Francis Ford Coppola’s resorts in Belize set a pace in Central American biodiversity preservation initiatives

Surrounded by 300-square miles in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve –  the largest and oldest of Belize’s protected areas – Blancaneaux Lodge works closely with several organizations to preserve biodiversity and protect the environment.

What distinguishes Blancaneaux Lodge and its peer Tutle Inn from other Central American sustainability-focused businesses is their owner. These two hospitality venues are part of Coppola Resorts.

Blancaneaux served as a private retreat for Coppola until 1993 when he tricked it open by flying a group of family and friends down for his 54th birthday.

Owned by award-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn joined the Sustainable Tourism Program led by the New York-based Rainforest Alliance as well as Sustainable Travel International’s global Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certification Program (STEP) several months back.

“The Coppolas see their role as that of a conservator,” explains Serena Lightner, vice president of Coppola Resorts.

Blancaneaux Lodge has actively begun implementing eco-friendly systems and procedures for recycling as well as preserving water and power on the property. It also utilizes an installed hydroelectric plant, harnessing the energy of Privassion Creek that runs through resort, supplying the property with some renewable power. Excess energy that is generated is used to heat the hot pool at its Waterfall Spa.

Coppola's Blancaneaux Lodge: premier mountain resort in Belize is also a showcase of ecotourism in the region.

Meanwhile, after a two-year renovation due to the onslaught of destruction wreaked by Hurrican Isis in 2001, Coppola’s Belizean seafront hideaway Turtle Inn is an intimate beachside resort perfect for those seeking privacy and a stress-relieving escape.

The entire property is comprised of 25 individual cottages and villas just steps from the Caribbean Sea and made from low profile, environmentally sound designs, thatch, hardwoods, pine and bamboo.

Blancaneaux Lodge has its own airstrip, which many guests prefer over the rough 2.5–hour drive from Belize City.

Both resorts are currently including a stainless steel bottle program aimed at reducing plastic water bottle consumption by guests, utilize water-flow control showerheads in the indoor bathrooms, and feature expansive organic gardens that supply fresh produce used in the on-site restaurants; reducing their carbon footprint by using locally sourced ingredients.

Coppola first came to Belize just after the country gained independence in 1981. He tried to persuade the new government to apply for a satellite license in order to become a hub of world communications. They weren’t interested. He did, however, succeed in finding an abandoned lodge on a pine–carpeted bluff overlooking the rocks and falls of Privassion Creek. Blancaneaux served as a private retreat for the film producer until 1993 when he “tricked it open” by flying a group of family and friends down for his 54th birthday.

Both the Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn have been listed as the “Best Resorts in Central + South America” by Travel + Leisure magazine.

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