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Turtle Inn Belize

Turtle Inn: Luxury Beachfront Villas in Belize

Turtle Inn is Francis Ford Coppola’s beachfront resort on the Central Coast of Belize. Located just outside the town of Placencia, Turtle Inn is an excellent base for exploring the region’s white-sand cayes, atolls, and reef.

Turtle Inn’s gardens and guestrooms have a Balinese feel; Mr. Coppola fell in love with Southeast Asia while filming “Apocalypse Now” in the 1970’s. He imported the resort’s hand-carved pavement stones, wall decorations, and furnishings from Bali.

He also designed the guest cabanas with thatched roofs and outdoor showers. Guestrooms are fully screened and shuttered, but dispense with window glass or air conditioning—another reflection of Bali’s open-air style of living.

White sand beach lined with hammocks at luxury resort Turtle Inn Belize

Turtle Inn: Beachfront Belize

Turtle Inn rests on a sheltered section of coast, near the tip of a narrow 26-mile long sandy peninsula, between the towns of Seine Bight and Placencia.

Turtle Inn has two swimming pools, several power boats, a private dock, a dive shop, and dive masters, making it an ideal location to obtain or advance your PADI certification. The Belize Barrier Reef is a short boat trip from the resort.

Turtle Inn also has three restaurants, a bar, a gelato stand, a spa (specializing in Thai massage), and a boutique. Service is warm and genuine; many of the hotel staff have worked at the property for more than a decade.

Aerial view of waves and sandy beach of the tropical coast of Mozambique, one of the best places to stay in Belize for a beach vacation

Turtle Inn Accommodations

Turtle Inn’s 25 individual cottages and villas were designed with privacy and relaxation in mind. Many are beachfront, while others are less than a minute’s walk from the Caribbean shore.

Options at Turtle Inn range from one-bedroom cottages to a private 2-acre island, Coral Caye.  Within the main grounds of Turtle Inn, options include:

  • (4) Seafront Cottages
  • (5) Seaview Cottages
  • (2) Poolside Seaview Cottages
  • (2) Poolside Gardenview Cottages
  • (4) Gardenview Cottages

Each guest room at Turtle Inn is furnished with a security box, mini-bar, ceiling fans, cookie jars, bathrobes, and beach sandals. The en-suite bathrooms feature Japanese-style shower tubs, and private gardens include outdoor showers.

The rooms do not have television or telephone; reception can be reached via “shellphone” intercom. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.

View of the carribean from wooden porch of oceanview villa at Turtle Inn Belize

The maximum occupancy of each cottage at Turtle Inn is three people with an additional roll-away bed.

TWO-BEDROOM VILLAS

  • (3) Gardenview Villas
  • (4) Seafront Villas

These villas offer more space than the cottages. The living area of each villa at Turtle Inn flows into the screened front porch and additional sitting and dining areas.

Maximum villa occupancy is six people with additional rollaway beds.

Turtle-Inn-Belize-Seafront-Villa-Porch

THE STARFISH COTTAGE

The Starfish Cottage is a private seafront home, intended for families or up to four adults.

The cottage features a kitchen, living room, bathroom on the main floor, shared bathroom on the second floor, and two air-conditioned bedrooms.  A pool is shared with the neighboring cottage, which also shares a dock.

Maximum occupancy in the Starfish Cottage is four people.

Private pool and daybeds in front of Starfish Cottage luxury villa at Turtle Inn Belize

FRANCIS’S FAMILY PAVILION

Located on the southern edge of the resort and surrounded on three sides by a high walled tropical garden, Francis’s Family Pavilion was designed with privacy in mind.

The Pavilion features two bedrooms, each with private bath and outdoor shower.  The second story has a cozy sleeping loft. Between the two bedrooms is a living area and screened porch with comfortable sofas; writing desk; and a small kitchen with wet bar, refrigerator, and stove.

The pavilion is adorned with hand-carved wooden doorways and accent panels, stone sculptures, and artwork personally selected by Francis and
Eleanor Coppola.

The Pavillion has a private pool and thatch-roofed dining terrace overlooking the ocean.

Shot from living room of al-fresco dining area in Francis Family Pavillion villa at Turtle Inn Belize Luxury Resort

The Family Pavilion is staffed with dedicated personal attendant. Maximum occupancy is of six people, if additional roll-away beds are added.

SOFIA’S BEACH HOUSE

Sofia’s Beach House is located next to the Family Pavilion.  This indoor-outdoor masterpiece is Sofia Coppola’s private hideaway, designed with extra space and privacy.

The main house features one upstairs master bedroom with a king-size bed and an adjacent room with bunk beds suitable for children under 12 years of age.

It also has a media room that can be converted into to a seaview open-air bedroom with queen bed.  The main house has two baths, full kitchen, private pool, fire pit, outdoor BBQ dining area with available private chef (extra charge) and a large living area that opens out to the pool deck.

In addition to the main house, Sofia’s Beach House has two separate guest cottages, each with a king bed and private en suite bathroom.

The private infinity pool of Sofia's Beach house at Turtle Inn Belze; ringed by two pavillions adorned with day beds and bar

CORAL CAYE – TURTLE INN’S PRIVATE ISLAND

Sheltered behind the world famous Belize Barrier Reef, Coral Caye is a completely private 2-acre island, well suited for a romantic, restorative or adventurous getaway.

Located just 8 miles (25 minute boat ride) from the main Turtle Inn property, Coral Caye features a small coral sand beach and mangrove ecology.

Capable of accommodating between two and ten guests, this private island is outfitted with a full house and two cottages.

The Coral Cottage is ideal for a couple or family with young children. This cottage features a king bed and a sleeper sofa in the cozy living area, front porch, hammocks, full bathroom and an outdoor shower.

TAerial view of Coral Caye private island owned by Francis Coppela and offered at Turtle Inn Belize

Situated near Coral Caye’s mangrove cove, the Seahorse Cottage is great for extended family or additional friends. It features one queen bed, two additional twin beds and an adjacent bathroom with a cold shower.

Coral Caye’s Great House was built to be the perfect indoor/outdoor living room for your stay on Coral Caye.

With amenities including a full bar, music, bathroom, kitchen, dining table, board games, dart board and more, this space is perfect for celebrations or family meals.

The Great House can also be converted in the evening to accommodate added guests with daybeds. All meals on Coral Caye are prepared daily by the island caretakers, including fresh-caught seafood dinners.

View from a villa on Turtle Inn Belize private island, Coral Caye

LANDED can also customize the Coral Caye experience with add-on items (at extra charge) including:

  • Private Attendant
  • Guided Fishing Tours
  • Pre-Ordered Grocery Items
  • Al-Fresco Massages
  • Private Chef

Turtle Inn Amenities

Turtle Inn features two swimming pools and a spa focused on Thai massage. Kayaks, paddle boards, tri-marans, beach cruisers, water bikes, snorkel gear, and fishing gear are available for complimentary guest use.

The property serves a complimentary continental breakfast (with option for room service) included. Hot, made-t0-order breakfast options are available for an additional fee.

Turtle Inn also offer a daily shuttle service to Placencia Village between the hours of 6pm and 10pm.  There you’ll find Caribbean classics and top-notch ice cream.

Guided birdwatching tours of the Turtle Inn property are offered twice a week.

Woman doing yoga on a private beach at Turtle Inn Belize

Turtle Inn Restaurants and Bars

From local seafood and traditional Belizean fare to authentic Italian cuisine, options include:

The Mare Restaurant – Turtle Inn’s flagship restaurant, serving fresh caught seafood and traditional Italian dishes, prepared using Coppola
family recipes. The Mare also serves Dutch –Indonesian Rijsstafel twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays.

The Gauguin Grill – An intimate beachfront restaurant featuring fresh, charcoal-grilled seafood, accompanied by a choice of Balinese-inspired sauces and spices. This Turtle Inn bar and lounge also offers an excellent selection of Belize- brewed Belikin beer, wine, and cocktails.

Auntie Luba’s Kitchen – The menu of this small, rustic-style restaurant is filled with traditional local dishes including curry chicken, coconut shrimp, and classic rice & beans, served in a fun and friendly laid-back atmosphere.

Elegant wood accented dining room of Mare Restaurant overlooking ocean at Turtle Inn Belize

The Laughing Fish Bar – Set on Turtle Inn’s beach under a thatch roof, this beach bar serves a wide selection of drinks and light snacks. Comfortable Adirondack chairs sit directly on the sand, offering panoramic views of the Caribbean sea.

Skip White Bar – This open-air Turtle Inn bar was designed to pay homage to previous owner Skip White, whose hobbies included a keen interest in marine biology.

New Wine Cellar – Opened in December of 2015, Turtle Inn now boasts one of the largest wine cellars in Central America, with more than 1,000 bottles in-stock. The New Wine Cellar also offers a wine tasting experience, available for guests to enjoy privately or among other guests in the wine garden.

Kids Gelato Bar – Nestled next to the Skip White Bar, you’ll find the sand-floored Turtle Inn Gelato Bar. Here, children are invited to enjoy a supervised party atmosphere, complete with kid-sized tables and chairs.

Two young girls sitting at a kid-sized table, enjoying Gelato cones at Turtle Inn Belize

Active Adventure at Turtle Inn

If you’re seeking active adventure in Belize, Turtle Inn has a variety of options. Guests of this luxury resort can enjoy activities including:

  • Bicycling
  • Snorkeling
  • Golf Cart Scavenger Hunts
  • Horseback Riding
  • Sunset Cruises on the Caribbean
  • SCUBA Diving (and SCUBA Certification courses)
  • Birding, Hiking, and Wildlife Viewing at the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve
  • Day Trips to Nim Li Punit, or Lubaantun Maya Ruins
  • Wildlife Watching Boat Tours up Monkey River
  • Visits to Turtle Inn’s Organic Farm
  • Sport Fishing or Fly Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Zip Lining

Just off the coast of the Turtle Inn property, the Belize Barrier Reef provides some of the great opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving experiences.

A sea turtle photographed on a Scuba expedition at Turtle Inn Belize Luxury Resort

Turtle Inn Conservation Efforts

Francis and Eleanor Coppola are firmly committed to preserving the pristine environment of Belize.

The Coppolas strongly support Belize’s commitment to ecotourism and continue to explore new technologies and practices that benefit the environment. Accordingly, all the buildings at Turtle Inn were built using low profile, environmentally-sound designs and renewable materials such as thatch, pine, and bamboo.

Whenever possible, Turtle Inn sources herbs and produce for the resort restaurants from an on-site organic garden.

Man walking towards large circular pool overlooking ocean at Turtle Inn Belize

Dreaming of a visit to Turtle Inn? LANDED provides personalized, custom travel within Central America, South America, and the Antarctic. We’ll create a unique itinerary plan tailored to your interests and dreams. Experience the trip of a lifetime. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100.

Machu Picchu Guide (Free Download)

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Coppola Hideaways in Belize & Guatemala

Francis Ford Coppola is widely regarded as one of the best directors in the history of cinema; a 2002 Sight & Sound readers’ poll put him at #4, and the critic’s poll listed him at #10.

His films have earned more than 20 Oscars and 17 Golden Globes. His body of work includes such classics as the Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, The Cotton Club, Patton, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, American Graffiti, Peggy Sue Got MarriedThe Black Stallion, The Rainmaker, Tetro, and Don Juan de Marco.

You probably know all that. You might also know of his wine making and magazine publishing. What you might not understand from the legends and documentaries is that “Mr. Francis” is a world-class husband, father, and grandfather. Really?

Certainly. He sincerely regards family as the ultimate source of wealth. He’s been married to Miss Ellie since 1963. He composes songs and stories for his children and grandchildren.

Out of a desire for more family connection, he acquired Blancaneaux Lodge in the Mountain Pine Ridge of Belize in the early 1980s.  It was a family retreat until 1993, when it opened as a 20-room riverside resort.

Turtle Inn, located on Belize’s central coast, was the next addition, followed by La Lancha on Lake Peten Itza near Tikal, Guatemala.  These retreats (along with two others in Bernalda, Italy and Buenos Aires, Argentina) are known collectively as The Family Coppola Hideaways.

This podcast was recorded at Jardin Escondido, Mr. Coppola’s lovely boutique hotel in the Palermo Soho neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

This is one of our favorite places to stay in BA; it feels like staying in the home of a gracious friend.  True enough, I was staying as the guest of Christine Gaudenzi (Director of Sales and Marketing for The Family Coppola Hideaways) and Martin Kredit (Manager of Turtle Inn).

When I checked in, I was surprised to find Mr. Coppola sitting in the back garden, pecking away at his laptop while wearing saffron silk pajamas and Gucci loafers.

With Christine and Martin, we stayed up late into the night listening to “Mr. Francis” spin tales of his college years and family life.  He’s a thoughtful and generous conversationalist; he listens to opinions, considers alternative viewpoints, and encourages discussion.

At breakfast the next morning, he followed up with deeper questions and additional insights.

Martin and Christine are some of the kindest and most thoughtful people in travel. Since this episode was recorded, we’ve seen each other again in Morocco, explored cayes and reefs in Belize, and planned an upcoming trip to the western islands of the Galapagos.

These are the kind of friends you know you’ll have for life.

The theme of family runs through each of the  Coppola Hideaways. Bernie Matute, who manages Blancaneaux, has worked on property for more than 20 years; he started out as a porter.

Dozens of the Coppola staff have worked for the company for more than 10 years. It’s a pleasure working with these properties; when we send our clients, we know they’ll be cared for with genuine kindness and sincere hospitality.

Show Notes

Not sure why I was in the mood to latinize Christine’s name and pronounce Martin’s surname like a goof; it was probably the Diet Coke.

Why No Helicopter Charters to Machu Picchu?

Why Helicopters are Banned from Machu Picchu

One of the common questions we field from clients traveling in Peru is, “How can I travel to Machu Picchu by helicopter?”

In 2010, the Cusco province banned helicopters from the airspace around and over Machu Picchu, in an effort to protect indigenous wildlife.

Specifically, the noise produced by helicopter rotors is considered detrimental to some 50 species whose habitat includes Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and Inca Trail home.

A brown caracara perched on a wall on a vista overlooking the Machu Picchu ancient ruin site

Helicopters are not permitted to fly within the 125 square mile area surrounding Peru’s most popular Inca site.

A few examples of indigenous species found in this region include:

  • Spectacled Bear
  • Red-Plumed Andean Cock of the Rock
  • Guanaco
  • Vicuña
  • Caracara

Helicopter flights are typically only permitted in response to medical or national emergencies.  Even in those circumstances, prior authorization from the Culture Directorate of Cusco and SERNAP (Peru’s National Service of Natural Protected Areas) is required.

Golden sunrise over the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu

Available Machu Picchu Transportation Options

Fortunately, those interested in visiting Machu Picchu can still choose from a variety of transportation options.

From scenic, multi-day treks on the Inca Trail to lesser-known trails with accommodation at luxury mountain lodges, to private rail charters, options for getting to Machu Picchu are plentiful.

Getting to Peru

Most international flights to Peru arrive in Lima, although Cusco now receives non-stop flights from Bogota, Colombia and La Paz, Bolivia.

From Lima, it’s common for travelers to fly to Cusco, descending to the Sacred Valley shortly thereafter; the altitude of the Sacred Valley is lower than Cusco, easing acclimation.

Illiminated cathedral on plaza de armas, photographed on leisure travel to lima peru
Stepped agricultural terraces cut into the hillside at Machu Picchu ruins showing other ancient buildings in the clouds

Machu Picchu Train Options

Train transportation options to Agua Calientes (aka Machu Picchu Pueblo) continue to improve.  Available Machu Picchu train options include:

  • Peru Rail

    • Expedition Train (economy train)
    • Vistadome (intermediate train with panoramic windows)
    • Sacred Valley Train (luxury train including lunch or dinner on board)
    • Hiram Bingham Train (luxury train including brunch and dinner, and live entertainment on board).
  • Inca Rail

    • Voyager Train (economy train)
    • 360 Train (intermediate train with panoramic windows)
    • Inca Rail First Class Train (luxury option including lunch or dinner on board)
    • Private Train (a private, luxury dining car available for 8 travelers)

All trains arrive at Aguas Calientes station, necessitating an additional 25-30 minute bus ride before reaching Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Presidential Quarter, a triangular wall with small windows cut into it

Should you prefer a Machu Picchu hiking expedition, LANDED can arrange the following itineraries:

2-Day Inca Trail Option

Travel by train to km 104, before embarking on a 5-6 hour hike, arriving to Machu Picchu in the afternoon with the option to visit the ruins that day (time permitting; depending on group pace).

After exploring Machu Picchu, you’ll head to a nearby for an overnight stay.  You can then revisit the site the next morning.

Landed_Travel_Ollantaytambo_Granaries

4-Day Inca Trail Camping Option

After a short train journey, you’ll begin your 4-day hike to Machu Picchu at km 82, trekking for around 8 – 9 hrs per day and sleeping in campsites.

LANDED can arrange a variety of different camping options–from basic to luxurious–custom-tailored to your requirements and budget.

Inca Trail Tickets

Permits for the Inca Trail entry must be acquired well in advance of travel.  It is common for the route to sell out 6 months or more in advance for peak season dates.

Blue train cars with white roofs en route to Agua Calientes, near Machu Picchu

The Sacred Valley typically has two seasons:

  • Dry/High Season (April to October)

  • Rainy/Low Season (November to March)

The climate in the Sacred Valley can be unpredictable—even in the peak of dry season, a rainy day is never out of the question.

Similarly, the rainy season has been known to include a few sunny days. With this in mind, we advise LANDED clients to pack rain gear, regardless of season and expected weather.

Poroy Train Station Closures

From January 1st to April 30th, the Poroy train station closes.

While trains continue to operate during this time, they are limited to arrival in either Ollantaytambo or another station nearby.

Stepped residential terraces cut into steep green hillside at Machu Pichu Inca ruin site in Peru

Since the July 2017 rule change, first entry to Machu Picchu must be with a guide.  You are not required to have a guide for subsequent entries (e.g. an afternoon visit on the same day, or a morning visit the following day).

For those wishing to explore the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, guide service is not mandatory, but trail tickets are needed.

Machu Picchu Ticket Time Limits

The average Machu Picchu tour duration is between 2 and 2.5 hrs, with a 4 hour maximum allowed on a regular ticket.

Tickets with a Huayna Picchu extension allow a maximum of 6 hours, while tickets with a Machu Picchu Mountain extension allow a maximum of 8 hours.

Re-entry is permitted at Machu Picchu; you can exit the national park and re-enter by showing your ticket.

Double rainbow over the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru

Machu Picchu tour groups are limited to a maximum of 16 people and must be accompanied by an official Machu Picchu tour guide.

LANDED suggests a maximum ratio of 8 people per guide, to help ensure the quality of your experience.  Usually, we arrange private guides for couples and families.

Machu Picchu Bus Wait Times

The queue for the bus to Machu Picchu is typically quite long—in high season you can expect to wait between 30 minutes and an hour.

However, we can charter a bus for you.  Chartered buses can be scheduled in advance, eliminating the wait.

Machu Pichu at dawn

Machu Picchu Tour Options

  • Machu Picchu Morning Tour Entry (6:00 am – 12:00 pm)
  • Machu Picchu Afternoon Tour Entry (12:00 pm – 17:30 pm)
  • Machu Picchu Mountain (Cerro Machu Picchu) Hiking Trail Entry Times
    • Option A (7:00 am – 8:00 am)
    • Option B (9:00 am – 10:00 am)
  • Huayna Picchu Mountain Hiking Trail Entry Times
    • Option A (7:00 am – 8:00 am)
    • Option B (10:00 am – 11:00 am)

For the ticketed trails (Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain), we usually recommend Option A (7:00 – 8:00 am) to ensure adequate time to fully explore Machu Picchu afterwards.

Switchback road near Inca ruins of Machu Picchu

Prohibited items at Machu Picchu include:

  • Tripods, supports or extensions for cameras or cell phones (including ‘selfie sticks’)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Musical instruments
  • Strollers (baby carriers are permitted)
  • Professional filming is only allowed with express prior authorization from the Culture Directorate of Cusco and Sernanp.
  • Metal-tipped poles (Machu Picchu approved rubber tips can be purchased in Cusco)
  • Tobacco, ‘vaping’ devices, and electronic cigarettes
  • Drones

At the entrance to Machu Picchu there’s a place for visitors to leave their any prohibited items they have inadvertently brought.

What else is banned at Machu Picchu?

Bad behavior such as taking artifacts, climbing on walls, paraglider flyovers, and feeding the local wildlife.

Wide angle shot of the Quarry at Machu Picchu in Peru

Thinking of visiting Machu Picchu? Download our Machu Picchu Guide.

LANDED provides personalized, custom travel within Central America, South America, and the Antarctic. We’ll create a unique itinerary plan tailored to your interests and dreams.

Experience the trip of a lifetime. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100.

“Few romances can ever surpass that of the granite citadel on top of the beetling precipices of Machu Picchu, the crown of Inca Land.”

-Hiram Bingham-

Uxua Casa & Hotel Trancoso, Brazil

Bob Shevlin is a true character.

In person, he’s the definition of cool: “cool doesn’t say much, but it knows what to say.” He’s a creative genius, but he’s humble and a little camera shy.

That’s why I’m posting a photo of his bull terrier, Zero. Happily, Bob was willing open up and offer he backstory to his unforgettable hotel in Trancoso, Bahia, Brazil.

We met Bob in 2015 at a conference in Switzerland, a few years after our first visit to Uxua. Seeing him for the first time, from across a hotel dining room, I remember thinking, “That guy knows more about fashion than all ever know.

Either that, or he’s um pouco louco.” (He also looks like he can benchpress multiples of his bodyweight.) By the time that conference ended, Bob had become one of our favorite people in the hotel biz.

Bob and his business partner, Wilbert Das, are known worldwide for their sense of style and artistry. They also deserve much of the credit for preserving the essence of Trancoso, helping locals understand how special their community is, while earning fair value for their increasingly rare craftsmanship and skill.

If you’ve never been to Trancoso, put it on your list near the top. If you want to enjoy it to the fullest, stay at Uxua.

Back to Zero for a minute. This gentle bully is a local legend. We borrowed him during our 2018 invasion of Casa Anderson. He made my kids’ day. Sure, he bit my arm and I had to drag him down the beach, but he also helped us feel right at home.

Trancoso, we miss you.

Show Notes

If you’d like to learn more about Uxua’s local artisans, check out Uxua Casa. Sure, a that custom chair might take a year to make, but it will be worth the wait.