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“You Want To Dive In Belize, This Is The Place To Go”
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 February 2012

My wife and I do two scuba dive trips a year at different locations. This year, Belize was our destination. Our travel agent, who specializes in dive resorts, recommended Turneffe Flats. This resort caters to dives and anglers on the hunt for bone fish. The week we were there we were the only divers. Everyone else was fishing. If you have never hung out with fly fisherman, they are a great group of people. Even though we were the only divers, the dive boat captain (Capt) and the dive master (Alex) showed us a great week and cut no corners. The diving was spectacular. Alex went out of his way to be a great guide. In over ten years of scuba diving I found him to be the most knowledgeable and informative dive master and underwater guild I have ever had. He has an underwater board that he constantly communicates with you on. He knows his stuff.... and has a great scene of humor.

The rooms were great. You are right on the water with a view that is unbelievable. The food and dining experience is great. The food was unbelievably good. We looked forward to the hors d'oeuvres and social time before dinner. You eat with the staff and other guest and they are a great group with ample conversation.

We never return to the same resort.... there are just so many places to go. However, we may go back to this one.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Chuck W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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326 - 332 of 389 reviews

Reviewed 8 February 2012

We just returned from a great time at Turneffe Flats. Caught lots of bonefish, ate delicious food and slept like babies. This place runs like a well-oiled machine. Everything is taken care of, just show up and relax. The guides are amazing. For guests who do not fish or scuba dive, there are daily trips available for snorkelling and manatee watching or simply hanging around at the pool or the beach. I can't say enough nice things about the owners. Great time.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank mngirl1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2012

The staff at Turneffe Flats was world class. All the way from the guides, chefs, and housekeeping. The facilities were immaculate and you were steps away from casting to bone fish from your bungalo. We were there to fish, and that we did. But, the lodge caters to divers and eco-tourists as well. There seemed to be an endless supply of flats to fish. All sightly diffent and loaded with bone fish. I impressed with their equipment as well. All of it seemed to be latest models and in excellent shape. Shuttles are provide to and from the airport and abolutely everything is taken care of for you. Very relaxing. Check it out, www.tflats.com

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Kevin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

Turneffe Flats is simply a relaxing epic adventure. For the angler, diver, and naturalist it is the ideal location to immerse oneself in the Belize Atoll experience. My wife and I recently returned from a one week stay there just before Christmas. To go into great detail about how wonderful this place is could easily take hours so I will do my best to keep this brief without cheating you. First of all if the all-inclusive, coastal resort with hundreds of people on the beach and in the all day buffet line, crowded snorkeling/dive sites, and fishing on a big boat with 10 other people tangling lines is your idea of a vacation in Belize then Turneffe Flats(TF) is not for you. However if you seek to relax and explore in one of the true gems of the natural world with a relatively small group of interesting, fun people who will be new friends at the end of the week, look no further than here. TF is primarily a fishing destination of world class caliber. But that is not all that one can find here. They also run a full service dive operation that makes the rounds to all the ‘must see’ diving sites in the Turneffe Islands including the Blue Hole if weather permits. And for the person who simply wants to explore and see the natural wonders of this place there is the Atoll Adventure program.
Between my wife and I we dabbled in a little of everything as we are both anglers and avid lovers of nature. I spent considerable time diving well. As far as accommodations go one could not ask for better on such a small scale. Most of the guests stay in beach front cabanas which my wife and I did. The very first morning I awoke early and waded onto the flat right out my front door and within minutes hooked into my first bonefish ever that ran me into the backing. I hadn’t even had breakfast yet!

Some basic things you should know: Turneffe Flats is a small piece of civilization in the middle of an Atoll Wilderness. There are biting insects which are around daily unless there is a stiff breeze-mostly mosquitoes and sand fleas. Horse flies show up on occasion and draw blood. If you forget it they sell insect repellant in the gift shop. Personally I never travel anywhere like this without my 3M Ultrathon. You put it on, it lasts 12 hours and is odorless. Don’t forget sunscreen. Also once you get to Turneffe you are there-the boat to Belize City only makes transfers on Saturdays and Wednesdays. While they do rent most of what you need to fish, dive, and snorkel supply services are limited. Be sure you know what you will need to rent/buy there and bring all the little but important things-meds, spare batteries, chargers, etc. All electrical outlets are 110 volt so your US stuff will work.
The fishing? Its one of the best angling experiences I’ve ever had. The fishery is world class and when you combine that with the exotic locale it is to the angler what Africa is to the hunter. Of course there are the big 3-bonefish, permit, and tarpon. Then there are barracudas and other myriad species-various snapper, triggerfish, to name a few and they are fun to catch. We only fished two full days with a guide so my chances at the big 3 was highly limited and it also was not the prime time to be fishing for tarpon. That being said my wife and I both caught our first bones and tied into several more-even in a driving rainstorm. I had two shots at permit but they snubbed me. I tie my own flies and had more than I needed for bonefish and permit. If you are not the tying sort there is a full service fly shop at the lodge. You can bring your own gear or rent their’s. I had best results with bitters, gotchas, and crazy charlies( in white and chartreuse). If you do tie be sure you tie your flies with a heavy monofilament weed guard-I didn’t and consequently hung up in the prolific turtle grass quite a bit. I got by but weed guards would have been nice. Flats shoes are a must and they do rent these at the lodge. I bought my own and while they held up good there were plenty of gouge marks on the soles from the sharp coral which covers the flats. You need a shoe that will protect your ankles and feet otherwise you will be a bloody mess in minutes of walking. All one need do is look at their guide’s flats shoes to see why they are required foot gear-they go through a pair every few months. The coral is brutal on them. I fished a 7 WT for bones using a 9WT on windy days and on stand-by if permit were sighted. I do put one weight line up from the rod to help with casting and beating wind(i.e 8WT line on a 7 WT rod). Bonefish on a 7 WT is the ticket. You really get intimate with them that way. Also if you have paid for a fishing package you can wade fish the flat out front of the lodge. The fish are always there. Also if you or your spouse is not a fly fisherman or get frustrated with the challenges unique to saltwater fly fishing they do provide spinning tackle for rent. Relax, have fun, listen to your guide and you will have the fishing experience of a lifetime. Dubs is the man!
The diving is the best I’ve ever done in the Carribbean-forget Mexico. We dived in depths from 60 to 100 feet. There are spectacular wall dives showcasing all the standard reef fish, lots of grouper and one big amberjack. Visibility was 75 to 100 feet most days. We had rough water one of the three days I went out. Some of the marine life highlights were big eagle rays, green morays, green sea turtles, and huge crabs. A wet suit is adviseable simply for protection if nothing else but there were days where some folks got a bit chilly getting back on the boat. I wore a 3mm as did most other divers. A few dived in shorts and tshirts. They rent everything you need to dive to include mask, fins, snorkel, BC, Regs, weights, and computers. They do not rent wetsuits, cameras, knives, etc. I brought all of my own gear except for the BC as that reduced bulk for me in packing. There are towels provided on the boat. I recommend a dry bag for anything you don’t want to get wet. The dive staff is great. Alex Edwards, the dive master, gives a good brief before every dive and keeps good watch over his divers. Just follow him once underwater and you will see a lot of cool stuff. We never had more than 8 divers on the boat so that made for a great experience. Most dives are drift dives so when you’re ready to come up, the boat comes to you. Cap and Kimbral rounded out our dive crew. While Cap gets the boat to you Kimbral is there ready and waiting to grab your weights and fins. Safe and fun is how Alex operates. We did three dives a day with the last dive being a shallow one(40-60 ft.). Day one is dive checkout day and 60 feet is the max. depth that day. Alex uses this day to assess everybody and work out any issues anyone has.
Atoll Adventure! There is perhaps no better way to learn about and experience the natural wonders of Turneffe than while on the Atoll Adventure boat with first class nature guide Abel. The way atoll adventure works is there are a host of options the group can choose from to go explore on any given day. Depending on the weather, the group decides what they will do each day and while it may sound like a voting situation with somebody losing out that is not the case at all. Everyone is usually pretty agreeable. Abel knows the best spots to snorkel throughout Turneffe and the snorkeling is fantastic. He also knows where to find the atolls wildlife wherever it lives. In one day we snorkeled, went dolphin and manatee spotting, and finished up by viewing crocodiles in a hidden lagoon. Do not be too worried as these are not the same as the African/Australian variety. More like alligators, if you leave them alone they leave you alone. Abel carries a good pair of binoculars on board. If you are a birder Abel
is very knowledgeable and accommodating in putting you on the variety of birds that live in the mangrove/reef habitat
Under the water, Abel swims like a fish and knows just where to look for and find sea creatures that are safe to touch and can be held in your hand! Diving down 15 or 20 feet, Abel looks under coral and will point out lion fish, toad fish and many other beautiful fish that their colors just glow!
Meals are served in the lodge three times a day. The food is all good combing variety with local flavor. Lobster and BBQ ribs were the highlights for me. While they do serve lunch in the lodge most guests have a ‘to-go’ lunch prepared for them as they are out and about for most of the day. The lunches do not disappoint. I ate the best ham and cheese wraps I think I ever had for lunch every day with a dash of Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce(Good Stuff-locally made in Belize). The courteous, friendly staff takes your order for lunch every evening and it is ready to go on whichever boat you happened to be headed out on in the morning. A word of caution-if for whatever reason you change your mind about what you are doing last minute(I went diving instead of the Atoll Adventure one day) let the staff know as your lunch may not make it out with you. They will bend over backwards to make sure you are taken care of.
There is also a full service bar in the lodge where all guests gather before dinner every evening to share stories and visit. This is one of the best parts of the day. Be sure to enjoy a cold Belikin or glass of Belize’s 1 Barrel Rum on the rocks –that’s my recommendation. Most folks retire not long after dinner as another full day awaits everybody and the Turneffe sun can take it out of you. My wife and I simply couldn’t get enough of the place and enjoyed many moonlight walks on the beach with headlamps spotlighting various crabs, iguanas, and other creatures of the night that come out.
A word about tipping-be sure to budget for this and do the best you can afford. There are recommendations on the website about what is appropriate but let me say this-The Belizean people are wonderful, friendly, and professional people. They want your experience to be the best possible and never have I seen folks work harder to give one a quality experience not once making you feel like you owe them anything. By the end of the week you feel as if they are your friends. When it was time to go home I felt like I couldn’t tip them enough. Do the right thing!
The worst part about a trip to Turneffe Flats is leaving. While everyone on the boat is friendly and conversational one can tell there is a certain let-down sinking in. After such an exceptionally fun week this is inevitable. But the memories one returns home with are priceless. Most of the conversations my wife and I had on the plane home revolved around when we would return. For the money one pays to go here the return is a truly valuable experience.

Room Tip: Beach front cabana's have the best view
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank MTAngler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2012

This was my first saltwater flyfishing experience. I was joined by a fishing buddy who has been there twice already. Tureneffe Flats is EXCELLENT! The accomodations, the food, the Belikin beer, the service, the setting, the guides (we had Mike), and oh yea, the bonefishing are superb. I landed 30 bonefish in 6 days, but the most memorable ones are the ones-that-got-away. I have been home a week and I still miss the sound of the fly line zinging off of the reel.

Check-out their www.tflats.com web site. It should answer all of your questions.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Tom_Knight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2012

My husband and I just got home from Turneffe Flats resort, on a scouting trip as a place for our Tropical Marine Ecology group to explore. We looked at some snorkel and dive sites, the resort facility, and various habitats to study in the area, and are now planning a return trip! We were taken with the quality of the resort, great food, and friendly, knowledgeable owners and staff. We saw spotted eagle rays on most dives, sea turtles, healthy flexible coral, and some repopulating hard corals. And, we counted at least 118 different fish over 6 days, took lots of pictures, and can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: All rooms have A/C and private bath; we were seaside in a cottage and loved it.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 300kathyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2012

The resort was recommended to me by the the owner of our local Fly Fishing Shop, Jeff Perrin of the Fly Fisher's place and I could not be more pleased with the results. The trip was a 40th Birthday present to myself, and as I love to fish this was a fabulous option. The challenge was that my wife does not enjoy fishing, and for a week long trip we needed a place where we would both have fun. Turneffe Flats was just that.
I fished for 6 days with Michael, and awesome guide that has great location knowledge as well as an amazing ability to find and stalk the elusive saltwater species I was after. We were into fish every day, and Michael was always willing to pick up and run somewhere else to try other species etc..
While I was having a fantastic time fishing, my wife was on the Island Adventure package as neither of us dive. She had a fantastic time during the week with Abel, the adventure package guide, snorkeling, searching for Crocs\manatees\rays and generally exploring the wonders of the Atoll.
We both enjoyed our time at the resort, with an enjoyable staff that went out of their way to cater to the needs of varied groups during the week.

We'll be back...

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank wade u
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: £272 (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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