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Blancaneaux Lodge
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Reviewed October 29, 2012

Just returned from a 5-day stay at Blancaneaux with my parents and our 10-year-old son. The trip was a birthday gift for him, and we wanted something that would be fun and educational. We were not disappointed, even though we went in the "rainy season." (Actually, given how warm it can get in the jungle when the sun is out, we were grateful for a few clouds and some daily rain.) The lodge is beautiful--setting, villas, everything first-class. And the staff is truly exceptional. Their knowledge of Belize's environment, history and culture, and their enthusiasm for sharing it, is unmatched by any other travel experience I have had anywhere in the world, except when we have hired a local expert to show us something specific. When we thanked our guide Geraldo for his tour of the Mayan site at Caracol, his response was, "No, thank you for choosing to spend your time here with us. It is a pleasure to share our culture with you." That says it all about the attitude and atmosphere of the whole place. One thing to be aware of: Blancaneaux is very remote--at least an hour from San Ignacio down an extremely difficult dirt road--so you really are dependent on the hotel for everything: meals, tours, drinks, etc. The bill adds up really quickly. But in our opinion, given the quality of the whole experience, it was worth it. It's also worth considering that this lodge supports literally dozens of Belizean families with jobs that pay decent wages and respect their knowledge and skills. So that might help your conscience a little if you have concerns about the expense. Don't miss: the tours of Caracol and Barton Creek Cave, morning birdwatching, a stroll through the organic garden, a Thai massage (my husband had two, he was so impressed with Presart's talent as a masseuse), and, if you can get it, a bite of the pastry chef's chocolate cake (I don't think it is on the regular menu, but it was made as a surprise for my son's birthday and we all agreed it was one of the best cakes we have ever had anywhere), This was one of those trips made us wish we never had to go home.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank DrPoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2012

Staying at Blancaneaux was the greatest experience I have ever had traveling. My husband and I visited for 4 nights on our Honeymoon and it was greater than anything we could have ever imagined. The rooms were gorgeous (rustically so), their staff was caring and attentive and the organic garden made their food something we still crave. They make sure that every proprietor has the best experience with adventure (caving, hicking, waterfalls, mayan ruins...), romance (lighting candles every night in your room while your at dinner) and luxury (infinity pool, spa by the river...). I have and will reccomend this to anyone who is looking for a non traditional getaway and we have already planned our return trip. Honestly this place was a pleasure and a gem, something we will remember for years.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Cameron C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2012

We stayed 4 nights at the Blancaneaux Lodge. We shared the Francis Ford Coppola’s Villa with family. We ate the buffet at the Montagna Ristorante, enjoyed dinner at the Guatemaltecqua Restaurant, and had drinks at the Jaguar Bar. Here’s our thoughts:

Blancaneaux Lodge: The resort is amazing. Nestled in the jungle, it was peaceful and beautiful. The FFC Villa was spacious, secluded, and luxurious. We had access to our own plunge pool and large deck. The villa is open-air so we did deal with many bugs on a consistent basis. There was a small kitchen but the resort doesn’t expect a person to cook. The two burners on the left are shut off as they are too close to the wood countertop (weird). Pots, pans, and cooking utensils were not provided either. Nonetheless, we were able to make some quick fixings (pasta, rice). The rooms were an excellent size and the bathrooms were good sized as well. Keep in mind, there is no air conditioning. We visited in August and found sleeping at night very difficult. The fans weren’t enough to cool us off. We were supposed to have a dehumidifier at night but we they only left it one night while we were there.

Montagna Ristorante: We had the buffet at the restaurant the first night we arrived. It really wasn’t that good. It consisted of jerk pork, jerk chicken, tortillas, chips and dip, rice and beans, and a variety of desserts. The food wasn’t tasty and the desserts tasted like they sat in the freezer for a week. It also cost near $50 per person not including cocktails. We received a $9.99 buffet for close to $100. Terrible.

Guatemaltecqua Restaurant: Delicious! We really enjoyed this meal. I had the seafood plate with cream sauce, we shared a quesadilla appetizer, and pumpkin dessert. The entrée was perfectly cooked and we all cleaned our plates. The dessert was just ok but the rest of the meal more than made up for it. Our dining companions also enjoyed their order. Great local fare at the resort.

Jaguar Bar: Great bartenders and cocktails. We received lots of local information and their happy hour drinks were not watered down. Definitely recommend a stop there.

Overall, we enjoyed the resort. We would warn travelers about the long, bumpy trip to get there from the coast (or airport) and the secluded location of the resort. It’s a long and expensive drive to excursions and town. We would recommend stopping at San Ignacio on the way in to pick up drinks, wine, beer, and some food.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TravelingSuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2012

You know how sometimes things look better on the website? Or a glowing magazine article that you took at face value was actually pandering to the peeps who sponsored the press trip/junket? I hate it when that happens. It's sooooo amazing when a place actually exceeds your expectations--doesn't happen as often as it should. Thank you, Blancaneaux Lodge, for astonishing my jaded, cynical self and doing just that!

So: I was expecting a standard-issue, entry-level, Garden View Cabana for our 5-night stay, and so-so food, based on what we booked and pre-paid for, and based on some reviews of Blancaneaux that I read here. (In fact, my husband had lobbied hard for Blancaneaux while I wanted to return to the sorta-nearby Chaa Creek, which we stayed at a few years back and which was excellent. Chaa Creek was fully booked, so we "settled" for Blancaneaux.)

OMG: I am so glad we did!

First off, they upgraded our family of three from the modest Garden View Cabana we'd prepaid for, to a lavish, river-view Two-Bedroom Villa (#4, just a few doors away from Francis Ford Coppola's own villa). It was GORGEOUS--antiques, Asian area rugs, comfy oversize open-air/covered living room with couch, love seat, and small kitchen area, deck with hammock--the works! Both bedrooms had their own lovely ensuite baths, with both a shower and a Japanese-style wash area with wood bucket and stool.

Beds were super comfortable with turn-down service every night. We requested mosquito nets and they added to the charm (and also are a must given the weird insects that invaded our space each night--it is the wilderness after all!).

The main restaurant food was lovely. I know it's got mediocre reviews here, and the first night, I was truly disappointed by the lack of variety on the menu, the situation improved with the next day's specials. Much has been said of the second restaurant's menu being Guatamalan rather than Belizean, and apparently this is because the menu at the Coppola-owned Turtle Inn, where apparently 60% of the guests also visit, is Belizean.

In any case, we liked the Italian restaurant. The servers are all super-friendly and on-the-ball without being obsequious, and the food is pretty good. I'm not going into details because it wasn't earth-shaking, but it was just-fine--good pasta selection, delicious local free-range chicken and pork, fresh fish. Not as much veggie options as I personally would like, but then, is there ever in Central America? (And yeah, it is quite expensive for what it is, but what are you gonna do??? There's nowhere else to go, and the level of service, and quality of the ingredients somewhat justifies it.)

There is a solid kid's menu that offers healthy and tasty choices for smaller appetites. I enjoyed visiting the on-site organic farm to see where all the restaurant produce is grown--we saw a giant boa constrictor in the trees--the farmers encourage them as they catch pests.

Activities-wise, we swam in Privassion Creek, which flanks the property, and went with Eddie on an all-day horseback riding tour and swim in Sapodilla Falls. That was awesome, even if the pricey, packed lunches were less so. The tour wended through pastures, fields, pine forest, rainforest, and included a short hike. I would highly recommend that excursion over a shorter ride. My daughter is age 10 and she loved it.

We also did the canoe exploration of Barton Creek Cave. That was fascinating and definitely another must-do.

Due to wiping out on one of their free mountain bikes en route to Big Rock Falls (another do! not the wipeout part, the taking advantage of the free bikes part), we decided not to do an all-day tour of the Mayan site Caracol--we'll save that for next year.

We booked massages with the female massage therapist--there is also a guy, but I think they work different days--and she was excellent.

Other great things about the place: lending library, awesome lemongrass mojitoes, easy kids' milkshakes, nice clean swimming pool, and when we went in August, peaceful and quiet, not busy at all.

The property is magical to walk at dusk.

Go! You won't regret it!

Room Tip: Villa 4 is two-bedroom and amazing! River view, close to the river and spa, quiet, huge and luxurious.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Yuki_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2012

This place is like none I have ever encountered, mountain views, horseback riding, organic gardens, river rapids, warm pools, excellent wine, gracious & caring staff...is there anything more to life? This was the MOST decadent vacation experience I have ever had ( & was only there for 2 nights!).The staff was quiet yet ALWAYS available, the rooms were unBelieveably comfortable, tv? You cannot need a tv here, this is nature + romance +adventure + indulgence all rolled up into one beautiful spot...Bernie (the GM) was both entertaining & inviting, the near by village was quaint & fun & the staff was attentive & mindful, this place is a TRUE GEM!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank jsrandy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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