So, I have to admit, one of my guilty pleasures is adding a wee bit of pampering to our Life Bus adventures when there is a place that looks interesting enough to try out. Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge, in the Cayo District of Belize, seemed like one of those places worth checking out. It did not disappoint.
To get to Blancaeneaux Lodge, you take a 14 mile ride on a bumpy, remote road that turns off of the Western Highway by Georgeville. While driving on this road, teeth rattling, car shocks groaning, you find yourself frequently second-guessing whether you are on the right road. Then, your worries are allayed when you spot a triangular road sign bearing the Blancaneaux Lodge logo. These signs indicate you are indeed on the right path. You breathe a sigh of relief and continue on … bouncing down the road eager with anticipation to see this Pine Mountain Reserve paradise. Fortunately, Blancaneaux Lodge has done an excellent job of placing these little triangular signs periodically along the way so you never have to worry for too long between signage.
Since most of our accomodations in Belize were going to be modest at best, we decided to splurge on our first few nights. Blancaneaux is so fantastic it’s hard for me to know where to start to describe it. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Ryan, an incredibly friendly member of the front desk staff who gave us a briefing of the property and all of the property’s amenities, a yummy rum cocktail, and showed us to our splendid bungalow.
Our bungalow was amazing. A spacious, airy space with our own pool and outdoor shower. There is a glass container by the mini-bar with some very addictive coconut treats. Thankfully the jar gets replenished every day. The nightly turn-down service includes the lighting of numerous votive candles which creates a lovely ambience when you return to your bungalow. One of my favorite things, however, was the “shell phone” intercom system in each bungalow. This is a large conch shell placed on top of a box. When you want to order room service, schedule an excursion, or if you have a question for the front desk, you flip a switch on the box and speak directly into the conch shell. You have a direct connection from the conch to the front desk. This just brought a smile to my face every time I used the shell phone.
I’m sure there were other guests at the Lodge but with the way the property is laid out we almost never encountered any of them. Typically only at dinner did we really notice there were others present. The lodge grounds are beautifully laid out to maintain a lush jungle feel throughout the property. Beautiful Privassion Creek runs right through the property and there are numerous places where you can just jump in and have a swim in the creek.
The staff is so welcoming and amenable to any request. They will set up your dinner table anywhere on the premises you would like them to. One night we had the staff set up our dinner on the terrace and we ate a wonderful meal all by ourselves with only candlelight. The food is exceptional at Blancaneaux. One of the things attributing to the great quality of food is the fact that the Lodge grows almost all of its own fruits and vegetables in an organic garden directly on the premises. The fresh fish is flown in directly from their sister property, Turtle Inn, on the coast in Placencia.
Another plug for the staff and food. Todd and I were heading out to explore that infamous Barton Creek Cave and we ordered a to go lunch. This was one of the best picnics I have ever had. The staff provided us with our own full-sized Coleman cooler with all of our food thoughtfully wrapped in Saran wrap so the ice water wouldn’t seep into the entrees. There were a couple of surprise treats in the cooler as well.
As if all of this weren’t enough to make you fall in love with this lodge, Blancaneaux truly pursues an impressive array of sustainable initiatives. Blancaneaux is currently implementing a stainless steel bottle program aimed at reducing plastic water bottle consumption by guests. Additionally, Blancaneaux Lodge has actively begun implementing eco-friendly systems and procedures for recycling as well as preserving water and power on the property. As I mentioned earlier, Blancaneaux’s maintains an expansive organic garden that supplies fresh produce used in the on-site restaurants, reducing their carbon footprint by using locally sourced ingredients.
The remote mountain setting of the Blancaneaux Lodge makes it perfect place to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. I was excited about what we had planned for the remaining two weeks of our Belizean trip, but I could have just as well had the Life Bus park here for a very, very long time.