Leonardo DiCaprio has a reputation for being very passionate about the environment and trying to help improve the way we approach climate change, even receiving the title of Messenger of Peace by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. So it is no surprise that the actor has decided to take on building a resort that focuses on eco-tourism.
This project came about after the Oscar-nominated actor fell in love with the natural beauty of Belize and subsequently acquired a small island just off the coast. Blackadore Caye is made up of 104 acres of lush, unpopulated land and was purchased by DiCaprio and Jeff Gram for $1.75 million. Their plans for the property is to restore and educate the public on preserving the environment.
According to a New York Times article, a major part of DiCaprio’s plan in restoring the island is to use as much native materials during the construction process as possible, as well as hiring and training locals to use green building techniques. They will also be implementing strict rules on what guest are allowed to bring with them, so items like plastic water bottles would be prohibited. He also wants to incorporate an educational aspect for each guest who stays at the resort, where they will have to go through an environmental orientation class after checking-in.
This could be the first luxury resort of it’s kind to abide by the Living Building Challenge, which is essentially a set of very strict environmental rules requiring water and energy self-sufficiency. The Living Building Challenge also stats that 45 percent of the island will be kept as conservation land, and is not to be disturbed by the resort.
While many people are intrigued by the concept of eco-tourism, there are many who wholeheartedly disagree with it. Most of the opposition stand by the argument that the fuel alone used to travel to the resort would do more harm than good. Others argue that with the amount of money a guest would have to pay to stay there (estimated cost has yet to be disclosed), they should just donate the money to a conservation group.
Coldwell Banker Ambergris Caye Newsroom stated in a press release that the efforts and attempts by DiCaprio to preserve mother nature and promote sustainable living is actually a win-win for real estate investors and hoteliers. This project is slated to open in 2018, with 68 villas, 48 homes, and a private clubhouse.