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DiCaprio Unveils Eco Island Resort

DiCaprio is putting his money where his mouth is, building a multimillion dollar ecotourism resort designed to transform an island off the coast of Belize.

Published: 06th April 2015 11:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th April 2015 11:53 AM   |  A+A-

Leonardo-DiCaprio--climate-change-Reuters

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio takes part in a march against climate change in New York, September 21, 2014. (Reuters)

By DT

Leonardo DiCaprio has long been known as something of an environmental activist.

Now he is putting his money where his mouth is, building a multimillion dollar ecotourism resort designed to transform an island off the coast of Belize.

The actor, a keen scuba diver best known for roles in Titanic The Wolf of Wall Street and The Beach, bought the 104-acre Blackadore Caye almost a decade ago with a partner for $1.75?million (pounds 1.2?million) after falling in love with the country.

"It was like heaven on earth," he told The New York Times.

"And almost immediately, I found this opportunity to purchase an island there."

Now he has unveiled plans for a resort of sprawling villas and infinity pools from where a small number of wealthy guests can watch the sun set.

He has teamed up with Paul Scialla, of the New York firm Delos, for the development, which is to open in 2018.

DiCaprio's "Restorative Island" blueprint envisages villas set atop a platform arcing through the water, along with artificial reefs to protect marine life. Marine grass will be grown in a nursery to support a manatee conservation area and mangroves are to be replanted.

The aim is to reverse environmental damage from overfishing, deforestation and an eroding coastline. "The 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 it could be groundbreaking in the environmental movement."

The project will tap into the growing market for upmarket eco holidays. Guests will be put through an ecology orientation programme and plastic bottles will not be allowed on the island, located about 45 minutes by boat from Belize City.

That doesn't mean visitors won't be comfortable. The 68 guest villas will have access to a mile of secluded beach. Although prices have yet to be announced, some of the villas will be for sale at $15?million.

"The goal was to create something that wasn't contrived - a tiki hut or some image of a Hawaiian getaway - but rather the history of the place, the Mayan culture, with a more modern approach," said Jason McLennan, the lead architect and designer.

DiCaprio is developing a reputation as an outspoken defender of the natural world. Last year the United Nations appointed him climate change envoy and he is to produce documentaries about the environment for Netflix.

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