On the coast of Belize’s Placencia peninsula lies waterfront Turtle Inn, Francis Ford Coppola’s very own ecological powerhouse. The Caribbean resort has long been associated with beachfront sceneries and tasteful art and is known to be Sofia Coppola’s own personal hideaway. But there’s more to Turtle Inn than luxury accommodations and state-of-the-art service: its contribution to conservation.
Belize boasts the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, which offers world-class snorkeling and unlimited diving opportunities. After all, Turtle Inn has direct access to this side of Belize but the resort sets its sights on more than just fun marine activities. Guests staying at Turtle Inn are able to directly give a hand to ocean conservation, a perk the resort strongly encourages travelers to partake in. And according to the resort’s website, both Francis and Eleanor see their role as conservators. So if you plan to stay at the iconic filmmaker’s hideaway, here are some unmissable conservation activities in Belize.
Mangroves are integral to ocean conservation as their strong roots help prevent erosion. At Turtle Inn, guests are given the opportunity to personally plant mangroves for restoration purposes.
They are also welcome to plant them at Coral Caye, another stunning Coppola Hideaway off the coast of Placencia. Turtle Inn also collaborates with the local organization Fragments of Hope to restore coral reef habitats. Travelers can see the work in action by witnessing the nurseries firsthand at marine reserves like Laughing Bird Caye.
A good, old-fashioned cleanup significantly helps in preserving the environment and nature that Belize is beloved for. Every year leading up to Earth Day, Turtle Inn organizes a beach cleanup in nearby Placencia village that guests can take part in. The annual campaign has been going strong for 15 years; not to mention, it’s also replicated at Blancaneaux Lodge, Coppola’s mountain property in Western Belize.
As an invasive species affecting marine life, Lionfish are hunted for their contribution to deteriorating the reef. These stunning yet deadly fish can wreak havoc of astronomic proportions on the environment; it’s, therefore, a top specie to extract whenever possible. Turtle Inn aids in this effort by arranging reef protection activities where travelers get to assist in the extraction of these creatures. Travelers brave enough to help out are also handsomely rewarded with a decadent meal made out of any lionfish they catch. The experience is surely a creative and unique way to explore the Belize Barrier Reef.
Apart from hands-on conservation contributions, travelers can help out indirectly by simply bringing goods to donate to local schools and shelters. Turtle Inn and its sister properties are proudly part of the Pack for a Purpose program. The initiative encourages guests to pack donations in their suitcases that could immensely benefit marginalized communities in Belize. Whether you opt to bring notebooks, pencils, or even laptops, travelers will leave knowing they made a difference in at least one child’s life.
This is but a fraction of the sustainability practices carried out at the Family Coppola Hideaways. With the Coppolas’ commitment to ecotourism and exploring new opportunities to conserve the environment, there’s a part for everyone to play. Including you.