Francis and Eleanor Coppola see their role as that of a conservator, preserving the pristine natural environment. They strongly support Belize’s commitment to ecotourism and continue to explore new technologies and practices that benefit the environment.
Design and Construction
The design selected by the Coppola’s was in keeping with the goal of creating buildings that blend into the natural environment. We use low profile, environmentally sound designs, thatch, hardwoods, pine, bamboo, and regionally produced tiles. We also use local and regional plants for landscaping that do not rely on intensive irrigation.
The architectural design of the vaulted dwelling roofs allows the smooth flow of natural air that maintains coolness and fresh air flow while allowing guests to hear the sounds of nature – birds, the sea, etc. Windows, screened doors, and high, thatched ceilings allow air circulation to enable hot air to escape.
This design feature was written about in Architectural Digest in 1993.
Flow control showerheads are used in the bathrooms at all properties.
All of our pools are set up with saline systems vs harsher to the environment chemicals.
The Privassion creek plays a huge role in Blancaneaux Lodge’s day to day operations- it supplies 26kw of power harness via a hydro system for the entire property and staff housings, this is an equivalency of 85% of the energy use on property while the other 15% is supplied via butane for water heating and drying of clothes and cooking. At the inception, we sourced technical assistance abroad, for the past 10 plus years we have done all the servicing in house by our facility manager. The creek also supplies water for our shower and laundry, we treat all water before it goes to the guest rooms.
We offer complimentary eco-tours at Blancaneaux to educate guests on the hydro system and more.
Energy efficient appliances
All our appliances are energy efficient, we meter all our electricity consumption and monthly.
We recently added Haiku fans to all our guest dwellings and communal areas. These efficient fans burn 1/3 the power of a regular fan and the wind is more powerful and cooling.
We converted about 95% of all our bulbs to LED’s.
No single use plastic
We eliminated all single use plastics including plastic water bottles which were replaced them with stainless steel bottles, provided to guests on tours and transfers. Guests also have the choice of purchasing these bottles and USD 1 is contributed to Friends for Conservation (NGO) and eco filter stations are located throughout each hideaway for easy clean water refill.
All our take outs containers are plant base products, Bags, clam shells, spoons and forks.
Our aerobic system separates the solids from the grey water (from all guest dwellings and buildings on-site at each hideaway), allowing us to be able to irrigate the landscaping. While the solid is compacted, once collected can also be used for composting.
We observe earth day by turning off the power during evening dining, encouraging guests to dine outdoors with candle light and frequently live local music: guitarist and vocalist.
Support local market
Although we produce a majority of our produce on site at each location, there is still some need for additional produce that we cannot grow. We encourage the local farmers from San Antonio and El Progresso to supply us these commodities.
Toiletries - We use locally produced organic soaps and amenities.
As part of our responsibility to support culture and art, we host weekly guest artist such as musicians and artisans. Painting, guitar, Spanish and other local arts classes are offered frequently at both Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn.
Locally certified wood supplier
All our wood is purchase from a local company that replants at the time of harvest and consciously reduces their carbon foot print.
In house furniture
We build all our furniture in house- with wood supplier that also support NGO’s that protect the forest.
Support Belize Wild Life Referral Clinic
We have partnered with Belize wild life Clinic which provides free medical care to wildlife centers and in the field without a clinical facility and only basic medical equipment. We make annual donations to their clinic from Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge and we educate our guests and offer them an opportunity to personally donate.
Reef protection activity for guests at Turtle Inn
Lionfish are known for their striking appearance in the Caribbean Sea, their delicious taste and unfortunately for their attempts to destruct the barrier reef. There have been a reported 68 different invading marine species found throughout Florida, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico over the last century, but none have wreaked as much havoc on the marine environment as the voracious red lionfish. Because the fish do not belong in these waters, they have no known predators and there is nothing to stop them from consuming all Caribbean reef fish.
To deal with this growing environmental issue, Turtle Inn has found a creative and exciting way for travelers to experience a unique underwater tour that will simultaneously help protect the environment. Divers will also have the opportunity to make a delicious meal out of any lionfish they catch, adding some incentive and fun to the overall experience.
Guest participation in planting pine and mahogany trees
In the year 2000 the pine forest reserve was devastated by the bark beetles. Blancaneaux encourages guests to participate with us by planting more pine trees. Every dry season the Green team, sets out to collect many pine seedlings that may perish bring them to our nursery. Once rehabilitated, they are taken out to the field and they are tagged with guest names and often guests are be updated with photos of the seedling progress.
Office policy to reuse paper
All papers are reused as note pads, once we complete the second use, they are shredded and used in our mulch, or to feed out wormy post.
Staff education green team
The green teams at each hideaway constantly prepare presentations for the rest of the staff, thereby educating them on our waters streams, forests, beaches, reefs, mangroves and how we continue to conserve and protecting all through small and large efforts daily.
Each department has the task to separate their garbage at the end of each day- this is then take to the scale and documented- items that are not recyclable are prepared for dumping, other are place in a wooden box which is then take to the transfer station at the western border, a fee is paid to the station where it is all classified again then transported to Guatemala where it is recycled.
At Blancaneaux Lodge we recently added bee keeping to our duties. These fascinating insects plays an important role in the pollination and sustaining the health of our forest. Honeybees are the heartbeat our organic garden and helps to maintain a healthy biodiverse environment. We offer tours/education on bees to guests.
Community outreach/education and direct support
Visit to local schools for educate kids about Flora and fauna and sustainable recycling practices. At the end of each visit we would facilitate a question and answer session and small tokens are given to those with correct answers.
School garden education:
We encourage children to participate in agriculture training- we offer seedlings and technical assistance allowing local Belize students who may not otherwise
Corner stone foundation:
Blancaneaux makes a monthly donation to this feeding program, this assists the local community in providing meals to children and elderly who are in need.
Clean up Campaigns
Every year we organize a cleanup of Mountain Pine Ridge road near Blancaneaux and the beaches in Placencia near Turtle Inn, leading up to earth day. All garbage collected is weight and recorded which is then shared with all participants. We have done this for 15 plus years.
Pack For A Purpose
Each of our Belize hideaways encourages guest to pack donations for local schools in need of supplies ranging from writing utensils, notebooks, to electronic tablets and laptops. Often our guests bring their donations directly to the schools in need.
We currently provide full academic scholarships to selected local students. Students are selected from our two local communities in the Cayo District town of San Ignacio and in Placencia, Belize. Scholarships include all tuition, fees, and books. All students, once accepted, must provide progress reports throughout their four-year scholarship. Additionally an in-house foundation called Double Key foundation was started to provide local high school scholarships including laptops.
We also contribute monthly to the health clinic in Placencia to help assist in the cost of medicines and medical equipment for the locals.
Inspiration Center of Belize
The General Manager of Turtle Inn: Martin Krediet, serves on the board of this non-governmental organization in Belize City that provides various therapy and health services to children with disabilities and their families. It was founded in March 2014 by Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, Belize’s Special Envoy for Women and Children and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics International, in collaboration with CARE-Belize, the Government of Belize and numerous donors and stakeholders.
Annual donations are made by Turtle Inn to SEA (Southern Environmental Association) Belize – a local Placencia headquartered NGO whose mission is to take a hands–on approach to conservation and management of much of the Southern Barrier Reef.
Fragments of Hope
Turtle Inn partners with Fragments of Hope – focused on the restoration of coral reef habitats and advocacy for the sustainable management of associated habitats. Guests are given an opportunity to plant mangroves for restoration purposes on-site at Turtle Inn and Coral Caye.
Collect all peels and vegetable trims for composting
All cooking oils collected for Bio-fuel
Food and Beverage Department
Provide all wine bottles for foundations and distribute to local wine makers with corks.
Only metal and Bamboo straws (no single use plastics)
Corn base bags t-shirt bags
All take away food are served in corn base materials.
Use honey from our bee farm
Use produce from our on-site farms
Gardens/Farms on-site and guest interaction
Blancaneaux Lodge boasts offering 3.5 acre organic garden, more like a farm, that produces 80% of the produce consumed by guests and staff. In 2017 a guest experience was added to showcase our organic practices and an evening on Blancaneaux’s farm includes a tour with the head gardener to learn of the practices while enjoying cocktails made with local garden ingredients and finally dining in a palapa set in the garden spot to share a three course completely vegetarian meal.
Don’t miss meeting or feeding the chickens while visiting the farm at Blancaneaux.
Turtle Inn also offers a smaller scale on-site organic garden and the head gardener welcomes guests to learn about the gardening practices, assist in harvesting, plant seedlings and perhaps feed the chickens on-site.
Develop insecticide from leaves and other organic material
Compost by collecting manure from our on-site horse stables at Blancaneaux Lodge
This was a project provided to Blancaneaux in partnership with the local ministry of agriculture, and started with only 4 lbs of worm, today we are peaking about 50 lbs and close to 1k lbs of compost- the compost is use for all our seedlings
Our seed are organic certified
The pump was discovered on the property when the Coppola family purchased Blancaneaux Lodge in 1981. In 1998, it was rehabilitated and installed downstream. The pump is used solely to feed the horse stables and organic garden.
Native plants that don’t need excessive watering.
Collect/grinds dry leaves to make mulch for the garden.
Uses only organic treatment for flowering plants.
Provides (shampoo/lotion/conditioner) in reusable bottles in each guest dwelling (no single use plastics)
Gives guest option of reusing towels and linen
Uses only organic locally made toiletries
Solar emergency light available in rooms for emergency
Laundry products are Bio-degradable and automated for no waste
Our team here ensures that we always purchase in bulk size items- each purchase is brought in plastic crates that are reusable. In cases where we cannot avoid cardboard boxes, we use them in other applications such as coverings for plants in the gardens.