Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury hideaway where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. Its remote mountain setting allows guests to explore the ancient civilization of the Maya and to return to their own thatched roof dwelling, rich with Guatemalan décor and nestled in the foliage of the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve.
The villas rise from the jungle on stilts and have soaring hardwood and hand-woven thatch ceilings. Francis and Eleanor Coppola chose the furnishings for each villa themselves from Mexico and Guatemala. The mahogany furniture on the decks and in the restaurant is hand-crafted in San Ignacio - the closest town to Blancaneaux - and the slate bar carved with ancient Mayan symbols was created by a local artisan.
The food at Blancaneaux is as unique as the decor. Guests start their day with freshly squeezed orange juice, bread baked that morning and plates of fresh fruit. The restaurant boasts the only wood-burning pizza oven in the country. The menu features many Coppola family recipes and proudly reflects his Italian heritage.
Local chickens are home-smoked behind the restaurant, and virtually all the produce and fruit come from the large garden on the property. In addition to pizzas and pastas, there is a changing array of daily specials. Fresh fish from the coast also appears frequently on the menu. Coppola's wines from his Napa Valley estate, Niebaum-Coppola, are available on the wine list, as well as various Italian wines.
Set on the banks of Privassion Creek, the Waterfall Spa offers a variety of treatments, wraps, and massages, as well as access to a rejuvenating hot pool overlooking cascading waterfalls.With a hot pool heated solely by hydroelectricity, spa treatments that use locally sourced organic ingredients, and an open building design utilizing natural light, the Waterfall Spa is eco-luxury at its best.
Over a thousand streams begin their journey in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve while smooth granite boulders, sandy beaches, and waterfalls of Privassion Creek provide some of the Reserve’s best natural Belize swimming holes. Swim in the deep, cool pools close to the lodge or explore the hidden rock pools leading to the stunning Big Rock Falls, a must see for the adventurous.
Your time at Blancaneaux Lodge is free to relax on your own, or to sign up for a variety of excursions offered at the lodge. Guests can also explore the ancient civilization of the Maya, which still endures in the sacred sites throughout this magical region. From the ceremonial caves along the white-water rivers of the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve to stalactite caverns and the vast ruins of Caracol deep within the lush rainforest, Blancaneaux is your window into the world of natural and archaeological wonders. Use of the lodge's mountain bikes is included.
Accommodations include Cabañas, Villas and Cottages.
Garden View Cabañas
Garden View Cabañas showcase native arts and antiques, features a queen-size bed, large screened-in porch with hammock, and will transport you to an exotic, tropical paradise.
All Riverfront Cabañas at Blancaneaux Lodge feature an expansive deck ensuring a spectacular view of the Privassion River. They are elegantly themed with native art and local textiles, and offer a queen-size bed and hand-painted tile bathroom.
The two Luxury Cabañas offer a secluded setting at the far eastern end of the property overlooking Privassion Creek and feature their own private plunge pools, king-size beds, Guatemalan décor, and a second shower outdoors.
Francis Ford Coppola's Villa
This Villa features a small kitchen with an Illy espresso machine, refrigerator, and wet bar. A hand-carved antique dining table with seating for up to 14 people overlooks the tumbling waterfalls and deep rock pools of Privassion Creek.
Blancaneaux Lodge’s ultimate retreat reflects Francis’s desire for a haven in which to reflect and create. The cottage sits atop a steep forested bluff offering panoramic views over the tumbling waterfalls of Privassion Creek and the distant jungle-clad Maya Mountains.
Full Day Jungle Hike
Follow fresh jaguar tracks with our expert guide through the jungle-clad hills of the Elijio Panti National Park. Marvel at delicate orchids and observe charismatic bird species such as the keel-billed toucan. Discover medicinal plants used by the ancient Maya and learn their secrets. After lunch beside a cooling waterfall, conclude the day by meandering along old logging trails in the tropical pine forest.
Departs: 9:00 am
Length: 5-6 hours
Level of difficulty: Moderate to high
Hike to Big Rock Falls
Begin your adventure following a trail overlooking the creek and waterfalls. Admire the abundant brightly colored orchids adorning granite rock outcroppings and relax at one of the many streams crisscrossing the trail. Dip into the creek to be energized by the cool mountain water and receive an invigorating massage provided by the massive waterfall.
Departs: Anytime before 5:00 pm
Length: 2.5 hours roundtrip
Level of difficulty: High
Orchid Heaven Trek
Our unique region provides world-class orchid hunting opportunities with approximately 150 orchid species found in a 10-mile radius of Blancaneaux Lodge. Follow orchid trails close to the lodge in the Mountain Pine Ridge along a landscape of tumbling waterfalls and granite outcroppings where trees often have five or six different orchid species, complemented by a wide array of ground orchids.
Departs: Anytime before 5:00 pm
Length: 30 minute walk
Level of difficulty: Low
We invite you to discover the surroundings while horseback riding at Blancaneaux Lodge. Our on-site stables are fun to visit and even more memorable is venturing out on a horseback ride. Tours are ideal for all riders, regardless of skill level. We take care to match the rider with the most suitable horse to ensure comfort and safety. Riding helmets are available upon request.
Sunrise Horseback Riding
Ride into the rainforest where first light offers a kaleidoscope of colorful birds under a canopy of vines, palms, and exotic bromeliads. You may also catch sight of a whitetail deer, grey fox, and many types of butterflies.
Departs: Sunrise – usually around 6:00 am
Length: Approx 2.5 – 3 hours
Horseback to Big Rock Falls
A gentle ride through the forest takes you to hidden falls. Take a break from the saddle and swim under a cascading waterfall. Recommended for beginners or those who just want a short time in the saddle.
Length: Approx. 2 – 2.5 hours
Horseback Riding - Full Day Experience
Ride through a semi-tropical rainforest and explore a hidden cave once used by ancient Maya. Swim under a crystal waterfall and enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the river.
Departs: 8:00 am
Length: Approx. 6 – 7 hours
Sunset Horseback Riding
As the sun dips towards the horizon we ride east into the Noj Kaax Meen Elijio Panti National Park. Continue to a vantage point in the moist tropical broadleaf forest, home to jaguar, tapir, and ocelot. Enjoy the evening chorus of birdsong as the sun sets over the Maya Mountains on the ride back to the lodge.
Departs: 3:00 pm
Length: Approx 2.5 – 3 hours
Departing the property before sunset, arriving at the Chiquibul Forest, where you can hike to an amazing birding tower. Here one can enjoy an amazing panoramic view of the thick luscious rainforest..
This is the perfect time as it is a relaxing experience to watch the sunset along with different species of birds making their way back to their nests. As darkness covers the rainforest, the predators start to roam their kingdom in search of prey. As most of Belize’s large mammals are nocturnal this is your best chance to actually see them in their natural habitat.
Driving from the pine forest to the rainforest at a slow and quiet pace, we stealthily search the forest for gibnut, armadillos, peccaries and other wildlife. Although seldom seen, the elusive jaguar leaves enough tracks behind for us to understand that this is his realm. Keep an open eye for our national animal the Tapir, who forages on trail-side vegetation.
After a couple hours silently exploring the jungle, we have a snack by the creek under the forest canopy. On our way back, we keep vigilant for signs of a white tailed deer or the arboreal Mexican porcupine. As we slowly drive back to the lodge, there is time to marvel at the magnificent clarity of the night sky.
Duration: 3-4 hours
There’s no better way to explore the diverse ecosystems of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve than a bike tour. Guided bike trips will take you on scenic routes and trails around the Reserve. Check with the Concierge to discuss departure times, difficulty, terrain, and desired length of trip.
As the sun rises at Blancaneaux Lodge, the forest is alive with the sound of exotic birdlife. Take a short walk around the property’s gardens and trails, and let your guide point out the well-camouflaged birds hiding in the nearby forest. Explore sunrise bird watching and learn about our migrant species and the many secrets of our feathered friends. With almost 600 species documented in Belize, this walk is an excellent introduction to the birds of the region.
Departs: 6:00 am
Length: 1 hour (Concierge can arrange for a half-day or full-day birding as well.)
Level of Difficulty: Easy