a kitchenette with a fridge and microwave, a fireplace and a private plunge pool.
Cottages: These are romantic one-bedroom units with a king-size bed or two queen-size beds. They have a living area with a sofa bed, a fireplace and an outdoor shower.
Houses: These are spacious two-bedroom units with a king-size bed in each room. They have a living area with a sofa bed, a kitchenette with a fridge and microwave, a fireplace and an outdoor shower.
Food and drink
The lodge has two restaurants that serve delicious dishes made with fresh ingredients from its organic garden.
Montagna Ristorante: This is the main restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It specializes in Italian cuisine, such as pizza, pasta, salads and soups. The restaurant also offers a selection of Coppola wines and local beers. For the best view, head for the table to the far right of the wrap-around terrace.
Guatemaltecqua: This is a poolside restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. It features authentic Guatemalan dishes, such as tamales, pepian and ceviche. The restaurant also has a bar that serves cocktails, juices and smoothies.
The lodge also offers private dining options, such as a candlelit dinner by the waterfall, a picnic lunch by the river or a barbecue at the organic garden. You can also order room service or enjoy a drink at the Jaguar Bar, where you can admire Coppola’s memorabilia and watch his movies.
Things to do
The lodge offers a variety of activities to suit different interests and levels of adventure. You can go horseback riding through the jungle and visit hidden waterfalls and caves. You can also go canoeing or tubing on the Privassion Creek or the Macal River. If you are interested in birdwatching, you can join a guided tour or use the binoculars and bird books provided by the lodge. You can also learn about the Maya culture and history by visiting nearby sites such as Caracol, Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. For more fun, you can watch movies at the screening room, play board games at the lounge or enjoy live music at the bar.
The lodge is a great base to explore the wider region of Belize, which offers a diverse range of attractions and activities. You can visit the ancient Mayan city of Caracol, the largest archaeological site in Belize, which is only an hour’s drive away. You can also explore the nearby Barton Creek Cave, a sacred site for the Maya that contains pottery, skeletons and other artefacts. For more adventure, you can take a day trip to the Mountain Pine Ridge area, where you can hike to the spectacular Thousand Foot Falls, the highest waterfall in Central America, or swim in the natural pools of Rio On and Rio Frio. If you want to experience the Caribbean coast, you can fly to Coppola’s sister property, Turtle Inn, a beachfront resort in Placencia.
The lodge welcomes families with children of all ages. It provides cots and extra beds for free or at a nominal charge. It also offers babysitting services and a kids’ menu at the restaurants. The lodge has a family cabana that can accommodate up to four guests and has a large dining table and a private garden. The lodge also organizes family-friendly activities such as horseback riding, canoeing, caving and visiting archaeological sites.
The lodge is located about 30 km from San Ignacio town and about 150 km from Belize City. You can either drive or fly to get there.
By car: The drive from Belize City takes about 2.5 hours on paved and dirt roads. You can rent a car at the airport or arrange a transfer with the lodge.
By plane: The lodge has its own airstrip that can accommodate small planes. You can charter a flight from Belize City or other destinations in Belize or Guatemala. The flight takes about 20 minutes and offers stunning views of the jungle and mountains.
- Solar powered or renewable energy
- Employs local people
- Promotes local businesses
- Preservation of cultural heritage
- Private pool
- Up to 2
- Up to 4
- Up to 8