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Historical Traveler Reviews Blancaneaux Lodge San Ignacio
Beautiful setting, great staff
We just returned from Blancaneaux and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The resort is about a two hour drive from the airport about half of which is on very bumpy dirt/stone roads. Blancaneaux is in an area which is pine forested not tropical.
The grounds of the resort are beautiful-a stream runs through it past most of the bungalows/villas. You can actually swim right in the stream. The accommodations are thatched roofed with the bathrooms being more open air-we had a small frog that visited us nightly. The rooms are decorated in Guatemalan textiles and furniture with wood floors and private decks.
The service was excellent-particurlarly in the dining room. Staff was friendly but not overbearing. We received some of the best service we've ever had in a hotel. Food was fine but not gourmet.
There are lots of tour options including Tikal which we took. Take a day to relax and enjoy the hotel-the cabana overlooking the stream is a great place for sunset drinks!
We just got back a few weeks ago and had a great time. The resort is rustic but well appointed. The cabanas were cahrming. The food was good not great. The staff was warm and friendly and most helpful. The ruins were amazing, the hiking fun. It's a great 4 day getaway max, one more day we would have been bored, one less, we would have missed a day trip to Tikal in Guatemala. The region is very remote and there are not many top choices, Blanceneux is the only way to go here. But be prepared, it is not cheap! with meals and airport trans, via private plane (which is s must, the drive up there sucks), day trips, etc, it's $1000 per couple per day. Loved the experience!
I just returned from a week at Blancaneaux and have to disagree with the previous reviews. While the setting is beautiful, the service and food in the dining room are only mediocre. The menu is primarily Italian food-pizzas and pastas with some specials each evening. One night I ordered the chicken salad. After one bite I had to send it back. It tasted like tar or creosote. I think someone had poured lighter fluid on the outside grill to start the coals, and it had seeped into the meat. It tasted just awful and probably would have made me very sick. Another night I had conch, which was so rubbery that I only ate 1/4 of it. On three nights our drinks were not brought to the table until we had completely finished our entrees. We and several other guests also wished there had been more Belizean food. We have more than enough pizza and Italian food in the United States.
The rooms were nicely furnished with art from Guatemala, but there were large roaches in our bathroom every night. I know we were in the jungle, but it's a bit creepy to walk in the bathroom and have 2 inch roaches crawling on the drinking glasses. Also milk for coffee in our refrigerator was sour for the first three days until I asked for it to be replaced. They did replace it immediately. Other small things that Blancaneaux needs to add are a pen and pad in each room and brighter lightbulbs so guests can see better in the rooms. The rooms are very dark! Also swimming towels are only available at the hot tub, which requires a climb up and down the hills--a bit of a hike if you want to take a swim from your villa.
The tours are good. We went to Caracol, Barton Creek Cave, and horseback riding, hiked in the 100 degree heat to the falls 1 1/2 hour away, and rode bikes down the road one morning, but then we had run out of things to do. One of the managers of the grounds had told me there were two rooms available at Turtle Inn, so I asked if we could transfer there for the last 3 nights. They told us no. We would have to pay for both rooms if we did. Surely since the Coppolas run both places, they should have made some effort to do this. It would have required only a tiny effort to make a call to the other resort. The manager who told me they could do this if I asked, was disgusted when I told them the next day they had refused. He was one of the nicest employees there. After my request there was a big change (for the worse) in friendliness at the front desk. I had been very nice about all of this. I am a pretty tolerant person, but for the price they charge here, the service and food are not up to 5 or even 4 star standards. I would not return.
Not true Belize
If you really want to know what the Belize and the forrest are really like, Blancanaux might not be the place for you. The staff, art work and food is great but they use harmful chemicals to take care of the native bugs but the horses bring in countless numbers of flies into the main lodge so it seemed a little counter productive to me. If you really want to see Belize, try Pine Ridge Lodge.
My husband and I just returned from Belize. Blancaneaux Lodge was FABULOUS! The cabanas and villas are spaced pretty far apart on the mountain overlooking a gurgling river. The accomodations were beautiful, the food great, and the service unbeatable. Their organized excursions were excellent too, and very convenient. We we to Tikal, in guatemala, and had our own private tour guide as we walked around (and on) the ruins. Now I'm telling all of my friends to go.
Want to bring the staff home!
My husband and I stayed at Blancaneaux Lodge over New Years, 2004. We absolutely adored this place (we stayed at Turtle Inn too, but loved this more - we thought the food was much better at Blancaneaux also). The staff was the friendliest, nicest, and best we've ever known - Four Seasons plus!! They became our friends over the three days we were there. On New Year's Eve, they hired a mariachi band, and prepared a wonderful feast for us which they took great pride in. The effort they took to make sure we enjoyed our stay was unbelievable.
The property is incredibly beautiful. Lush and green, with the sound of the river ever-present. The hot pool was wonderful - have your mojitos delivered there! The cabanas are small, but nicely appointed and inviting. Overall, our vacation here was about as perfect as it gets.
Be prepared for expensive activities. Even going to the local cave, or other locations are over $100 typically. The horseback riding is wonderful and the stables are on property, managed by a great guide/horse trainer named Jason! We took an all day ride to two waterfalls through the pine and rain forests. Prasert, the masseuse is a magician! Barton Creek Cave is a great short morning activity.
We have just returned from a fabulous two weeks in Belize. The first week was spent at Blancaneaux Lodge and we can't say enough in favour of this place. If you're looking for somewhere to truly relax surrounded by stunning scenery then this is the place for you. We stayed in one of the garden cabanas (the river cabanas and villas looked fab too) - it was lovely, private and beautifully decorated. If you are going in December, we would recommend you request a mosquito net - within five minutes of asking one will appear in your room. The staff at Blancaneaux are some of the most charming, helpful and all round delightful people you will ever meet and they made our holiday - nothing was too much trouble for them. Trips to the Mayan sites at Caracol and Tikal in Guatemala are highly recommended(we preferred Caracol as it was less touristy and a shorter ride along bumpy tracks) as is the Blancaneaux hike to Big Rock Falls which is along a well marked trail through the woods. Get under the waterfall and come alive! Blancaneaux was a real treat for two rather worn out writers from London badly in need of a break - we left there for a second week on the coast refreshed, relaxed and buzzing with jungle stories.
Trip of a Lifetime
Blancaneaux Lodge is the travel world's best kept secret. I really can't say enough for this place. My family was lucky enough to stay in Francis Ford Coppola's own villa, which is the same as the other riverfront villas only with a larger deck, a private path to the stables and the best view in the place. Take full advantage of all the tours offered. Definitly take the Caracol/Rio On Pools combo tour because after walking around the mayan ruin there is nothing like cooling off! Also, if you take the canoing cave tour, ask for Hugh. He is very passionate and knowledgeable about the area. We asked him to stop at a butterfly farm we passed on the way back to the lodge and he was happy to comply. The restaurant is fabulous. Fresh eggs and fruit like I have never tasted. It was great for us as a family but we met several couples who were having a great time too. Highly recommended!
The best place on earth!
This is not merely a place to stay, it is an experience. We had a terrific stay and to this day, we still talk about our time at Blancaneaux. Every lodge there is wonderful. Here are the freebies: wonderful views, screened balconies, dips in the river below, walking through the onsite orchard, a wonderful tiled shower/tub, fresh flowers on arrival, handmade bar soap (ours was Allspice soap). For a nominal cost, we took a horseback ride through the neighboring rainforest area, and the onsite restaurant is phenomenal, using ingredients grown onsite and from the neighboring Mennonite farmers. Worth the drive (do rent a 4x4 - the drive is half the fun) and the cost!! FYI, we stayed there in October 2003, and the weather was great - just before the rainy season!
Oh yes - You must go!
Myself, my husband, and our two teenaged children stayed at Blancaneaux Lodge as the first leg of our Belize vacation last August. It surpassed all of our expectations and was, by far, the best in all categories: service, accommodations, activities, atmosphere, and food....oh, the food! Gourmet meals every night, prepared to perfection...peaceful, relaxing, tranquil, stunning accommodations....exciting activities. We were treated like family and we'd go back in an instant. All four of us agree - best accommodations we've ever had...best vacation we've ever had!
TripAdvisor Reviews Blancaneaux Lodge San Ignacio
Travel Blogs from San Ignacio
... Central Hotel for $15 a night! it was so weird though because we came up and this strange guy named Richard answered the door and said the owner Glen was in the shower. so we talked to him for a while and he told us that he travels here every year and is considered a local, even though he is from LA. He told us that he had the inside scoop on hostels, places to eat, and tours/things to do. but he wouldn't stop talking! He also told us he wrote travel books for ...
... at Gaia Riverlodge - this is eco-luxury at its best, surrounded by the best nature has to offer....which means I had to cover up with bug spray (I might not be so good with sunscreen but I don't miss a hair with my bug spray).
Gaia Riverlodge is a beautiful eco-luxury hotel/resort in the Cayo district that has their own natural waterfall which acts as their pool!! Sun loungers and hammocks by the waterfall as ...
... the goods lived on humans. Indeed some of the remains were of children, as they were considered a more "pure" offering, but also indictated the decline of the people and their increasing desperation. The main "piece" was a largely still together and intact skeleton. Seeing it's calcium-ication<sic> on top of the level of detail was really impressive. Not that it'd have done me any favours but cameras have been banned for a couple of years after people ...
... it would do the job. Obviously it was not the normal arrangement, as Rudi and another employee proceeded to carry two more beds into the small room. However having been in some fairly snug dormitories lately, I wasn't really bothered.
Just up the hill (although I should mention it is a hell of a steep hill) behind the hotel is a Mayan site, Cahal Pech. Stopping to buy some bananas, I asked for directions (I quickly learned that Maya is more Mai-a, than May-a) ...
... researching Mayan artefacts and human remains following her teams research expedition in 1997. Just inside the 3 mile long cave, in the 'twilight zone' they found Mayan pots and large offerings of snail shells. The further in they went the more they found, deep in the dark zone was ceramic pots, grinding stones and bits of obsidian, over a thousand pieces of artefact in total. They also found 14 human skeletons, some tucked away, some splayed in the open including ...