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Food, wine and song: ‘A visit to the Coppola Hideaways’

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Posted: Monday, September 13, 2021. 10:33 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: It’s about the closest thing Belize has to luxury and glamor, with a visit to either Blancaneaux Lodge in the Cayo District or Turtle Inn on the beach front providing a unique experience.

Forbes Magazine was complimentary in a recent review, citing the efforts by property owners Francis and Eleanor Coppola, who “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. Eco-initiatives property tour hydro system and sustainable practices.”

So, the food, wine and activities are as natural as possible.

Both Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge, Forbes states, boast waterfront cottages, hydro-electric powered features and organic gardens. Both properties operate under the Family Coppola Hideaways umbrella straddling the country from the mountains to the seaside. What Turtle Inn has in beach front dining, Blancaneaux Lodge has in lush tranquility with a sprawling 70 acres dotted with villas on the former family retreat.

Neither are far from Maya architecture, waterfalls and zip lines. You can trade the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, the largest and oldest protected area in Belize, with pristine 300 square miles of pine forest and acts as a natural maintenance of the reserve where indigenous animals like macaws and panthers, are plentiful, for the tranquility of the beach.

Belize’s food culture is a true amalgamation representing the people from all over the world. Both properties feature organic gardens that supply a portion of the fresh produce used in the on-site restaurants, reducing their carbon footprint. The garden at Blancaneaux provides most of the citrus, herbs and veggies for the lodge. While free range eggs come from the on-site hen house and are served at breakfast daily as long as natural predator, panthers, don’t get them first.

Twice weekly, Blancaneaux centers an entire evening dinner around that organic garden. Dinners begin with welcome cocktails followed by a tour with the head gardener. Nibbles of freshly picked snapped peas or taste testing different varieties of mint are de rigueur.

The owners “remind everyone of the comfort, restoration, transformation that travel brings to our lives,” having seen guest after guest “experience an inspired awakening, a needed calm and instantly formed bonds.”

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