Francis Ford Coppola is no stranger to trilogies, and good ones at that. The Godfather series was probably the best in film history, so it’s no surprise that the three resorts that the director owns in Central America, as part of The Family Coppola Hideaways are the very best in the region.
Having previously visited Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize, we ventured onwards for a few hours over the border in to Guatemala to the last of the three – La Lancha which also happens to be Francis’s personal favourite.
A few hours over some very bumpy roads takes us down from the Mayan Mountains and in to the lowland jungle. The whole area is home to many significant Mayan sites, the most important of these being the magnificent Tikal.
This is the epicenter of Maya spirituality comprising more than 3,000 structures, covering 16 km2 and may have had a population of up to 90,000. It is hugely evocative – spread through the jungle, moss clings to the steps of ancient plazas and temples poke through the forest canopy.
La Lancha is set above the shores of Lago Petén Itzá and is our favourite place to stay for a Tikal visit. In an area where many of the alternative hotels are dominated by international tour groups, it is refreshingly small, secluded and peaceful.
We are relieved to arrive after the long drive and are welcomed with a chilled juice and refreshing face cloth, in to the main building. This is a large, open-air thatched pavilion lit by twinkling candles – there is an atmospheric bar, plenty of comfy sofas and candle-lit tables in the restaurant area. As usual for a Coppola resort, the food is wonderful as well as being largely organic and ethically sourced.
Connected by stone paths that snakes through the forest there are just ten casita rooms, each decorated with furniture, fabrics, and carvings from local Guatemalan artisans personally selected by the Coppola family. Outside each there is a covered deck with hammocks and chairs ideal for an afternoon nap.
We particularly recommend the Lakeview Suites – each having stunning views over Lago Petén Itzá. The master bedroom has a king bed, there is a full bathroom, separate generous size living room with sleeper sofa and wet bar, a second half bathroom and an expansive covered deck with hammock and chairs.
Across the lake, the ancient island capital of the Itzá tribe, Tayasal, now lies under the cobbled streets and colonial buildings of modern day Flores. As well as the spectacular Tikal, many other Mayan sites can be visited by day tour whilst the neighbouring forest lends itself to a wide range of activities and adventure options such as an aerial walkway, zip line, horseback riding or jungle trail.
All three of the Central American Coppola Hideaways can be enjoyed individually but also work well together in a linked tour, with transport bookable via the hotels.
For more information visit La Lancha
For information on all of the resorts visit The Family Coppola Hideaways
To read our ‘Conversation’ with Francis Ford Coppola visit here
To purchase a copy of Francis Ford Coppola: Interviews visit here
CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of La Lancha.