96%
Members Recommend
4.5
Very Good 505 Reviews
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This Hotel meets our standards
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What We Love

  • Don't miss daybreak on your terrace — the light is spectacular.
  • Secluded, unpretentious pool.
  • Poolside Guatemaltecqua restaurant
  • Intimate screened-in porches overlook the river.
  • Very family-friendly.
  • Wine from the Coppola wineries is served.
  • For the full Belize experience, spend a few nights on the beach at Coppola's sister property, Turtle Inn

What To Know

  • Yes, it is in fact director Francis Ford Coppola's resort.
  • It's secluded; two and a half hours from Belize City.
  • Service is amazing and very personal.
  • No TV or phone, but there is a shell phone intercom system linked to the resort's front desk.
  • Expect spotty cell phone service.

Amenities

  •  Eco friendly
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
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Overview

The Review

I feel as if I’m on a far-flung movie set at Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge, not least because the bar is decorated with fans from the set of Apocalypse Now. Located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, one of Belize’s oldest protected areas, the resort exercises a light touch, with simple stone paths winding between the hillside accommodations. {“type”:”tab-link”,”tab”:”maps”,”text”:”Explore the location..”}

{“type”:”img-inline”,”src”:”/static/images/product/properties/102/pgal-46446-1280870884-full.jpg”,”width”:”275″,”caption”:”The resort exercises a light touch, with simple stone paths winding between the hillside accommodations.”}Guests hide away in one of the 20 thatch-roofed villas and cabanas built into the hillside above the swift-moving Privassion Creek and waterfalls. Tropical gardens, native pines and palms surround the buildings, providing a touch of privacy. Inside, the guest spaces are decorated with authentic Guatemalan fabrics and Mexican antiques chosen by Coppola’s wife, Eleanor, as well as soft, hand-woven rugs that cover the tropical hardwood floor.

I have breakfast on the screened-in porch of the main lodge: fresh-baked banana muffins, fry jacks (fried dough), fresh papaya, watermelon and cantaloupe. Afterward I indulge in a Thai massage in the outwardly simple Balinese rice hut near the creek. Inside, two massage tables stand in front of an intricate black-and-gold Asian-inspired mural of irises and wild beasts, painted by a San Francisco artist. On the high bed, the Thai masseur manipulates my joints into place while I gaze at the artwork and listen to the creek, which is almost as soothing as the massage itself.

Another San Franciscan “friend of Francis” taught the staff how to garden organically, and now three acres of gardens grow everything from roma tomatoes to basil to leaf lettuce, to supply the resort’s two restaurants.

Every Sunday the resort holds a wine tasting in the Jaguar Bar, with selections from a deep list that features vintages from the Coppola vineyards in Napa and Sonoma valleys. Besides wine, the bar also serves cocktails, including Jaguar Juice, which consists of rum, pineapple juice and a local liqueur made from the fruit of the craboo tree.

In a way, it reflects the overall experience at the Blancaneaux: all-natural, totally tropical and perfectly indulgent.

How to Get There

Blancaneaux Lodge
Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve c/o 85 Burns Avenue
San Ignacio, Cayo District, 00000 Belize

Reviews

4.5 Very Good 505 Reviews
In Belize: A Tale of Two Resorts
Reviewed 2 days ago

Let me be clear. To paraphrase Dickens, I’m not saying that Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn (the two Francis Ford Coppola-owned properties in Belize) are the “best of resorts and the worst of resorts.” What I am saying that there is a vast difference between the two. And despite what I expected before visiting them, Blancaneaux is by every measure far superior.

In November, my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by booking a “Mountain & Beach” package directly on the Coppola Hideaways website. The package includes 3 nights, all meals, and two guided “activities” in the jungle lodge of Blancaneaux (in the northwest part of the country) as well as 4 nights, all but one dinner, and two guided activities at the beach resort of Turtle Inn (on the country’s southeast coast). Transportation to and from the international airport in Belize City is also included, as is transportation between the two lodges. The “transportation” part is critical: Blancaneaux is a 3 ½ hour car ride (the last ½ hour over dirt roads) from Belize City, Blancaneaux is a roughly 4 hour car ride from Turtle Inn, and Turtle Inn is a 45 minute prop plane ride back to the airport in Belize City.

The “activities” offered by the resorts are good ones. At Blancaneaux, we chose to visit the Mayan ruins at Caracol (which date to 5 AD and are truly spectacular), and guided canoe trip into Barton Creek Cave, which was used by the Mayans for ceremonial purposes. Since Caracol is about a 4 hour round trip car ride from Blancaneaux --and Barton Creek Cave about a 2 hour round trip auto ride---we did these on separate days. At Turtle Inn, we elected to do a full-day snorkeling trip and then a “sunset cruise” on one of our other evenings there. Unfortunately, the weather at Turtle Inn didn’t cooperate; rain (and no “sunset”) cancelled the cruise, and while the snorkeling trip took place, it was bedeviled by rough seas and high waves. We did, however, manage to snorkel and swim with sharks, rays, and even a barracuda. The boat trip is about an hour off shore, and the crew was first rate.

The lodges themselves ---but especially Blancaneaux---are beautiful, the rooms are spacious and the grounds at both properties are well-kept.

In our view, however, two things far elevate Blancaneaux over Turtle Inn: one is the food; the other is the quality and professionalism of their respective staffs.

The food at Blancaneaux is quite simply excellent. The lodge grows most all of own its fruits and vegetables, and the Chefs (there are three restaurants) present each day’s dishes with variety, imagination and creativity. By contrast, the food at Turtle Inn is at best pedestrian; little variety from day to day and, in one case, a breakfast entry billed as a “Belizean favorite”, was a dish we found barely edible.

The difference in staffs between the two lodges is quite stark ---which we believe can largely be attributed to Blancaneaux’s General Manager, Bernie Matute. Mr. Matute has been at Blancaneaux for over two decades, starting out in lower-level jobs and ultimately working his way up to GM. Like him, much of his staff has worked at the lodge for many years ---and the cross-training he’s put them through has paid enormous dividends. Many staff members are capable of doing multiple jobs, and they are clearly familiar with all or most aspects of the hotel’s operations. Like all good staff at a luxury resort, they are uniformly competent, personable, and friendly --- and so eager to please that they are often able to anticipate their guests’ needs before being asked.

Blancaneaux staff members who particularly stood out were, in no particular order, Diego, Gilberto, Cesar, and Gilbert. Pranee, a masseuse in the lodge’s spa, is trained in traditional Thai massage, and is as good a massage therapist as I’ve encountered anywhere in the world.

The staff at Turtle Inn, while friendly enough, often seemed under-trained. As a group, they did not have the longevity of service that was common at Blancaneaux, and based on our conversations, staff turn-over appears to be significantly higher at the beach resort.

In sum, Blancaneaux Lodge is an exceptional resort that is well worth your time and money. Turtle Inn, which friends have told us was very good when they visited a number of years ago, now, regrettably, is in need of substantial improvement.

SIMPLY THE BEST
Reviewed 1 week ago

Just got back from 2 weeks in Belize with 4 nights in Blancaneaux Lodge, which was an absolutely incredible experience. We stayed as a family in a 2 bedroom villa overlooking the creek. First of all, the pictures do not do this place justice--the villas are massive and extremely comfortable and quaint. The location is unbelievable--by staying next to the creek/river, you wake up to the sound of the water--extremely soothing.

The best part besides location is definitely the STAFF--the most amazing people we have ever met! Special thanks to Diego and Marty at the restaurants and Geraldo our tour guide to the Mayan site. The staff really went above and beyond to make our stay as amazing as possible--thank you!

Highly recommend doing Caracol (Mayan site), cave and river swimming tour--request Geraldo if you can, he was the best tour guide! We also did bird watching one morning (which was awesome and very educational) and did the Big Rocks hike twice (which was super easy and a fun way to spend part of the day). Although some people complain about bugs, we did not really experience any--all of the rooms have nets and the bathrooms have insect repellants--I think in the 5 days/4 nights we got maybe 2 mosquito bites between the 3 of us. We did wear a lot of bug spray (which is actually provided for free by the pool if you forget). The pool is great by the way and a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

We ate in all three restaurants--the garden restaurant (which we did on the last night) was our favorite--the pre-dinner garden tour was awesome and definitely highly recommend it!

We will definitely be back--THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

Excellent property with first class amenities
Reviewed 1 week ago

Blancaneaux has some very nice trips from the property, and some bird watching opportunities... Located on a river, and landscaped so well, it's just a great place to stay..
Love to come back soon to visit the area..

Fantastic time at the Blancaneaux Lodge!!!
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

On our first visit to Belize, we stayed 4 nights at the Turtle Inn, and 4 nights at the Blancaneaux Lodge. We had the best of time in both locations. At the Blancaneaux Lodge, everything was perfect, the grounds by the waterfall are beautiful and very well look after, the staff is very professional and friendly, and the food is delicious! We visited the Maya ruins of Caracol, the caves at Barton Creek and Rio Frio, hiked to the Big Rock fall, and enjoyed the pool. The guides on each excursions were great. We highly recommend the Blancaneaux Lodge!

Reclusive & Refined forest getaway
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Stayed with wife and daughter. The Blancaneaux was a perfect oasis of comfort in the wild and a good base to visit Caracol ruins. The lodge's grounds, huts, pool were perfect to the backdrop of the picturesque river and wilderness. Have traveled much and dinner at the Montagna Restaurant goes down as among the best experienced... Brilliant!