More about Blancaneaux Lodge
This is Francis Ford Coppolla's resort in the beautiful Cayo. You get your own individual cabana complete with its own deck and hammock overlooking the beautiful Privassion River. Their chef just won first place in a competition among all the area's hotels. The staff there is incredibly gracious, and they make your stay much more rewarding. They offer a variety of activities, such as canoeing, horseback riding, and trips to the Mayan ruins in Belize and Guatemala.
We ate lunch here and it was yummy. The place itself looks wonderful. We chose not to stay here because we thought we would be bored and there were trails and such at Hidden Valley. I would definitely like to stay here if we come back.
A Belize Resource
When we went to Belize we stayed in the cheapest accommodations available. These were the two star - comfortable and good value- places that we stayed:
Rubie’s (Ruby’s), Ambergris Caye
Clarissa Falls, San Ignacio
We also stayed at Ignacio's Huts in Caye Caulker, and they are off the bottom of the scale at less than one star.
In any case, while I was perfectly happy at the two star places, I would not want people to think that they were any kind of luxury accommodation. The best place to get a hotel recommendation for Belize is the "Belize First" website. This is their 2002 recommendation for the top hotels in Belize.
One of the top hotels in the Caribbean. It is professionally run and guest-focused with an unusually striking location, architectural design and/or facilities. It likely has superior amenities and, while expensive, offers value for the money.
Blancaneaux Lodge, Mountain Pine Ridge
Cayo Espanto, near Ambergris Caye
Inn at Robert’s Grove, Seine Bight (Placencia)
Lodge at Chaa Creek, San Ignacio"
"Four Stars Plus
One of the very best hotels in Belize, with a dependably high level of hospitality, an emphasis on service to guests and a superior location or architectural design. It likely has amenities not available in lower-rated hotels, such as air-conditioning or a noteworthy restaurant.
Caye Chapel Golf Resort, Caye Chapel
Chan Chich Lodge, Gallon Jug
Ek ‘Tun Lodge, San Ignacio
Luba Hati, Seine Bight (Plancencia)
Mata Chica, Ambergris Caye
Radisson Fort George, Belize City
Victoria House, Ambergris Caye
Villas at Banyan Bay, Ambergris Caye"
After you have your short list, then go to the Reader Reports to see what other travelers have said about those hotels.
There is a wealth of information about Belize on this website.
We loved this hotel. It was rustic, but very beautiful. The property is gorgeous. I would definitely recommend taking the private plane to get here. The road trip can be long and bumpy. We enjoyed horseback riding, swimming in the waterfalls, sightseeing at the Mayan ruims, and taking a canoe trip into caves used for Mayan burials. The biggest negative about the hotel is that it is not a place to go if you have trouble going up and down stairs. There are a lot of stairs to climb and it can be hard for people with disabilities.
Blancaneaux was a great time
We were looking for a unique resort to celebrate our 30th anniversary. When we stumbled across the Blancaneaux web site, we fell in love after the first web page. We booked 3 nights at Blancaneaux followed by 3 nights at Turtle inn. We read a few negatives in other reviews, like it's too expensive and the bugs were terrible. Well, if you do your homework, you know you're not going to a low end resort going in and you know what you are willing to spend for a nice vacation. We had a fabulous time. Bugs love me, I'm a mosquito magnet, so we brought our bug spray. But we never found bugs to be a problem at either resort, and we never used bug spray the entire trip. The meals were great, the service was excellent, and the accomodations were some of the nicest we've ever stayed in. At Blanc you can order this romantic dinner down by the river, if you schedule it a night or two ahead of time. One night we took a walk before dinner past this candle-lit setup by the river. It just looks so romantic with candles and rose pedals sprinkled everywhere. So as we're walking by I caught my wife completely by surprise when I said, oh look, they spelled our names in the rose pedals. She cried hard, after 30 years the romance is still there. I earned extra points that night, and we had a great evening. Another night when most everyone had retired, we walked down to the hot tub in our robes and slipped in for a late night dip. That was a beautiful thing. We road bikes down the road to Big Rock Falls and also took a cab over to Five Sisters Resort, which is the next closest anything, a few miles down the road. There we ordered a bucket of Belikins on ice and took their electric tram down to the river. We ended up being the only two at the river all afternoon, swimming, rocking in hammocks, sipping the local beer. It was like heaven. Take the side trips for more to do and see. Order a cab to the town of San Ignacio(long bumpy ride for only 20 miles) for an afternoon of shopping. We got some great gifts and the people were all great, treating you more like locals than tourists. The weather for the first week of May was sunny every day and we never got a drop of rain, even though we read that May is called the Thunderhead month, the month before the rainy session starts. At Blancaneaux it cooled down at night and was very comfortable for sleeping. I'm sure I've left out a lot of details, but I hope that helps anyone trying to pick their next vacation. If you're looking for something unique, quiet and romantic, with great food, service and accomodations, these two resorts are a great choice.
We loved it!
My husband and I traveled to Belize at the end of Oct, 2005 and stayed for 4 nights at Blancaneaux Lodge and 3 nights at Turtle Inn. I can honestly say I was sad to leave the Lodge .. the staff was incredible .. they new our names, what excursions we planned for the next day, etc. They even came down to "check" on us after we missed dinner the first night. Of course, we were sleeping so soundly that we didn't even hear the knock! The grounds are gorgeous, the food is very good for the most part (Belizian Sunday dinner is delicious!) and the relaxing atmoshpere can not be beat. I loved to wake up each morning to see all kinds of colorful birds on our deck and listen to the river rushing below.
We swam in the River one day and hiked to Big Rock (more difficult than we expected) another day. As other reviewers have mentioned, the "hot pool" was not hot, lukewarm at best, sometimes downright cool. Our favorite was a trip to Tulum, where we had a private tour guide. It was a long trip, but we loved it ...we learned alot and had a really great lunch at La Lancha! I would highly recommend this trip to anyone.
Blancaneaux is not for someone looking for nightlife (we were asleep by 10 most nights) but it is perfect if you enjoy nature and are looking for a relaxing, peaceful vacation.
Romance and Family Fun
We just returned from an incredible trip to Belize and Guatemala, and staying at Blancaneaux Lodge was definitely a highlight of our trip! We were traveling with our four young children, ages 8,6,4 and 18 months. While most people justifiably think of Blancaneaux as a romantic honeymoon (or anniversary) spot, it was also a wonderful place to take our family. In fact, we met friends there who also had young kids (ages 9, 7 and 5) and came along on our suggestion. We had a great time together at Blancaneaux.
The staff was wonderful. Not only did they know all our names and our dining preferences, but they also accommodated our needs and provided babysitting a couple of afternoons for our youngest while they napped so we could take the older kids on adventures, and one evening they watched the seven kids (who ordered a pizza party to one of our villas) while the four parents enjoyed an adult meal at the lodge. We were very comfortable leaving our kids in their care.
We LOVED the food. We were able to try traditional Belizian cuisine and also enjoy Francis Ford Coppola's great Italian cuisine. This is especially nice when you are traveling with children--however adventurous they might be in their eating, there are always nights when they enjoy a pizza or pasta. We did have a little difficulty ordering wine that we could buy here at home for a fraction of the price! But we were on vacation, so we just enjoyed ourselves! We do recommend the fun specialty drinks by the new bartender!
Many reviewers have noted that there "wasn't much to do"--we couldn't disagree more! We found plenty to do and we enjoyed the variety of activities. We took a day trip to Caracol ruins, and stopped on the way home at the swimming holes. Our guide was wonderful, and the ruins were amazing. We enjoyed them as much as we did Tikal--perhaps because they were more remote and less touristed. We also LOVED the cave tour--seeing the ancient cave and mayan ritual site by canoe was amazing. Again, we had a great guide. We also took a long horseback ride through the jungle. It was lovely, but very hot. The guides were very accommodating, when our kids were tired and hot, we stopped at Three Sister Lodge for cool drinks and lunch. Then, because the kids were tired, they called for vans to pick us all up and they took the horses on home for us. We were amazed at how accommodating they were! We took a long hike to the Great Rock Falls (We would NOT recommend this for kids as young as ours!! It was very hot and very long and a bit arduous even for our well-seasoned hikers.) We loved swimming in the river and relaxing in the warm pool. The adults LOVED the Thai massage. The kids loved the croquet. We all enjoyed playing the board games up at the lodge. We didn't get a chance to ride the mountain bikes. We stayed five days and could have stayed longer. We departed for a trip to Tikal and moved on to La Lancha.
The only bugs that bit us on our trip were at Blancaneux. They were not mosquitos, but some kind of bot fly or small insect referred to as "noseeums" (we were unclear on the name). My youngest daughter (4) and my husband had about sixty bites from this insect. They were very itchy and did not seem to be repelled by our DEET. I think that the Burt's Bees insect repellent we used was a bit better at repelling them.
It was a bit depressing to see the devastation of the Pine Forest done by the beetle invasion a few years ago. This said, the location is still VERY beautiful and romantic. We loved all the candles at night, the dining porch is amazing, the outside buffet was beautiful and delicious, and the grounds are just lovely.
The accomodations are just beautiful. We thought they were very lovely and private. The main room (deck) was a bit dangerous for our 18 month old, but we just kept him watched closely. (We figure when Coppola has his first grandchild, this might change...:) The rooms were beautiful and the bathrooms pretty. The views of the river from our villa were amazing.
We highly recommend Blancaneux!
Best find in Belize
If you are thinking about Blancaneaux, book now! I went with 3 friends and we had an amazing time. The property was beautiful and the service was by far the best! We stayed in the 2 bedroom villa and the open air living room was the most relaxing part of the trip. Room service was the best I've ever received....they set up the eating area like fine dining and the food was delicious. There is not much to do in terms of activities at the resort but the excursions offered by Mayawalk Tours are fun and for adventure seekers. The staff was extremely friendly and always asking if you need anything, this place is truly 5 star accomodations in the heart of the Belizean forest.
Beyond our expactations
We traveled to Blancaneaux and Turtle Inn for a split week on our honeymoon. We purchased a package that included all transfers, all meals and excursions at each location. We had high expectations, based on reviews and pictures from this site and the price we paid. But everything was way beyond our expectations.
The ride to Blancaneaux from Belize City airport is scenic and lovely, but does get bumpy for the last bit, as you traverse an unpaved mountain road - many roads in Belize are not paved. Ramon was an excellent and welcoming driver. Blancaneaux is nestled in the mountains and is literally a paradise retreat in a 3rd world nation. The grounds are beautiful; the views are spectacular; the facilities are as good as you can expect in the mountains of a 3rd world country; and the staff killed us with kindness.
The cabana was authentic and welcoming. Thatched roof, screen windows (no glass), screened-in porch with double-swing doors and a hammock. A perfect getaway to a peaceful and quite spot. The hot pool is so nice and the walking trails around the grounds are fun. The meals and drinks are fabulous, with equally as impressive servers. EVERYONE remembers your name, your preferences and details about your stay - it's like staying with family. We were there in the off-peak season, which worked out great for us so it was not as busy and active.
The excursions were fun and safe, always with a knowledgable and friendly guide. We always felt cared for and never in danger. We visited Barton Creek cave and the Caracol Mayan ruins. We're glad we did them, but there's more to do there. But there was also plenty of time to rest and unwind.
We had body treatments in the massage cabana and it was just as great. The Thai providers were professional and pleasing.
I can't say enough how much we loved being there. But make no mistake, Belize as a country is not very modern. Most roads (other than major highways) are not paved, but our guides knew how to best handle that. There was no cell phone service, no TV or phones in the room. Surrounding areas outside the resort are desolite but beautiful, and the towns are small and rustic.
I would recommend this destination to anyone who is looking for a beatiful place to go where there are some things to do, and nothing to do. But just don't go if you are expecting a metropolis with limitless options.
Even Better Than We Expected
We travelled to all 3 Coppola Inns this summer and Blancaneaux was our favorite!! The location and grounds are beautiful and we enjoyed all of our excursions from the property, each day looking forward to returning for a cool drink, dinner out on the deck, the relaxation of the large U shaped black cement hottub, and the hammock in the villa! The staff was Fabulous!!!! Yes, it is true the only wines served are Coppola's at prices that are higher than they should be, but we enjoyed our meals realizing that the simple entrees were often the best (a fabulous tortilla lasagna at $18 was much better than the $25-$30 Lobster or Filet entrees). Where we opted for a better deal was with the daily excursions. All excursion guides in the region have to have passed an extensive course to be licensed. We met a friend of a friend who actually started the Cayo Guide Association, grew up during the early Mayan excavations at Lamanai, and we were fortunate to have him be our personal guide for 4 days (it was much less expensive than booking thru the resort). We were a high maintenance group (travelling with 2 boys ages 7 & 8) and Luis Godoy was able to tailor each activity for our group. Our favorites included Xunantunich, Carocoal and Rion Pools. Luis was did the transfer to La Lancha in Guatemala, which is quite a journey and it was great to go with someone we knew and trusted, Again he tailored it to our groups needs, bathroom breaks for kids and a stop to buy Guatemalan rum at a good price just over the border. We really enjoyed learning about Belize from Luis and we feel we are really helping an individual in the tourism industry by giving him our business. If you are considering getting an outside guide give Luis a call [--]. The other pleasant surprise we had was how empty everywhere was during off season. We had great weather and almost everyplace to ourselves – I would highly recommend Belize in August.
We only wonder, after all of the complaints that we have heard and read, why do they not lower the wine prices and win the hearts of all guests?!?
Jungle Lodges in Belize
Has anyone out there stayed at any of the jungle lodges in Belize? I'm thinking of taking my family there but want to ensure that everyone has a good time. Many of these lodges are along a river - is the water clean? as it doesn't really look it in the pictures on the various websites I've been checking out. Do they have a lot of mosquitoes there?
Has anyone stayed at the Blancaneaux Lodge and is it worth the money? What about Turtle Inn on the coast?
Any advice anyone has on Belize accommodations would be greatly appreciated.
RE: Jungle Lodges in Belize
We stayed at Crystal Paradise near San Ignacio. We enjoyed it and were treated nicely go the staff. The Macal River seemed clean enough. We went on a canoe trip and had no problems. We looked at Blancaneaux on the way to Caracol. Really pretty place. Worth it? Not to me. We wanted to spend time seeing the country and meeting people. Blancaneaux didn't seem like that kind of place. On the other hand, we're tent campers and don't need that much luxury.
We put trip reports and several pictures from our Belize trips on our family website. If you are interested, its www.AlandSueJohnson.com
Look under Trip Reports / Belize
RE: Jungle Lodges in Belize
we staid at Casa Maya Resort several times and it's beautiful, in the middle of the jungle but close enought to San Ignacio to reach the city even on one of their bikes. Swimming pool, horse back riding, beautiful cabanas, nature, volleyball, budget accommodations and a ver nice bar and nice food in the restaurant.
For me personally Blancaneaux is not worth the money. The food is much over-priced and even not too good. The property is nice but there's nothing around - so you just relax or have very expensive excursions. Stay somewhere nearer to town, maybe not in one of the "in-the-mood" jungle places, rent a car and do the excursions on your own!
RE: Jungle Lodges in Belize
I don't know if this is exactly what you are looking for, but I worked on an archaeological dig at Pook's Hill. The food was fabulous, and the rooms were very comfortable. There were two new individual family buildings built among the trees for bird watching. It is a little off the main highway (about 30-45 min. drive?) in central Belize, but has a very knowledgable naturalist on staff, access to horseback riding, cave and jungle tours, and the water on site is all from a clean, natural stream on their land. So, drinkable! Plus you can swim in the river there. And, there's a Maya ruin right in the center. It's a very nice rustic.
RE: RE: Jungle Lodges in Belize
Many thanks to AKJ1, Bleizean and ArtMeg for your replies to my question. Very helpful and most appreciated! I'm still undecided, but definitely not going to book with Blancaneaux.
I am looking for a singles resort for me and friend to go to in spring 2011. i am female and he is male and we ARE NOT a couple lol. we are looking for something all inclusive, with our own beds, and on the beach. i dont know the first thing about planning a vacation at a resort, help!!!
Re: singles resorts
If beach/ocean based is what you are looking for, then Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye is the place to be. But there are other places...Here are a couple or three....
Coco beach resort on Ambergris Caye.....
The Hamansi on Anbergris Caye.....
Mata Rocks is great, if you like the type. Personally I like the cabana style better...
Or this one on a private island Coco Plum Caye, - the Coco Plum Island Resort...
There is the Kanantik on the south coast of Belize, north of Placentia....
I would however recommend Ambergris Caye are for what you want.
From there you can do all the water activities you can imagine. Take a look at the Blue Hole here.
You may want to consider a tour that will take you just across the border of Guatemala to the Ti-Kal ruins, which are some of the most impressive in the Americas.
Just for fun I will include these two, owned by Director, Francis Ford Coppola (Godfather trilogy), just for comparison. Those are the Turtle Inn and The Blancaneaux....
One thing that may matter, is that Belize is the only English speaking country south of the US border. They also have a vibrant music scene that is a blend of Caribbean, soul and soca (soca means so = soul + ca = calypso), that is called punta music. Here is a sample from a Belizian icon.
Belize is a favorite of mine and I intend to move there in the near future. Check these sites out and come back for specifics......
Again, enjoy Belize, - and I hope this helps........d:o)