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“Turneffe Flats and Diving”
Review of Turneffe Flats

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Turneffe Flats
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 16 December 2011

We went to Turneffe Flats to scuba dive the atoll (no fishing). From some reviews we read, we didn't have high expectations for the resort itself. I can say that TF was quite a wonderful surprise.The grounds are perfectly kept, there is a great deal of privacy in the lodging, and the 'great room' for dining, internet, etc. is the hub that connects all the guests and the staff. The owners were off-site during our stay - the managing couple ran the operation flawlessly.

The food really surpassed our expectations - quite the variety, excellent quality, and enough to satisfy everyone at every meal. Each guest picks their lunch in the evening, and it is sent off with the boats in the morning. Snacks and drinks are packed as well - it's a great system. During our stay, everyone 'swapped' shared tables several evenings so we could enjoy the diverse company. Many staff members dine with the guests, so your daily adventures can continue over a great meal.

We had the misfortune to have a tropical storm/pending hurricane affect the visibility, waves and accessibility of the usual dive sites for the bulk or our week- including one whole day spent hunkered with all the fishing guests in the great room. Even with these adverse conditions, we still found great sites to dive every day we hit the water. Lionfish have arrived; a portion of each dive time is spent eradicating these invasive fish. We were fortunate enough to bag a good number of larger specimens which were cooked up as an appetizer. They were simply delicious! It is best to have 6 or more divers on the resort, in order to support the use of the larger dive boat. The smaller boat is less sheltered and a bit tighter on space. We totaled 5 divers, and opted to pay a bit extra to cover the fuel to use the larger boat (due to the wind, waves, etc, it was far more comfortable). The dive staff took care of rinsing dive gear, set-up and changing tanks between dives - they did a perfect job and were careful with diver's gear.

What did we wish we knew before we went? Bring a few layers, a light jacket, or a T with long-sleeves. Even without the storm, the wind can be high and it gets chilly. If you can shop for wine in Belize City before catching the transfer boat, it can save you a few dollars if you drink quickly. Great wine is available at the lodge; not unreasonable prices but higher than packing your own.

Room Tip: Most all are on the beach - one garden villa.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Susan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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319 - 325 of 374 reviews

Reviewed 14 December 2011

In September I returned from my second trip to Turneffe Flats Resort and will soon be booking a return for 2012. I have fished from Alaska to Argentina and from Florida to Hawaii but I have never been to a more idyllic destination than Turneffe.

Located directly on the beautiful atoll flats with just remodeled cabanas looking out to sea from the palm trees, this is truly paradise. Offering the best saltwater fishing (spin or fly) for bonefish and permit anywhere with the addition of a reasonable chance for tarpon and a grand slam the fishing is unsurpassed.

Earlier I brought my wife who didn't care for the fishing but went daily on Turneffe's "Eco-Tours" to view wildlife above and below the water.

The scuba divers in our company ranted and raved every day regarding the variety and beauty of underwater sights in the area. Having scuba dived Turneffe myself several years ago I can attest to the fact that being located on the second largest barrier reef in the world this is clearly the best scuba diving available in the Northern Hemisphere.

The newly constructed swimming pool in front of the lodge with a negative edge looking out to sea is a wonderful and relaxing addition. A great place to relax with a cocktail before dinner after a day in the sun.

The family style dining with an emphasis on fresh and local fish and produce is outstanding. Lastly, you will not find a friendlier or more accommodating staff anywhere. From the expert guides who know precisely where the fish are and how to catch them to the maids that clean your room, everyone went out of their way to make our stay a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Ted S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 December 2011

This was my first trip to a destination lodge, so I was not entirely sure what to expect. I was very surprised at the level of quality and detail that TFL provides to make it a special trip for each individual at the lodge. My expectations on just about everything was exceeded – from the ride to and from Belize City on their 48 ft boat (although the ride back is slightly depressing) to the made-to-order lunches packed for each day. I went to TFL for the fishing. The quantity and diversity of fish that I was able to see in a week was incredible – to be able to cast to a Permit, Tarpon, and Bonefish within 50 yards of each other in November (which we did) can’t be beat. The guides are outstanding and at some point have developed wizard-like powers when it comes to spotting fish, very friendly and patient people. Along that same line, the owners and staff could not have been more accommodating. They really make you feel at home and are people you look forward to sharing a drink with at the end of your day. I will be returning to this place as opposed to trying out a different location next year.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Reeves C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 December 2011

If you are looking for an amazing fishing destination, THIS IS YOUR PLACE. Turneffe Atoll offers some of the most incredible Bone, Permit and Tarpon fishing in the world. The home flat in front of your cabana's offers non-stop fishing for tailing bonefish in the morning before breakfast and after your day on the boat. Not to mention my friend almost ruined his passport chasing a permit on the flat on our final evening. (we saw the fish tailing from our front porch while enjoying a beer). Fishing the rest of the atoll with our guide was even better. We had a massive cold front push through and hang around the week we were at the lodge making the fishing difficult. That said, our guide got us legit shots a permit everyday, most days we had multiple and we ended up catching a nice 25lb fish. The bonefishing is ridiculous, they're every where and typically willing to please. Our guide was great and new his stuff.

The lodge is incredible. The cabana's are great, air-conditioned, very modern, and beachfront. Everyday they were cleaned and the coffee machine re-loaded. The food was great and was all I needed. The staff and owners were wonderful. They were always making sure your stay was going well. Overall, its a great place to come fish and enjoy a very special place, Turneffe Atoll.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank cwebber6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2011

I've fished saltwater flats all over the world. This is some of the best, most diverse, unpressured flats oN the planet. It is one of the only places where you have a legitimate shot at a grand slam (bonefish, permit and tarpon). The owner, staff and guides are all friendly, accessible, and knowledgeable.

It may not be the easiest place to get to (1.5hr boat ride), but if you're looking for a pristine, remote vacation on the adventurous side, then this is perfect.

  • Stayed: August 2011
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2  Thank Drkeeney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2011

We arrived to Belize from Houston on a short 2 hour flight, boarded the "Flats" boat and arrived to our paradise destination 1 hour and a bit later. The customer service was incredible. Every person we interacted with was genuinely happy to have us and extremely knowledgeable about the Atoll and very proud to be part of the resort and it's ecologically sound approach to hosting divers and fisherman. We dined on scrumptous food and the resort life was relaxing and fun. Alex Edwards provided the most safe ane enjoyable dive experience I have ever experienced. We were on a large boat with 7-9 divers and 2-3 dive masters. We did 16 dives in 6 days including a night dive. We saw the best of Belize underwater. The attention to detail, from the great dive site selection to warm towels, to complete valet of our equipment was so luxurious. I felt like royalty the entire time I was there. We swam with Dolphins, saw whales, and checked most the critters in the carribean off our lists of finds for the week. Our teenage children enjoyed it just as much as my husband and I. The owner is the manager and I think that makes a huge difference in the customer focused service we experienced. Make yourself happy! Visit Turneffe Flats. They are also a part of the Atoll trust, view this link for more details... http://www.turneffeatoll.org/

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank Sallygohappy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2011

Really, the place is very nice. It's hard to say anything bad really, but we just didn't like it very much. We rely on tripadvisor so much (that's how we picked this place), so I thought I should write an honest review. We went there to snorkel on the Atoll Adventure, and while the snorkeling around the reef was truly amazing (NOT off the beach) we didn't enjoy the resort. Met some nice people though, so that was good.

Rooms:
The rooms have recently been remodeled and are very nice. Rooms are right on the water in duplexes and have really nice balconies on the front. The balconies are shared and there is little privacy, so expect to have your curtains drawn if you don't want people seeing you. Shower choice temps were either scaliding or cold.

Staff:
SUPER nice. Really awesome people. Absolutely no complaints about the people working here. If you go, take some time to get to know a few of them. It's great. Great dogs there too. <3 them.

Food:
We didn't like the food. I think it tries to be upmarket because people don't want to pay high prices for chicken and rice. But we prefer more local types of food, so weren't real impressed. If you're a big eater, you may be disappointed with the portions. I wasn't, but I could see how someone could be. Every single meal you eat with a large group. We met some nice people, which was awesome, but in the end we did not have a single dinner conversation of our own. Not great for couples unless you really like focusing your energy on other people. It gets tiring.

Lodge:
The pool was very nice and pretty much the only thing to do at the resort as there is not a lot of beach to speak of. You can swim off their beach, but the bottom is mostly covered with sea grass. The part with sand is right next to the dock. All meals are served in the main enclosed lodge building. We were disappointed to have all our meals in an air conditioned room. I think a lot of people prefer this, but we didn't. Open air is more our thing. But with the wind, it was probably best. This place is windy. My impression is that it is ALWAYS windy, so keep that in mind. It keeps the bugs away, but can get annoying.

Overall:
Best snorkeling we've done, but we like to snorkel off the beach and that is NOT happening here. You have to take a 20-30 minute boat ride to almost every place you go. The place is obviously geared toward fishermen, so keep that in mind if you are going for anything else. There were no divers on our trip, so we can't speak to that. Because there were no divers, we were not taken on the Blue Hole snorkeling trip. We were bummed. Keep this in mind also. If you are going for a couples getaway, this probably isn't your place. Pretty much all your time will be spent with other people and there is little opportunity to get "alone time" unless you just actively ignore the people around you. Would be GREAT if you were with a large group of friends who were interested in doing the same thing as you.

One last thing... on the Atoll Adventure, you do "what the group wants". "The group" is anyone who signed up for the Atoll Adventure. That means if there are people who are unmotivated to do things or don't want to go far, you won't either. Cross your fingers you get like minded people on your trip.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank shollster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Turneffe Flats

Address: Turneffe Atoll, Turneffe Island, Belize
Phone Number:
Region: Belize > Belize Cayes > Turneffe Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Price Range: £288 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Be Pampered in Paradise! Turneffe Flats has long been recognized as one of Belize's premier saltwater fly fishing, SCUBA diving and marine eco-tourism destinations. Located on the incredibly beautiful Turneffe Atoll, we specialize in superior service for a limited number of guests. Awaken in your air-conditioned beachfront cabana to a tropical Caribbean seascape, expansive bonefish flats, and surf breaking over the reef. We are ideally located to enjoy Turneffe's 250 square miles of world-class fishing flats, coral reefs and rich marine life. At Turneffe Flats we offer guests unparalleled guiding and service, along with the freedom to fish and dive the entire Turneffe Atoll at the best sites. Additionally, our unique Atoll Adventure program is a fantastic option for families and couples. This renowned program offers daily guided snorkeling, wildlife sightseeing, and eco-tours that are both fun and educational for everyone! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Turneffe Flats Hotel Turneffe Islands
Turneffe Flats Islands
Turneffe Flats Hotel Islands

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