Daydreaming About Blancaneaux

A secret rainforest paradise destination need not be limited to your Friday afternoon daydreams. Neither are jungle hideaways only for secret lairs of James Bond villains. Such places actually do exist and are open to the public. Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize stands out as a special place. Francis Ford Coppola thought so too, in the 1980s when he first visited he fell in love with the place. He subsequently purchased the abandoned resort. In 1993 Blancaneaux opened to the public and the rest is history.

Hidden away in a cozy corner of the Maya Mountains, Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury resort hotel in Belize 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. The region is also home to ruins from the ancient civilization of the Maya. Exploring the sacred sites and ceremonial caves is a magical archaeological and natural experience.

04Photo: Blancaneaux website

The cabañas with private decks overlook the Privassion River or waterfall. Family cabañas offer plenty of space and the Honeymoon cabañas are obviously designed to be the perfect setting for a romantic vacation. If Blancaneaux wasn’t already remote enough, the Deluxe cabañas take privacy one step further. These premier accommodations are located on the eastern end of the property and overlook the Privassion Creek.

For activities, it may come as a surprise that Blancaneaux has horse stables. You can enjoy an equestrian sightseeing tour through the lowlands of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. Avid glamping enthusiasts are no strangers to horseback riding or dude ranch experiences, but the novelty is in combining it with a tropical environment.

24Photo: Blancaneaux website

Getting wet is a big deal at Blancaneaux. Thousands of streams and waterfalls begin in the nearby mountain range. Natural streams and swimming holes are supplemented by the resorts beautiful pools. Stunning hidden pools and waterfalls amongst smooth granite boulders and sandy beaches are a must for the adventurous guest. The pools are great too, especially with the ‘captains’ nearby to provide fresh towels and take drink orders. Speaking of pampering, the Waterfall Spa is set on the banks of the Privassion Creek and offers a variety of treatments, wraps and massages, as well as access to a rejuvenating hot pool overlooking cascading waterfalls.

Another unique feature of Blancaneaux is the Organic Garden. The gardener and chef consult daily about what produce is available for the daily menu. The vegetables are local and definitely fresh. The growing season is year round so with careful rotation fresh tomatoes are always available for salads and pastas.

42Photo: Blancaneaux website

The pictures of Blancaneaux really do the convincing when considering a visit. Find out more about Blancaneaux Lodge.


Camping Trailer of the Future

Although glamping is still a relatively new trend it’s fun to think what the future will bring. German engineers and manufacturers at Knaus Tabbert recently revealed what it calls the “caravan of the future.” It’s called the Caravisio and its design is inspired by nautical elements and cutting edge technology advancements.

Let’s talk about the new ideas and technologies in the Caravisio. The clearly improved aerodynamics are due to a new bed layout idea. Single beds in the front are arranged in a V formation. The beds can easily be pushed together to form a large double bed.

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The entrance door and outside hatches and storage compartments are centrally locked with a finger scan. The shower/washroom feature an intelligent water control system with storage function that is controlled with a touch display. The living room opens up to the rear with adjoining veranda, designed like the salon of a yacht.

The seating is designed to converted easily from a lounge to modern workroom and vice versa. Laptops and tablets were kept in mind when designing these features; they can be safely stowed or easily charged.

One of the travel trailer’s most appealing features is also somewhat low-tech, the panoramic window. After all, campers head out to take in the pretty views of nature and not the inside of a trailer. The open yacht-like rear makes it possible to stay close to nature and remain as comfortable as possible.

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Not surprisingly, the Caravisio has features designed to be controlled by way of an app that can be downloaded to a phone or tablet. The Caravisio levels itself automatically and can even be lowered to ground level. The sun roof in the rear can be moved down by remote control and turns into a protective cover, not to mention added privacy.

Inspired by luxury yachts, the sleak lines of the Caravisio will definitely turn heads as you drive down the interstate. If nothing else the Caravisio could boost interest for the industry, but what it does best is show what is technologically possible.

Spotlight: Mahali Mzuri

Mahali Mzuri is the new kid on the block for Kenyan safari camps, but they certainly do not lack talent for creating a fantastic glamping experience. Mahali Mzuri is also part of the Virgin Limited Collection of luxurious destinations around the world.

Mahali Mzuri is located within the Motorogi Conservancy in the Kenya’s Maasai Mara ecosystem. The camp has a prime location for observing abundant game in the area and also to take advantage of the annual migration, which sees up to one million wildebeest.

1000-14Photo: Mahali Mzuri website

There are 12 luxury tented suites accommodating up to a maximum of 24 guests at any one time. Each tented suite sits on a raised platform and includes a spacious bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, sitting area and a large deck with views over the landscape. The deck gives you the perfect vantage point for spotting the game that will almost certainly wander into view. There are strict limits on the number of guests that can stay at any one time. Luxury rarely gets this close to the action!

MahaliMzuri2013JB-1397-Edit_001Photo: Mahali Mzuri website

Anyone who’s been on safari before knows that no two game drives are ever the same. Catch glimpses of wild animals roaming the Kenyan plains including wildebeest, elephants, zebra, lions, leopards, cheetah, giraffe, impala and gazelles. On a typical game drive at Mahali Mzuri you’ll spot an abundance of wildlife characteristic to the area. A number of lion pride territories meet in the Motorogi Conservancy which can make for some interesting encounters as the different groups battle for dominance. The experienced and highly trained team of field guides will guide your twice daily (morning and afternoon) game drives. Enjoy navigating the Motorogi and Olare Orok Conservancies in open vehicles.

There are plenty of things to do aside from game drives including walking safaris, hot air balloon tours, and cultural day trips where you can learn about the local Maasai Tribe whose traditions and customs are still practiced. And, of course you should take the opportunity to relax at the spa.

1000-4_000Photo: Mahali Mzuri website

Mahali Mzuri’s spa is called Nasaro – which literally means ‘refuge’ or ‘relaxation’ in Maa. A whole range of treatments is available, from facials to massages to those essential grooming rituals. Nasaro is located down near the valley floor and provides a private, intimate setting in which to be pampered with truly stunning views over the bush. The range of products used comes from Africology, ethical skin care products to capture the rejuvenating and healing essences of Africa.

Mahali Mzuri opened in 2013 and is Sir Richard Branson’s Kenyan Safari Camp located in the Motorogi Conservancy within the Maasai Mara. Mahali Mzuri’s main priority is to leave as small a footprint as possible on the land while collaborating with local Maasai communities and select. tourism partners. The evidence is apparent because Mahali Mzuri has been working with the Maasai since the projects inception and the staff is from the surrounding communities.

Learn more about Mahali Mzuri