Blancaneaux Lodge: A Review
Ahhh, Blancaneaux Lodge. Just saying the name makes me sigh and wish I was there. Before I launch into my review I need to let you in on a secret: this is my favorite place to stay in Belize. Seriously. I try to make it here once a year with Mr. BGB and each time they outdo themselves and we’re wooed yet again.
With that note on my very clear bias, let me share my Blancaneaux Lodge review with you!
Blancaneux Lodge is one of Francis Ford Coppola’s Hideaways in Belize (there are currently two in Belize, one in Guatemala, one in Argentina and one in Italy). It’s located in the Cayo district, situated on the edge of the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve.
A quick note: due to the current worldwide health crisis, as of April 1 the Coppola Hideaways in Belize and Guatemala have made the decision to close temporarily. They will be reopening as soon as is safely possible so now’s a great time to research and plan your visit!
The 20 “rooms” are actually stand-alone buildings and are split into categories based on size and location (cabanas & villas). They vary in size and location, stretching from Garden View to Riverfront but you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
I’ve stayed in two different rooms, the first being Luxury Villa 12. While there are two Luxury Villas, 12 is the one farthest from the rest and has an infinity pool and deck that overlook the river (read: book this one!). Now to my favorite “room” to book: the Enchanted Cottage. This is a stand alone property that sits far from the main Lodge and is a unique cottage unlike the rest of the thatched roof cabanas and villas. A beautiful stone building with an infinity pool, Japanese bath and its own yard you’ll need the provided golf cart to get here unless you enjoy a serious hike. If you want to feel like you have your own vacation cottage tucked into paradise this is the one to book…..unless I’m already there, in which case maybe I’ll see you by the pool.
Blancaneaux Lodge has one main building that houses the front desk/lobby, small gift shop, Montagna Resturante, and the Jaguar Bar. There’s also a beautiful outdoor patio area. There’s a pool next to the main Lodge and the Guatemalan restaurant,Guatemaltecqua Restaurant, is on the other side.
The really special detail of the Lodge is the layout – it’s built into the side of the hill on the banks of Privassion Creek so you can head down to the riverside for some swimming, yoga, relaxing or some spa services. I can’t rave enough about the spa here, or the staff at the spa. Don’t miss an opportunity for a massage followed by a dip in the heated pool!
Another thing that made me fall in love with the property: the three acre organic garden! You can get a tour of the garden where they grow almost everything used in the restaurants. Mangoes, dragon fruit, limes, okra, tomatoes, lettuce, beans, peas and just about everything else! The new dining palapa that overlooks the garden is something special, especially in late afternoons – it’s a great place for cocktails after a day of exploring.
Let’s talk about the food! As I mentioned above the Lodge gets almost all of its produce from their own (very impressive) organic garden. The food options range from Italian specialties at Montagna Resturante (who knew you could get a delicious wood fired pizza in the mountains of Belize?) to Guatemalan dishes at Guatemaltecqua Restaurant and everything in between. Dietary restrictions? No problem! They’re absolutely accommodating, just give them a heads up and you’ll be impressed. As this a Coppola property you’ll find a pretty impressive wine list to go with your dinner, too!
Ok, I understand if you’re settled in to the Enchanted Cottage and don’t want to do much. Trust me, I do! If, however, you can tear yourself away from lounging in a hammock or sipping Jaguar Juice poolside you’re in good hands. The staff here can arrange for a multitude of activities, both on site and off.
You’ll have your pick of things to do on the grounds at Blancaneaux. The above mentioned garden tour is a quick must-do but you can also get a sustainability tour of the grounds (it is an eco lodge, after all), go river tubing, swim in the main pool, hit the spa or hike the orchid trail on the grounds. Make sure you keep an eye out for wildlife! You can also learn how to cook up some Belizean cuisine with a cooking class, book private cocktails in the Garden Spot, do a guided bird watch or schedule a yoga class. Like to hike? The start of the hike to Big Rock Falls begins on the property and is a great trip!
Staying at Blancaneaux puts you in close proximity to quite a few Mayan sites, but if you only do one you must go to Caracol! This site is massively impressive and much less visited than others you might have been to (my last trip there were only five other tourists in the park!) – you can even add on a stop at the Rio On pools for a dip. Xunantunich and Cahal Pech are two additional Mayan sites that can be visited from Blancaneaux (and are more of a half day adventure). You can canoe through Barton Creek Cave or, for the really adventurous, undertake the trip to the ATM cave (both are historic Mayan sites). A trip to San Ignacio town, an hour away, is great for checking out the market and grabbing souvenirs. You can also visit a Mayan chocolate company for a tour or do a hot sauce tasting of Marie Sharp’s offerings (look for it on the tables at Blancaneaux and just about everywhere else in Belize!). Interested in conservation? Check out the iguana conservation project at the San Ignacio Hotel.
TIPS & SAGE ADVICE
Despite my clear bias when it comes to Blancaneaux Lodge I’m a believer that you’d be hard pressed to not enjoy your stay here! Just some quick tips:
- Bring bug spray, lots and lots of bug spray! They will either leave you alone (Mr. BGB never has an issue) or will declare a blood feast (me).
- Special occasion? Ask for a private dinner setup by the river! It’s a really special affair and super romantic.
- You can ask for sugar cane to feed the horses.
- Like the Jaguar Juice? Ask and they’ll give you the recipe!
- If you have mobility issues I would suggest booking a cabana closer to the main lodge or the Enchanted Cottage as you might encounter issues with the hilly landscape and all the stairs.
Writing this has made me start to think that I need to plan my next visit! I would like to note that this post was not sponsored by Blancaneaux Lodge in any way – these are my own opinions, formed after many years of visits. If you’re interested in more info on the rest of the Coppola properties in Central America you can read about La Lancha here and make sure to check out my reviews of Turtle Inn and Coral Caye (the private island)!
Where’s your favorite place to stay?