Actor Leonardo DiCaprio to open luxury eco-friendly resort on private island
Monday, April 6, 2015, 1:55 - Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has long-been known as something of an environmental activist, and now he's putting his money where his mouth is.
The Wolf of Wall Street actor is planning to transform, or "heal", an unpopulated island off the coast of Belize into a multimillion-dollar ecotourism resort, according to The New York Times.
DiCaprio bought the 104-acre Blackadore Caye for US$1.75 million with a partner after falling in love with the country a decade ago.
“It was like heaven on earth,” he told The New York Times in a telephone interview. “And almost immediately, I found this opportunity to purchase an island there.” The "Restorative Island" will feature all the trappings of a luxury resort, including sprawling villas and infinity pools.
DiCaprio hopes the eco-conscience resort will not only have an impact on visitors, but to the island itself. His aim is to reverse environmental damage from overfishing, deforestation and an eroding coastline.
“The main focus is to do something that will change the world,” 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 that it could be groundbreaking in the environmental movement.”
DiCaprio teamed up with Paul Scialla, of the New York firm Delos, for the development, which is set to open in 2018.
Guests of the island will be required to go through an ecology orientation, while a team of designers, scientists, engineers and landscape architects, some of whom have spent more than 18 months studying Blackadore Caye, will monitor the resort’s impact on its surroundings.
DiCaprio was named as a U.N. Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change in September, and addressed the U.N. Climate Change Summit.