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“good for the soul”
Review of Turneffe Flats

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Turneffe Flats
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 30 August 2008

A week at Turneff Flats is good for the soul. Between the warm and welcoming owners, Craig and Karen, who make you feel like your are their personal guests, the friendly and efficient staff and a cabin on the beach with a perfect view of the sunrise, I felt relaxed after one day. (It usually takes several days to “de-stress.”)

The most jarring part of the day is the boat ride to some of the dive sites. Since my husband and I are both scuba instructors, we chose the Dive Package and spent many happy hours underwater. The dive staff was professional and, with only four divers on the boat most of the time, we were close to spoiled. We spent time in the evenings sharing the day’s adventures with other guests. Whether people were there for the bonefishing, the diving or the ecco tours, everyone was having a great time.

When time and money allow, I’d love to return.

By the way: We ended up at Turneff Flats quite by accident. We had originally reserved a week at Turneff Lodge to celebrate our anniversary. Several weeks later, after giving them our deposit and our plane tickets were purchased, we were inforned that they would be CLOSED that week and that we would need to reschedule. We explained that we already had our plane tickets and that another week would not be our anniversary. We were offered an upgrade to a better room; we said again that we had chosen the week specifically because it was our anniversary. We asked them to help us find another place for the week we wanted. We were initially informed that they were “not a travel agency.” When they finally agreed to at least send a list of possible places, they were all on the mainland and clearly not what we asked for. So after an internet search, we found Turneff Flats by ourselves.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank lapintura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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349 - 355 of 363 reviews

Reviewed 8 July 2008

For a nature vacation, Turnffe Flats is the best.
You could see Manitees, Crocidiles, Porpose's, Turtle's and all manner of bird life. For the fisherman, you have a good shot at a flats grand slam.
The service and helpfullness of staff and equipment is all first
class. If you love the outdoors, you can't pass this place up..
Find out what it means to be ' Pampered in Paradise'
My wife and I redid our wedding vows there on our 35th anniversary, and they put on a wonderful wedding.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank hwellsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2008

We selected Turneffe Flats because of its location-- close to great diving spots on Turneffe Atoll, its focus on SCUBA diving and fishing, its small program-- there are 12 guest rooms and 2 villas-, its web site presentation, and high quality reputation. The resort is very remote-- it takes a 1- 1/2 hour boat ride from Belize City to get to the location on the seaward side of Turneffe Atoll, 36 miles from the Princess Hotel Dock. Once there, guests either dive, fish, or do the Atoll Adventure daily, which is snorkeling and visiting the beach and mangrove environments. You can also go there and do a lot of reading on the beach if that's your way to relax.
Our diving trip exceeded expectations. We made 12 dives in 4 days ( we stayed less than a full week because of our needs ), visiting many reefs, walls, and other exceptional dive spots located around the atoll, 20- 40 minutes by boat from the resort dock. We were offered a PADI specialty diving course in use of NITROX during our dives, which we took, ( and passed ) and were very satisfied with the level of instruction.
One day we dove at the Blue Hole, which is part of the weekly rotation of dives-- cancelled only when the weather is bad. The boat trip from Turneffe to Lighthouse Reef took a little over an hour-- much closer than from Ambergris Caye or Belize City. The sea was rough-- it was good to be so close. This was an exciting and technically difficult dive. Our divemaster and boat crew handled the whole operation professionally-- we felt safe and well prepared for the very deep dive with sharks and large marine life around. We also visited spectacular Half Moon Caye, and made two more wall dives that day that were 10/ 10.
Once we gave our dive gear to the diving staff when we arrived we never touched it again. They took care of all daily washing, drying, and overnight storage of our dive gear after each day. The only pre- dive work for us was to check our NITROX supply- as required by PADI diving safety rules. We had a max of 5 divers and a divemaster on the boat during our week. There was always a boat captain to help with getting into the water and to take care of the boat while were diving. The dive program felt custom and personal-- the farthest thing from a large "cattle boat" experience. We got to know the dive and boat staff well. We felt like we learned a lot about Belezean culture from these positive interactions with great people.
Our stay at the resort was very pleasant. The accomodations are simple but comfortable. The rooms are attractively finished with hardwoods and tile floors. Basic resources such as fresh water and electricity are in short but adequate supply. Our room air conditioner worked well and we were comfortable every night. We could hear the surf on the reef just outside our door. The room was always spotlessly clean. The shower was great with adequate hot water after a long day underwater. We went to bed early and each day started early with a walk on the beach and a great breakfast. We typically were on the dive boat by 8 AM and back around 4. each afternoon. We had one night dive during the week as well.
The bar and dining room are attractive and the dining is family style at large tables. We met new people that way. We had hors d'oeurves each night with cocktails and dinners were very good. The bar is full service with a nightly drink special and featured wine. Cold Belikin is in plentiful supply. The drinks are a little pricey but considering where you are the prices are fair. The dining room and bar service was friendly and efficient.
We did not fish but the fishermen were having a great time chasing Permit, Bonefish, and Tarpon.
Bottom line:
PRO's: Great diving, exceptional staff, good equipment, close to magnificent reefs, small intimate resort and dive program, professionally run, comfortable accomodations. Good food. Very relaxing. No phones. Intimately connected to marine/ reef / atoll environment- a true eco- resort. Great value for the cost.
CONS: Isolation. Single focus on diving or fishing. There is little else to do other than dive or fish. Communication with outside is difficult. You miss all other parts of Belize. There is satellite internet but it is very slow and there is only one lap top available.
( Actually I did not consider any of the cons to be a problem, but others might. )
We will be back and will recommend Turneffe Flat to our friends who dive and fish and love to get away from it all for a week of adventure.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank Texandiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2008

We would highly recommend a stay at Turneffe Flats if you are going to Belize. This is a wonderful lodge that is far enough off the coast to feel you are really away from it all but is not a hassle to get to. The adventure starts when you board their beautiful big boat for the hour plus trip to get to the atoll. The staff are excellent from the owners and management, who eat meals with guest in the family style dining room, to the guides who take guests out fly fishing, diving and snorkeling. We took our two kids ages 9 & 13 and we all had a great time. My husband and I even got in a couple of dives one day taking turns while the other snorkeled with the kids. The accommodations are cute, simple cottages on stilts which are air conditioned, comfortable and very clean. The food was very good and the nightly specialty cocktails were a lot of fun. We saw lots of wildlife including manatees, dolphins, octopus, tons of fish, sharks, crocodiles, bird & sea turtles. the mangrove habitat is interesting too. It's very romantic to think that you are in the same area that Blackbeard the pirate preferred to hide out in!

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank Cali4nianTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2008

We're a diving couple. This resort caters to fishing and diving. The week we stayed there we were the only divers. I was a bit concerned that because of that they would skimp on dive sites etc...
I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG! The dive staff and owners went out of their way to make sure we had great diving daily sparing no expense for fuel etc..! This was some of the best diving we've ever had and we've been around. The rooms were clean, bug free, everything worked. The staff was friendly and took great care of all the guests. The food was great. As far as the resort we couldn't have asked for better.

The only reason we give it an above average instead of excellent is if you're delayed in getting there plan on a $400+ bill to get you to the resort. We were delayed and missed the boat out. Our only option was to stay in a hotel and take a charter out the next day (only one available) at a cost of $300 or miss 3 days of vacation waiting for the next boat from the resort (resort boat is only Wed. or Sat.). Had we been made aware of this when we booked the trip we would have planned to arrive a day early. We're from the Midwest (WI) and trip delays are common this time of year. The resort owners went out of their way with everything else. I'm surprised that they didn't send one of the smaller boats to pick us up since it was the same size as the charter we took.
Soooo if you go to this resort... and we highly recommend it..... make sure you get there on time and/or have trip insurance.

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3  Thank danstower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2008

My wife and I recently stayed here. The resort offers diving, fishing, and adventure packages. We did the diving package. The diving was fantastic. We are fairly new to diving (2 years) and have been diving in Maui (2 trips) and the Mayan Riveria. This was easily the best diving we've done. We had good luck during the week - 8 carribean reef tip sharks, 8 dolphins, several spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks, taurpin, black grouper, and many other great encounters. The dive staff is top notch. We did 3 dives every day, including a day trip to the blue hole.
The resort itself is also very nice. We stayed in a beach front cabana. The room was large (king and long single) and clean with air conditioning. The staff is very attentive and the food is very good.
One of the days had little wind and there were some bugs - I suggest bringing some bug repelent. As long as there was a breeze the bugs were not much of an issue.
The resort is very secluded - there is nothing else around. The only people you will see are the other guests and the staff. The only time we saw any other dive boats was on our trip to the blue hole. The maximum capacity is 24 guests - there were about 20 during the week we were there.
You can do full or partial weeks. It's about a 2 hour boat trip to get out to the resort. I recommend doing a full week, which is what everyone did, the week we were there.
I highly recommend this resort. Everything about our stay there exceeded our expectations. The reviews from the non-divers that were there the same week was also unanimously positive.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank EU-JDLY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2008

My wife and I and our two children, 15 and 12, just returned from a week at Turneffe Flats. We had an amazing experience that we will all remember forever. If you are looking for a Caribbean destination with shopping, restaurants, room service etc.-- stop reading. Turneffe Flats is 30 miles off the coast of Belize on one of the four true coral atolls in the Caribbean. It generates its own power (AC runs from 4 pm to 8 am), has a rainwater-collection system and desalination plant for fresh water, as well as a gray-water system for toilets and irrigation. No phones, TV or internet. Actually there is a satellite connection available in the main lodge if you can't help yourself and are compelled to check the market or retrieve e-mail. This was a key part of my strategy-- I am always looking for ways to disconnect my family from their electronic tethers. I can say with confidence that for the week we were there, nobody missed Google, E-Bay, Facebook or deleting junk e-mail.

Turneffe Flats only takes about 30 guests, maximum. It is really about fishing, specifically the saltwater fly-fishing trinity of Permit, Bonefish and Tarpon. There is also fantastic snorkeling and diving as the atoll's reefs are the best I've seen anywhere in the Caribbean. We had an incredibly knowledgeable guide, a Mayan from southern Belize who knew everything about every insect, plant, animal, bird and fish on the atoll. He was diplomatic, sensitive and more proficient and articulate in English than any member of my family (I did not speak Spanish or Mayan with him but assume same holds true for these languages). We went snorkeling with him every day for 2 or 3 hours at different locations all over the atoll, and saw amazing coral and fish. Also crocodiles, dolphins, sea turtles, iguanas and many species of birds.

One day we took the "Discover Scuba" course offered by Turneffe Flats. The instructor was wonderful, and after a little work in shallow water learning basic skills, we were off to another part of the atoll for two dives in 35-40 feet of water where we saw barracuda, spiny lobsters, peacock flounder, garden eels and more. My kids were thrilled that they could enter this amazing world.

The fly fishermen (80% of the guests the week we were there) seemed delighted with their experience. I brought a travel spinning rod and caught several barracuda, some 3-4 feet, on the flats right in front of our room.

The food was delicious and Karen and Craig, the owners are wonderful, as is the entire staff. I started missing the place before I'd even left.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank Christopher C
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: £281 (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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