Leonardo DiCaprio buys Island Blackadore Caye, an Island off the coast of Belize, with a partner and builds a Eco-Resort on the Island. Now DiCaprio has joined with Paul Scialla, the chief executive of Delos, a New York City-based developer, to create an eco-conscious resort there.
When it opens to guests in 2018, “Blackadore Caye, a Island will feature the trappings of many luxury resorts, with sprawling villas, infinity pools and stunning sunset views.
But the Restorative in the title refers not just to the impact the island might have on visitors, but to the island itself. Blackadore Caye has suffered from overfishing, an eroding coastline and the deforestation of its mangrove trees, and the partners mean to put it back to rights. Blackadore Caye is a 45-minute boat ride from Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City and a 15-minute boat ride from San Pedro
The island was a populair spot for fishermen, who would stop on their way to markets in Mexico and cut mangrove, using the wood for fires to smoke their catch and the conch that they took from the reef, littering the island with thousands of empty shells.
The villas for guests on Blackadore Caye will be built a top a massive platform that stretches in an arc over the water, with artificial reefs and fish shelters underneath. A nursery on the island will grow indigenous marine grass to support a manatee conservation area, and mangrove trees will be replanted, replacing invasive species. A team of designers, scientists, engineers and landscape architects, some of whom have spent more than 18 months studying Blackadore Caye, will monitor the resort’s impact on its surroundings.
“The main focus is to do something that will change the world,” Mr. DiCaprio said. “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.”
Mr. DiCaprio first visited Belize in 2005 to swim its barrier reef. “As soon as I got there, I fell in love,” Mr. DiCaprio said. “Belize is truly unique. It has the second largest coral reef system in the world, and it has some of the most biodiverse marine life, like the manatee population and almost every species of fish you can imagine. Then there are the Mayan temples and the culture.”
He bought Blackadore Caye for $1.75 million with Jeff Gram, the owner of Cayo Espanto Island Resort, a luxury vacation spot on another private island in Belize, where prices in April for two guests ranged from about $1,695 to $2,295 a night, according to its website. Mr. Gram said he would bring his experience in owning and operating island resorts to the new venture.I believe that it will be an incredible private island that will set the mark for all future island developments. Leonardo DiCaprio said it had taken him 10 years to find the right development partner.
Almost 45 percent of the island will be designated a conservation area. The resort will be built using as many native materials as possible, and the developers hope to rely on local laborers, who will be trained in green-building techniques.
As for the guests, guidelines will dictate what they can take with them to the resort. Plastic water bottles, for example, will not be allowed on the island. Once there, guests will go through an ecology orientation program.
Wellness programming will be part of a stay at Blackadore Caye. Mr. Chopra, founder of the Chopra Foundation for health and well-being, who also lives at 66 East 11th Street, will spearhead a program focused on health and anti-aging.
The 68 guest villas will have access to nearly a mile of secluded beach, grassland and jungle. Prices for a stay at the villas have not been announced. For those vacationers who prefer their own houses, 48 will be built on the island, with price tags ranging from $5 million to $15 million. Some of the houses will boast both a sunrise and a sunset beach, and homeowners will pay a monthly fee for housekeeping, meals and other service
Each building will have several functions, with the platform, for example, not only sheltering guests on top and coral and fish underneath, but also harnessing the breeze that comes off the water to keep the villas cool.