Leonardo DiCaprio to Build Eco-Resort in Belize

Actor hopes to restore embattled island

Apr 6, 2015
Outside Magazine
60. Berlinale

Leonardo DiCaprio's project on Blackadore Caye will set aside 45 percent of the island for conservation.    Wikimedia Commons

Oscar-nominated actor Leonardo DiCaprio has announced plans to build an eco-conscious resort on a tiny island off the coast of Belize, according to a Monday press release from real estate firm Delos.

In partnership with Delos, DiCaprio’s venture will establish 68 guest villas and 48 private houses on Blackadore Caye, a tiny island 45 minutes by boat from Belize City. In addition to setting aside 45 percent of the island for conservation, the project’s directors say they intend to restore what they describe as an ecological treasure that has suffered from overfishing, deforestation, and an eroding coastline.

Though the amenities planned for Blackadore Caye fit the description for luxury hospitality—guests will have access to three restaurants, a private beach, and a spa and wellness center—developers say the resort will follow and, in fact, innovate in eco-hospitality. 

“My goal was always the fact that I wanted to create something not just environmental, but restorative,” Mr. DiCaprio told the New York Times. “I couldn’t have gone to Belize and built on an island and done something like this if it weren’t for the idea that it could be groundbreaking in the environmental movement.”

In addition to constructing the guest lodgings according to the Living Building Challenge, which the press release calls “the world’s most stringent and progressive green building certification,” designers envision a nursery on the island to support a manatee conservation area, as well as an ambitious mangrove replanting plan and construction of an artificial reef to slow and reverse erosion. Guests will be asked to follow a set of guidelines for what they can take to the resort (plastic bottles are out) and will go through an ecology orientation program once they arrive.

The resort in Belize is not the first time DiCaprio has given attention or money to environmental efforts. In addition to donating $1 million to the Wildlife Conservation Society, according to the BBC, the actor is on the board of the World Wildlife Fund. He was also an early investor in Delos, according to the Times, having purchased an apartment in the firm’s development at 66 East 11th Street in New York City.

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