Leonardo Dicaprio can buy pretty much anything he wants, since he has millions of bucks in the bank – but did he splash some of this money on his own private island?
Leonardo Dicaprio owns an island off the coast of Belize, called Blackadore Caye. He reportedly spent $1.75 million to buy this property alongside his business partner Jeff Gram, and is intending to open an eco-friendly resort on the premises.
Buying His Own Island
According to Forbes, Leonardo Dicaprio cashed out $1.75 million on his private island back in 2005. It caught his eye while he was on a vacation at a luxury resort Cayo Espanto one year earlier, and described it as “heaven on earth” while chatting with The New York Times.
The Titanic actor joined forces with Cayo Espanto owner Jeff Gram, after finding the opportunity to buy his own island in Belize. This investment cost them $1.75 million, and they got 104 acres of wild, unpopulated land in return. Dicaprio left the island be for an entire decade, but shared his plans to transform it into an eco-conscious resort in 2015.
The New York Times reported that Blackadore Caye has been used for hundreds of years, but it suffered from overfishing, littering, the deforestation, and an eroding coastline. Dicaprio and his partners didn’t simply want to transform it into a luxury resort – their main goal was to solve these problems by making a “restorative” and self-sufficient island.
Dicaprio’s Vision for Blackadore Caye
Leonardo Dicaprio’s idea to transform Blackadore Caye into an eco-resort was extensively covered in a 2015 article published by The New York Times. It was reported that he employed a team of designers, scientists, engineers and landscape architects to bring his vision to life, because he wanted his island to be a model for the future.
“The main focus is to do something that will change the world. 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 ground-breaking in the environmental movement” explained Dicaprio.
The New York Times also reported that Blackadore Caye will include 68 resort villas and 48 private homes, ranging in price between $5 million to $15 million. In an attempt to rehabilitate the island’s ecosystem, the actor and his partners intended to introduce a massive platform with artificial reefs and fish shelters underneath, replant mangrove trees, grow indigenous marine grass, and have a team of scientists monitor the resort’s impact on the environment.
At the time of the publication of The New York Times articles, Dicaprio and his partners were planning to open Blackadore Caye to visitors in 2018. That plan didn’t come to fruition, and the world is still waiting for this eco-friendly resort to open its doors. Its official website describes it as “the world’s first truly restorative island development” and claims it’s “designed to increase the biological health of species on the island and in the waters around it.”
Facing the Critics
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of Hollywood’s most outspoken environmentalists, but many people have found his brand of climate change activism problematic. Like many A-list stars, the Oscar-winning actor is no stranger to hopping on private jets on his way to lavish destinations. He was repeatedly criticized for failing to reduce his own carbon footprint, and failing to recognize the negative impact that his own industry has on the environment.
His idea to open an eco-friendly resort also had its critics, starting with the Cornell School of Hotel Administration’s lecturer Jan H. Kantz, who expressed his opinion that the venture he’s proposing isn’t truly sustainable.
“If you really care about sustainability, instead of enlarging your carbon footprint by flying to a remote island and then creating the garbage that they need to compost, just give money to a conservation program,” Kantz told The New York Time.
Dicaprio clearly wasn’t affected by this criticism, and he’s still planning to open Blackadore Caye to the public, but we’re yet to find out when that’s going to happen.