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“Eden in Belize”
Review of Blancaneaux Lodge

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Blancaneaux Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Eden in Belize”
Reviewed 29 June 2011

I would like to start by agreeing with the vast majority of the people posting reviews about Blancaneaux Lodge: it is a beautiful lodge in a fantastic location with wonderful service. It was such a treat for us. We didn't expect to be so impressed. We love to travel and had never been to Belize. That tiny country is full of surprises---mostly wonderful! The lodge is nestled in the Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. It surprised us to find pine trees there as we were expecting tropical jungle (the "real" jungle was nearby). But what a beautiful location, even considering that it was hugely affected by the wild fires they had this spring (during the hot, dry season--mostly March and April).

The property is like an oasis in the middle of the pine ridge reserve which only has about 5 lodges that were grandfathered in before the area was protected. In the past 5 years or so, we were told that the government opened up some land for sale to developers so locals are disappointed that in the near future, they might see construction and development spoil their tranquil setting. Regardless of that, it would take a lot to spoil this slice of heaven!!!

The lodge and its grounds are meticulously kept. We stayed in cabana #4 which is one of the honeymoon cabanas overlooking the river and waterfall. We would stay there again in a heartbeat. The cabana is located near the main lodge, main pool, and both restaurants and bar. It was easy to slip in and out for a drink at the bar and bring it back to enjoy on our huge deck. The cabana was spacious and romantic. At night it goes to candlelight to preserve power and it made for a very romantic setting. We never once missed not having a/c, tv, radio, etc. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

I had lower expectations of the food mainly due to reviews on this site and I can tell you that they are being harsh in terms of quality and price. We stayed at the lodge 3 nights and not one dinner was over $130US. And we are drinkers. One night we had a bottle of red wine with dinner but mostly we had a variety of beer, cocktails, or wine by the glass with dinner. Usually 2 drinks each. If you are a drinker on vacation, the beer price was very good. We only drank Belikin (the local brew) and it cost $4US at the resort., compared to $1.50US at the little shacks we stopped at on the way to the lodge. It was nice to break up the trip along the way and have some beers. We stopped twice! Compared to the drink prices at other resorts, we thought this was more reasonable.

Food quality was fantastic. You could taste the freshness of the ingredients as they get most of their produce from their own garden. We had it all: pizzas, soups, shrimp ceviche (twice!), lamb, shrimp, beef, etc. All was wonderful. For breakfast be sure to get the Coppola pancake but order it ahead of time from your room before heading to breakfast. It takes 30 minutes to make since it bakes in the oven. We pre-ordered it on our last morning and it was worth it. And I'm sorry but at $8 for a huge baked pancake for two, breakfast was a bargain. Continental breakfast is included and consists of a basket of delicious baked goods and a fruit plate. I sometimes added a protein or my husband some oatmeal to our meal to round it out. So the most expensive beakfast was the day we ordered the pancake with some bacon! Not bad at all. The Guatemalan restaurant was wonderful as well. It is tiny, just off the main pool, and only has 4 small tables. As soon as you get there make reservations. We tried to go a second time and it was overbooked. It has a price-fixed menu with a choice of a 3-4 entrees. Well worth it!

The weather was wonderful, considering it was the rainy season. It rained early in the morning I think because our deck would look a little damp when we got up. But overall it was sunny and temps in the 80's during the day. One day that we did our excursion into Caracol, it rained a lot on our drive there. It was a hard "rain forest" rain. But we came expecting that and the guide had umbrellas. Once we got to Caracol, it stopped and the sun came out which made it perfect for climbing the structures at the site.

I would highly recommend the caracol combo tour: Rio Frio Cave, Caracol, and Rio Hon Pools. It was a full day and our guide Geraldo was FANTASTIC! I think he said he has been a guide for the resort for 10 years and it shows. He takes his job so seriously and is extremely knoqledgeble. He stopped repeatedly along the way to point out exotic birds with his binoculars. Our excurion was private since no one else had booked it so that was a treat.

The whole time we were there, whether it was hiking, driving through the unpaved roads, or visiting San Ignacio for some shopping, we felt like we were the only tourists. It is a rare feeling to be in a country so beautiful and full of so many natural attractions and not have it be overrun with tourists, vendors, merchants, etc. It is like the whole world hasn't caught on that Belize is worth visiting.

We split our 7-night trip to Belize between Blancaneaux and Cayo Espanto. It was our best trip EVER! (Italy is a close second!).

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Jones4Traveling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (104)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Fort Worth, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2011

We just spent a week at Blancaneaux and it was one of the best trips I've ever had. We stayed in the FFC villa and took advantage of all of the excursions we could fit in. We didn't get to do ATM cave but will next time. The resort itself is immaculately maintained and gorgeously landscaped. The staff is fantastic. We were there long enough get to know the staff a bit and we really enjoyed them all. In fact, Blancaneaux wouldn't be what it is without the folks they have working there. It's a really relaxed atmosphere (most people wearing shorts and tank tops to meals) with an exceptional staff. We weren't there in high season and only shared the pool once and the hot pool once even though we were in them every day. It was the most exciting, relaxing, romantic vacation I've had (certainly up there with Fiji). We are particularly interested in Mayan sights, so it was especially perfect for us. The ONLY less than perfect mark would be the food. The price of the food is a bit off. I purchased a package, so we got appetizer, main, and dessert with lunch and dinner (A LOT of food). I was taking note of the menu prices during our stay, though, and I really think after all of the reviews they should reconsider their offerings/prices. We had a night of Belize fare and a Guatamalan night. The food those nights was the best we had and I'm glad they've considered ditching the Italian on some nights. I think they realize they are your only choice for food and take advantage of it a bit.
That being said, the food wouldn't deter my returning a bit. I would/WILL be going back. Everything else was so wonderful you couldn't keep me away. However, how nice would it be to go there and have the food live up to the rest of the resort?
We did Barton Creek Cave (spectacular, ask for Theodore), horseback ride to Big Rock Falls (had a BLAST with Melvin), Caracol, Rio on Pools, rode bikes to Five Sisters (which seemed really run down and the river is WAY below the property) and the falls, had a romantic dinner by the river, swam, napped, ate, drank.
We went in one of the luxury cabanas and it was very nice. All of the rooms seemed great. When people stress bring the DEET there's a reason. I don't ever get bothered by mosquitoes, but the no-see-ums left whelps that are still itching me now.
Blncnx. is fantastic for many reasons: staff, property, vibe.....and I can't review without mentioning the beauty of not hearing other travelers "OmG"ding the bugs, complaining about this or that. We didn't realize how perfectly isolated we'd been until we were surrounded by people in the Belize airport, all recounting their trips. The other travelers we met at Blancaneaux seemed ready for the adventure, happy about the pampering, and not scared of some sweat, dirt, and insects.

Room Tip: all rooms seemed nice, especially the riverfront.
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2 Thank pennyplav1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level 6 Contributor
189 reviews
101 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 June 2011

Although Blancaneaux is hard to get to, it is well worth it. The setting for this hotel is a nice as any hotel we have stayed at in the world. The food was top notch and some of the best in Belize. We went horse back riding with Francisco. My wife is very experienced with horse and I am not so experienced. Francisco allowed her to ride ahead and by the end of the ride all 3 of us were cantering our horses through the pine forest and the rain forest!

The only complaint we had was that the pool and hot tub were closed for repairs when we were there. This place is not cheap, but you do get what you pay for.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tpwoofs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 June 2011

Small eco chic lodge in the Mountain Pine Ridge area of Belize. Beautiful location on the Privasson River. The food fresh from the organic garden was delicious. Staff was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Tours and guides were also excellent. Day trips to Caracol and Barton Creek are well worht it.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank dhill100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakeville, Minnesota
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2011

This place was out of this world. We've never experienced better customer service, food was outstanding, and rooms were really special and unique. We spent 3 nights here in a week-long Belize vacation where we booked the mountain-beach package with the Francis Ford Coppola hotels. While Blancaneaux was extremely tough to get to (over an hour riding in a kia van with blown out shocks on dirt roads that had massive, nonstop ruts and bumps that were at times up to 3 ft deep, we arrived very sick and exhausted from the ride) we wished we had spent more time at the actual resort. It was just lovely. A true slice of heaven on earth.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank blackdog1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2011

Like everyone else, I spent a lot of time researching hotels and where to stay when booking our trip to Belize. Based on the reviews, we decided to splurge on a stay at Blancaneaux Lodge. And, boy was it worth it. We traveled with our 11 yr old daughter and 8 yr old son. Unfortunately, the booking company had double booked our room and only had more expensive villas available. While they were initially reluctant to upgrade us for free, they did. We ended up staying in the Enchanted Cottage. (talk about an upgrade!) It's very separated from the rest of the resort and you get your own golf cart to travel to and fro, and it has its own pool. The kids loved it!! It's a very nice little villa, complete with its own small kitchen and covered porch. Of course, there's no place to shop for food nearby, so we really didn't use the kitchen. However, there is no A/C at the resort, and the days we were there were very hot. The Cottage did not cool down much at night, so it was a little hard to sleep on these hot nights. (but, the beds were incredibly comfortable!)

The grounds throughout the entire property were amazing. There's a nice-sized pool that seemed to be empty nearly every time we were there. They serve food/drinks there but sometimes the bar at the restaurant doesn't always check the pool, so you have to go up and tell them you are there. But, the front desk tries really hard to remember everyone's name and are super friendly and helpful.

We did nearly every excursion through the hotel and were happy with them all. All of the guides are very knowledgable and seem to genuinely want to share their knowledge and pride with you. I highly recommend the Barton Cave tour, horseback ride to the Big Rock Falls, and the Caracol Mayan ruins. You definitely need to bring some hiking boots and we did experience bug bites, so bring your bug spray!! As mentioned by a previous poster, all of the roads around the resort are incredibly rough. They are just dirt, rocky roads and are quite bumpy and rough! It's a little exhausting after a while, but makes you appreciate your destination even more.

Lastly, the food at the restaurant was very good. The kids love Italian food, so it was easy for them to pick something out. However, the food is way overpriced. It's more expensive than some of the best Tom Douglas restaurants in Seattle (where we are from). You do feel a bit taken advantage of, since there really aren't any other options! Or, maybe they assume if you can afford to stay there, you can afford to spend more money on food.

Overall, I would highly recommend Blancaneaux Lodge and would not hesitate to go there again. In fact, we went to Placencia afterwards to get our beach experience, but decided not to stay at Turtle Inn (primarily to save some money). We felt so spoiled by Blancaneaux, that we really wished we spent the extra money on Turtle Inn. (we drove by it numerous times and it looks amazing!)

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank BeckyInSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
34 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Getting2KnowTheWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Blancaneaux Lodge

Property: 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 #2 of 3 Hotels in Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
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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