La Lancha: one of Coppola's favourite locations

Simplicity and rustic charm abound at La Lancha, on the banks of Guatemala's Lake Peten Itza, making this a favourite location with the resort owner, award-winning director, Francis Ford Coppola.

Of the three resorts owned by the great Hollywood director – the others are Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge, both in nearby Belize – La Lancha is his favourite. The resort is set in the rainforest above lake Peten Itza, Guatemala's second largest lake, and the ten guest casitas – little houses – are set apart from the main Lodge, allowing perfect privacy. As the names suggest, the Lakeview Casitas offer a full panoramic view of the Peten Itza, while the Rainforest Casitas have a view of the surrounding forest.

They are all decorated in bright colours with artwork and furniture from Bali together with fabrics and carvings from Guatemala, selected personally by the Coppola family. Each casita has its own secluded verandah, perfect for taking a relaxing siesta in one of the native hammocks or the comfortable rustic chairs. The toiletries in the well equipped bathrooms are locally-sourced and handmade, and each casita has wifi internet connection, fridge and air conditioning. 

Meals are taken at the main lodge in the open air under the shade of a thatched roof, with the sounds and sights of the rainforest as a backdrop. The bar is set above the restaurant, in the roof itself, giving unparalleled panoramic views. There are spectacular views from the split-level pool, too, and both the pool and the lake provide wonderful places to cool off and relax.

Kayaks and canoes are available for trips on the lake, whose waters are said to have rejuvenating powers. The rainforest, with its rich wildlife – toucans, howler monkeys and parakeets – offers a wonderful setting for horse-riding exploration. No doubt, though, the highlight of the visit is a trip to the extensive Tikal ruins, one of the archeological wonders of the world.

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La Lancha