We know that to enjoy nature, nature must be preserved. That’s why sustainability is the guiding principle of operating Black Rock Lodge. Our efforts arise from a deep passion for conserving our stunning natural surroundings. We want our lodge to not simply exist in harmony with the land, but to nourish and regenerate it.
Any hotel can call themselves eco-friendly, so we look beyond traditional conservation techniques like low energy bulbs or curbing towel usage, and focus on reducing our carbon footprint through a more holistic operation. To accomplish this, we’ve implemented the most advanced systems of electricity generation, wastewater treatment, waste reduction, resource generation, and recycling.
Conservation is key in order to continue enjoying our natural resources and breathtaking location. Our love for Black Rock Lodge’s privileged location encourages us to make a very small, gentle footprint and make sure our enjoyment of this natural wonderland is not polluted by our presence. We invite you to participate in our mission to experience the wonder of wilderness without having a negative impact on it.
Black Rock Lodge is a fully off-the-grid property, meaning we source none of our power from an electrical utility service. We rely on clean and renewable energy: through both solar (about 30% of supply) and hydro (about 70% of supply) power, we are able to significantly lower our carbon emissions output. We also know the value of allowing the rainforest to thrive: in the 1990s, the Lodge had been cleared as horse pasture. Since 2007, we have been carefully reforesting the 30 acres of land the Lodge sits on as we move toward being a fully carbon-neutral property.
Different contaminants and nutrients could pollute waterways and/or groundwater, so we’ve developed a highly effective system to prevent this from happening. The system is Natural, Biological, and Chemical: essentially it emulates natural wetlands. While most technologies degrade over time, our system becomes more effective as it ages, requiring no input of energy or chemicals. This also creates an ideal habitat for plants and animals. We can sleep well knowing we are doing all we can to prevent contamination from the operation of our lodge!
One of the biggest gifts our jungle location gives us is an unlimited drinking supply of the purest, spring-fed water. This is the very same water that comes from the mountain spring helping to power the lodge! We recognize the privilege of having access to this resource and that it should not be abused. Installing low-flow shower heads and low-flush toilets reduces consumption of this precious water, and we encourage guests to conserve even more water from their faucets and showers. Our staff takes additional measures to reduce water consumption from dish washing and lodge laundry.
We started our goat farm with one little goat—Barney—in 2015. Gabi followed, and now our herd has grown to 26! We invite guests to come and interact with our goats and chickens. Our goats are friendly and guests—especially with children—are welcome to a Goat Milking session and help us to collect our fresh eggs in the morning. With these animals onsite, we make our own yogurt and cheese, continuously training our kitchen staff on these artisanal skills.
FROM THE ORGANIC FARM
During your stay at Black Rock, you’ll experience firsthand what it’s like to live off an organic farm. Guests can explore our onsite farm and interact with the animals to get a sense of where their food is coming from and how everything works together to create symbiosis. Our farm-to-table restaurant serves delicious meals that are created with many of the fruits and vegetables grown organically throughout the property. Every day, our farm staff harvests whatever is in season and our kitchen incorporates these fresh ingredients into daily recipes.
Composting is key to reducing our trash waste and has the added benefit of providing the lodge with chemical and fossil-free fertilizer.
We create our own compost with a mixture of alternating layers of leaves (raked from around the lodge), vegetable waste (from the kitchen), and manure (from the goats). Approximately every two weeks, we turn the compost heap. After about six to eight weeks, when everything has broken down into a semi-uniform black soil, we use it to fertilize our plants and trees.
The plants love it and, of course, there’s the added benefit of home grown organically produced fruits and vegetables for our guests and staff. This is the best way of producing fresh, clean, and delicious food and giving back to the land we borrow from. It also cuts down on emissions from transporting food.
Take your pick of fresh fruit from over 100 banana and plantain trees, several varieties of mango trees, an orchard of orange and lime trees, a grove of coconut palms, tamarind trees, and so much more! In addition, we also grow sugar cane, and harvest from our gooseberry bushes and pineapple plants. Need a morning pick-me-up? We cultivate a small coffee plantation for our daily brew.
Sustainability and ecotourism are in large part about environmental conservation. But it’s also about sustaining the local culture and people. Black Rock Lodge is committed to fostering goodwill and empowering our local communities. Our staff is made up of locals who know and love this area. We work with local organizations and run a Belizean Kids camp (The Bush Medicine Camp) every summer as a way to be connected to the pulse of the community.
Supporting the long-term ecological balance of our habitat is at the heart of our mission. We give sustainability tours to guests who are interested in learning about the intricacies of our programs and seeing first-hand the work we do. Black Rock Lodge is a leader in sustainability in Belize and we hope to set a stellar example for other hotels and operators in the region.
These are the organizations we have helped fund and support over the past years.
Pack for a purpose
We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the projects we support in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects.