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“Loved it!”
Review of Blancaneaux Lodge

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Blancaneaux Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 May 2011

We loved Blancaneaux Lodge.
A few tips:
- Ask for your wake up call with coffee or tea service =) it free.
- Continental breakfast is free. And you can ask the night before for it to be packed for your tour =). And its much better than American style continental.
-Its cold at night and in the morning- you're on a mountain. For turn-down service they switch the blanket to a down comforter.
-If you do the hike on the property to Big Rock Falls you should be an experienced hiker or very athletic! You can go the short way if you're not up for the adventure by walking, bicycle, or horse. And when your return look for the hotel signs don't just turn at road. Do NOT dive in directly under the water fall. Request a radio (but if you have a radio and you go the long way, be prepared for the challenge of walking across the river on boulders or create a floating device you can swim across with).
-The massage is amazing -get one its worth it.
- If you want to eat somewhere else talk to your tour guide or the tour owner and eat out after a tour. It cost at least $100 to get off the mountain otherwise.
-Bring your MP3 player if you want any other background noise besides the river (they have a docking station).
- Plan your excursions before you come. I recommend Cayo Adventure Tours - they cost less than the hotel including airport transportation.
- Bring hiking boots and extra socks.
- When it rains you are stuck on the property. Bring a board game or a book. (the hotel has a few games)
- Make reservations at least one night at the Guatemalan restaurant on the property.
- The pool is cold. But there is a small warm pool to float around in.
- Be prepared to hike around the hotel- up and down several elevations (good warm up before Tikal)
- On a slow day - take a tour of the garden. One of the workers at the garden will give you a brief tour.
- When its cool at night sit by the fire place (if its not lit feel free to ask).
- Spend some time at the bar there will be other travelers there.

Its a great relaxing place with access to tons of adventure. A tropical oasis.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Getting2KnowTheWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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316 - 322 of 449 reviews

Reviewed 29 April 2011

Well worth the long and bumpy road (we would recommend, if feasible, considering chartered air travel from Belize City to avoid this leg of the trip!), Blancaneaux is an absolute escape from reality. The Pine Ridge Reserve is pristine and relatively undeveloped and on-site hiking and the lodge's subtle landscaping preserve the effect of a forest hideaway. As with most locations of this type - the staff, in particular the knowledgeable and friendly guides, make the experience. The guides were (for the most part) extremely well versed in local history as well as the natural surroundings. Food at the lodge was good but not great - we had expected a bit more from a Coppola property. The cabana was just beautiful (we chose the honeymoon cabana, but there were several in the vicinity that appeared as nice, with similar views) and in mid-April we really had zero mosquito problems. Every morning coffee was brought to our door, to be enjoyed with a sprawling view of the reserve.

We participated in the Jaguar Trek (a guided, headlamp-lit night walk through the jungle in search of wildlife), the trip to Caracol (sprawling, unbelievable Mayan site), as well as some activities not offered by (but arranged and booked by) the lodge: ziplining and the unforgettable trek to actun tunichil muknal. If you are in decent shape and have any interest in Mayan (or geological, for that matter) history, GO TO ATM. DO NOT MISS OUT. It is a long and strenuous day but you will be rewarded for your efforts with skeletal remains and intact artifacts just inches from your step. Wear waterproof shoes and bring a camera - the guide can hold it for you in a waterproof pack.

Some tips for those heading to Blancaneaux: 1) when booking experiences not affiliated with the hotel, ask for a taxi instead of a guide to escort you to the location. The cost difference is staggering (we got the 'default' of a guide escort to the zipline facility, which cost more than the zipline tickets!). 2) prepare for rough roads to and from the lodge - and I mean rough! If you get carsick or don't like your ears rattling, consider chartering a flight from Belize City.

All in all, a once in a lifetime escape!

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Erika_Mayo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2011

My boyfriend and I finally decided to go all out on a vacation, can not believe the experience of Blancaneaux! Even in the rain we loved the beauty Blancaneaux and their staff had to offer. Seeing the chef's garden would inspire any gardener! The peacefullness of the river would put any man to sleep. What wonderful food and beverages! You are forced to enjoy the wonders of the pine forest. We can not wait to retunr again and again!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank k8isalpenglow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2011

After a long journey, you should be so lucky that this is your destination. Although the accomidations are expensive, it is worth it. The food is reasonably prices and the staff is impecible.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank tobaccocay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2011

We stayed at Blancaneaux for one night and it was definitely one of our best experiences in Belize. The property is a destination itself. In the evening, we drank wine on their gazebo that overlooks the river, sat in the hotub with the steam rising around us and looked out over the jungle, and in the morning, enjoyed the fresh coffee (delivered to your room) while watching the exotic birds.

Whlie it is an exquisite hotel, I loved the fact that the staff were not at all snobby. They understood that our stay was a splurge and helped us to arrange trips that were within our budget. They really do go out of their way to help you out.

Blancaneaux is not cheap but worth every penny you spend.

FYI-- the hotell is kind of out of the way, about an hour from San Ignacio. It is on the road to caracoal, so I recommend staying there before/after a trip to caracoal.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank nutella1011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2011

My wife and I stayed at the Blancanaeux Lodge for our honeymoon from August 1-6, 2010. We cannot wait to go back! We arrived in Belize City and our transportation was waiting for us. During the 2 hour drive to the lodge, we learned so much about Belize from our driver, Theo. The last 45 minutes are on a rocky dirt road, which is somewhat rough, but a little fun at the same time. During the entire drive, there were no traffic lights and only 1 stop sign! We are from Chicago so this was a very nice change.

We had Cabana #4 which is the honeymoon cabana, but not the Deluxe Honeymoon Cabana with private dive pool. We felt this cabana was ideally placed because we had a great view of the waterfall only a hundred or so feet from our deck. The constant sound of the falls was so soothing, and drowned out any animal noises during the night, mainly bullfrogs. The Cabana was smaller than I anticipated, but we soon grew to love it. It was the perfect size and had everything we needed. We fell in love with the natural soap and bought several bars from the gift shop. The shampoo is stored in little wooden barrels which was pretty neat. The Cabana is dimly lit, but that is because the power is all hydro-electric and they do everything they can to conserve power. During the turn down service they lit 4 candles which was so nice to come back to after our dinners. They always knew when we were eating because we never saw them cleaning our room or doing the turn down, it was just always done when we came back. They do have free Wifi which you can access from some of the cabanas closer to the main lobby. It seems they shut it off late at night, probably to conserve power, and turn it back on again in the morning.

The service was incredible. They always greeted us by our first names and would go out of their way to accommodate us, without being overbearing. My wife had a slight fever on our last day and they made some tea with fresh mint leaves for her and brought it to the room. Everyone was very friendly, always had a smile and always said hello. As part of our honeymoon package, we got to choose a location for a romantic dinner. We chose the small cabana right on the edge of the creek, the one pictured on the website. This dinner was amazing! They picked fresh flowers of vibrant oranges, pinks and reds, and set them up on the table and deck. They lit over a dozen votive candles on the ground and laid out flower petals in the shape of a heart. There is a small beach area around the deck in which they lit three tiki torches to keep the mosquitoes away. It was really amazing and the bugs didn't bother us at all.

Our first meal was lunch after we arrived. I was a bit surprised as the portions were smaller than I expected and the flavor was a little bland compared to Chicago food. That evening for dinner we found the same thing to be true. These meals were very good but lacked that extra "zing" that we were used to. Over the next day or so we realized how much we loved the food. It just took a little time to realize what it was all about. Almost everything except the meat is grown onsite and is picked hours or minutes before being prepared. They don't take beef and throw on some A1, or pour some overpowering sauce on the pork like we do back home. It's about tasting the freshness and natural ingredients that really make these meals special. We truly looked forward to each and every meal. We also found that we could eat a salad, our entre, and split a dessert and not feel full or tired afterward, a welcome treat from the greasy food back home. When we arrived back home, we didn't want to eat anything we had in the house, it just wasn't up to par with the food we had at the lodge.

The grounds are kept up very well. You are surrounded by lush vegetation everywhere and the bright colored flowers were magnificent. The pool is small but plenty adequate for the small amount of guests at the lodge. We never saw more than two people in the pool at any one time. The pool was a little cool, but I'm not sure if it's heated or not. The spa pool was warmer. It is heated with the extra electricity from the hydro-electric station down the creek. As I read in another review here, I would recommend walking the grounds to see the other cabanas, the horse stables and the vegetable, herb and flower gardens. There is a fence around the garden, but we were welcomed in for a closer look. It's such a peaceful place. You never heard car doors slam, phones ringing, airplanes, etc., just the sounds of nature.

We got the honeymoon package which included the full day Rio Fio Cave/Caracol/Rio on Pools excursion, the half day Barton Creek Cave excursion, and a horseback ride to Big Rock Falls. Our first day we did the hike to Big Rock Falls. The falls were beautiful and we swam under the waterfall. The water was so clear. The "bag lunch" was actually a fully loaded backpack complete with tablecloth, silverware, ice, water bottles, garbage bag, towels and individual containers of our lunch choice and chips and fresh salsa. It made for an incredible lunch by the falls. The hike itself offered great views of the creek and mountains. We were more than half way and starting to feel the workout, when it started raining. It poured for less than a minute and the sun was back out. It was so refreshing. The following day we went to the Rio Frio Cave which was pretty cool. It's in the rain forest and it was drizzling a bit which helped round out the experience. After that was a 30-45 minute drive to Caracol. Our guide was very knowledgeable and informative. We got to climb to the top of the highest ruin which was really amazing. At the top we had a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains and rain forest. It even drizzled a bit after we reached the top which was refreshing after the climb. The guide brought the lunch we chose prior to leaving and set everything up for us on a picnic table which was very nice. On the way back we stopped at Rio on Pools, which is a series of waterfalls and rapids to swim in. The next day we went to Barton Creek Cave. This was our favorite! You go about a mile into a dead end cave. It's pitch black but the guide has spot lights in the canoe. It's absolutely silent and you can hear every drop of water from the stalactites. I took video of the entire cave which turned out rather well. Our guide, Theo, has been going through the cave for over forty years and had an incredible amount of knowledge about the cave and how the Mayan's used it. Since we already hiked to Big Rock Falls, we decided to pay an extra $20 to upgrade our horseback excursion to the sunrise horseback ride to the rain forest. This was a lot of fun and allowed us to see more of the Pine Forest and Rain Forest.

As far as bugs go, it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. I was ok with 30% deet, but my wife liked the 95% better. Be sure to carry some with you on excursions and reapply every few hours. I used the 30% lotion and spray which worked well. Mosquitoes were the worst at Caracol, but you're in the heart of the rain forest so it's to be expected. We had about three little lizards in our cabana, maybe around 4-5 inches long. They never bothered us and would eat some of the smaller insects such as moths. There is a mosquito net over the bed and we never had any issues getting bit at night.

Rain was a concern for us because August is the start of the rainy season. It rained starting around midnight the second night and stopped around 10am the next morning. We had a two hour drive for our excursion so it didn't impact us at all. It drizzled maybe 2 more times during the week. The weather was perfect, around 80 during the day and 70 at night. There were always some clouds in the sky so it never felt too hot or uncomfortable. The summer is the slower season so the cabanas were only about half occupied. This means probably a total of around 20 guests. We felt like we had the place to ourselves because everyone is always doing their excursions and activities so we generally only saw people during meals. At most we had two other couples dining at the same time. It was like our own private getaway. We would not change anything about our stay. If we ever go back we will set aside a day to see the city where many of the locals live, San Ignacio.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank rsuva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2011

We loved our stay at Blancaneaux, we were very well looked after and very comfortable in our beautiful cabin overlooking the river and little waterfall. It was all wood with a thatched roof, a gorgeous primitive carved jaguar I wanted to take home with me, and other decorative bits, a large veranda looking down to the river and also an insect screened sitting area inside which has the same view. The bedroom was behind that with no dividing wall and no curtain, which made me feel a little exposed at night with the light on as we could clearly see the next door cabin. No glass anywhere, just insect screens, and in February it did get quite chilly at night but we were cosy and snug in the comfortable bed with with 2 duvets and soft pillows. Candles were lit in the room at night when we went back after dinner. A good laundry service which came back the same day, reasonable prices, ironing extra. All power is provided by thier own hydro electricity plant further down the river, which is very admirable. Hence no a/c, tvs etc. Free internet. A well tended and well stocked vegetable garden, but sadly the produce is not put to best use by the chefs. We found the food in the Italian restaurant very dull and erratic in quality - sometimes good, sometimes awful. Starters were basically variations on salad, a few boring pizzas, a few boring pastas, a few boring meat and fish dishes. They really need to make the menu more imaginative and the food better if they want to go for perfection. Because it was perfect in all other ways. The wine from Francis Ford Coppola's vineyard was outstanding and that helped cheer up meals. The Guatemalan restaurant was only open one evening of our stay. It is a set meal with dishes selected from the menu at La Lanca where we had already stayed. The trip to Caracol was wonderful - stunning ruins, an excellent guide and a much better picnic lunch than that provided by La Lancha when we went to Tikal. Vehicles still have to go in a convoy with a military escort which leaves at a particular spot at 9.30 and departs Caracol at 2.00. The road is awful as others have said, and if seeing Caracol is a priority (which it was for us) then I wouldn't want to be staying any further away than Blancaneaux.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MyrtleWiltshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Blancaneaux Lodge

Address: Central Farm | Cayo District, Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Belize
Phone Number:
Region: Belize > Cayo > Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Price Range: £256 - £651 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Blancaneaux Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the early 1980s, Francis Ford Coppola visited Belize, immediately fell in love with the location, and purchased the abandoned Blancaneaux Lodge. For more than a decade the resort was used as a family retreat before Francis opened his tropical paradise to the public in 1993. Tucked away in a pocket of the Maya Mountains, Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury resort where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. Its remote mountain setting makes it a perfect place to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blancaneaux Hotel San Ignacio
Blancaneaux San Ignacio

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