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“The Best of Belize”
Review of Turneffe Flats

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Turneffe Flats
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
CA
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“The Best of Belize”
Reviewed 28 December 2006

My wife and I just returned from our second visit to Turneffe Flats (TF) and the second visit was just as outstanding as the first. We have been to Belize 8 or 9 times, and our experiences at TF have been our best.

Why do we like TF so much?
1. It is located in Turneffe Atoll, where you will experience the best diving in Belize without a long boat ride from Belize City or Ambergris Caye (San Pedro). Lighthouse Reef (location of the famous Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye) are within an hour boat ride of TF. Each time we have been to TF, we have spent one day diving/exploring Lighthouse reef.
2. Lots of personal attention for divers and non-divers. During our first visit, we had 6 divers on the boat (a Pro 48) and during our second visit we had 2 divers. No large crowds here. The boat captain and the dive master were excellent. They do everything for you, including loading, unloading, and washing all your gear. My wife is a non-diver, so she chose the Atoll Adventure (AA) package. Together with 1-3 other guests, they snorkeled and explored the area. Abel, the guide who leads the AA group is very knowledgeable and customer focused. My wife loves not having to sit on the beach while I dive, there is always something for her to do, and it is all included in the package.
3. If you are a fisherman, TF is considered one of the premier fishing lodges in the world. I personally have not fished there, but it was obvious that the fishermen were well taken care of by top notch guides.
4. All the staff at TF is excellent. The owner-operators, Craig and Karen are very hands-on and have developed a group of long-term employees that are very loyal and good at what they do. It feels like you are with family, not at a hotel. You eat all your meals in a communal dining area and it really feels like you are at an adult summer camp with family.
5. TF is very serious about environmental protection, which is not true for all of the lodges in the area. They sponsor a non-profit designed to study and preserve the atoll.
6. The food is absolutely outstanding, something that is usually not true at all-inclusive resorts. My wife is a vegetarian, and they always accomodated her special requests. Evening appetizers are a big hit as you sit around and compare notes from the day's activities, drink a Belikin beer or the night's special cocktail, and play board games with your fellow guests and/or the staff.
7. This is a small scale operation, with no more than 30 guests at any given time. Everyone pretty much arrives and leaves on the same day.

Bottom Line: TF is well known as a fishing lodge, but it is also an excellent choice for diving/snorkeling. I have been diving all over the world, and some of the best was done within 30 minutes boat ride of TF. If you want an active vacation: fishing, diving or an offshore eco-adventure, you should seriously consider TF. If you are looking for a place to bar hop, shop, or bring young children, then this is not for you.

  • Liked — Location, services, staff
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Tips/Secrets — Schedule visit during good weather months
  • Stayed December 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank WeLoveWorldTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (96)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
CA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 November 2006

My husband and I just returned from our trip to Belize. We stayed at Hidden Valley Inn first, then Turneffe Flats, then Victoria House. First off, you don't go to Turneffe Flats to lie in the sun or hang out on the beach. So if that's what you want, stay someplace else. You go there to dive or fish. That's it.

We chose TF because of it's proximity to the Blue Hole. Unfortunately, we were unable to dive there due to the bad weather. I believe we could have dove the Blue Hole on our 1st day quite easily easily, but the guides thought the next day might be better (but the weather was even worse). However, if your a diver this isn't such a bad thing since they have many dive sites around the island that are more protected from the open ocean. We found some sites and had a great time despite the weather above. The anglers staying there weren't so lucky.

Our divemaster was great. Very knowledgeable although he moved very slowly through the dive (quite noticeable in fact). After a while I adjusted to his pace, but at times I really wanted to at least kick my fins once :-)

The boat they use to take you from the mainland to the resort is really nice, modern and extremely comfortable. There were only 2 other divers when we stayed & due to the bad weather, we used that boat for all the dives. That part was great--everyone had room, a toilet and plenty of space to get your gear on/off etc.

The crew is amazing at the resort. Better than Victoria House actually. They really do make you feel at home and part of their family. The anglers praised their boat/fishing guides. And, of course, we praised our dive masters. One thing we all agreed on is that the food was GREAT and Kani and Justine make the best Pina Colada's in Belize. Typical menu's ranged from lobster tails, filet mignon, with salads, rolls, mashed potatoes, veggie's, red or white wine + desert/coffee. You definately will not starve there.

One thing to note: Turneffe is covered in mangroves. And when you have mangroves----you have bugs. It's such a shame because it's a lovely resort but we had to run from our cabana to the main house or else bugs would eat you alive (and yes I had about 3 different bug repellents, DEET etc with me!). When the storm kicked up, you could walk there as the wind kept the bugs at bay. But, when it was still---Watch out---the no see-ums would cover you in a second. Bites galore. When your on the water though, you won't find any bugs.

Finally, the diving we did do was great. Saw 2 huge nurse sharks on our last dive, a huge spotted eagle ray, turtle, spotted moray, green moray, lobster, crab, conche (abundant there), blue tangs, blue chromis, yellowtail, snapper, grouper, parrotfish, yellow stingray, tons of perfectly in-tact gregorian fans, purple and yellow sponges (huge) + lots of coral. Can't go wrong with the diving. Highly recommend it.

  • Liked — The overall experience
  • Disliked — Not being able to dive the Blue Hole
  • Tips/Secrets — Book in the higher season to avoid any weather disappointment. I'm sure it will be worth the extra money.
  • Stayed November 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank waterchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 August 2006

We were looking for a place to do some diving in Belize as part of our honeymoon, and Turneffe Flats certainly fitted the bill - food, staff, diving and atmosphere were all excellent.

Resort Environment
Turneffe Flats is on the eastern side of Turneffe Atoll, about a 2.5 hour boat ride from Belize City (depending on boat cargo and tides) - it feels quite remote and not at all "resorty", which is lovely. We found it to be small, welcoming and pretty - although it would not be for beach lovers, as the "beach" is not really suitable for lounging on. It is mainly geared up for fishing, but the diving, snorkelling and wildlife-watching is also excellent (we saw crocodiles and dolphins on our first day). Even the snorkelling from the dock is good fun (plenty of needlefish, grunts and barracuda).

Rooms
There are six large guest rooms set next to the main lodge. They have attached bathrooms with dual sinks and air conditioning (which is turned off during the day) and potable water. Whilst not traditionally "luxurious", the cleanliness, furniture and size of the rooms more than make up for it. All have a porch with a view of the waves crashing on the nearby reef. After a week's stay, you feel quite at home.

Food
Evening meals were excellent - three courses of (normally) Belizean food with plenty of variety. You eat in the main lodge, chatting with the other guests before, during and after dinner. For romantics, this is a slight downside as it is quite "communal", but the guests were friendly and interesting (one guy was writing a book about diving in Belize, another group was filming a fishing documentary). Many people were repeat visitors. Picnic lunches of sandwiches and crisps (chips) get a little boring, but it's not a major problem - and you have the option of going back to the lodge for a proper lunch if you like. There's a daily cocktail too (which changes) - alcohol is the only thing that's not included in the price.

Staff
Staff were friendly and helpful - by the end of the trip you know everyone and feel quite at home. Dive and snorkel staff in particular deserve a mention - very knowledgeable and with a keen eye for spotting things large and small. We did our Advanced Open Water course and I was pleased that it was done thoroughly and properly. Most guests were fishing, and seemed to be pretty successful, so the guides must have been taking them to the right places too.

Very highly recommended - little that could be improved upon! I only hope that lots more rooms are not added - the "homely" feel and the exclusivity you get (but not in a pretentious way) with a small number of guests was one of the best things about the place. Also, The Aquarium dive site near the Blue Hole was the best dive we've ever done!

  • Liked — Location and staff
  • Disliked — Communal mealtimes
  • Tips/Secrets — Make sure Daniel, Abel and Jerome (dive/snorkel staff) are still there!
  • Stayed July 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank mccu7pj2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rock Hill, SC
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2006

A spectacular setting on the Turneffee atoll, a one and one half hour boatride off the coast from Belize City, designed for both the serious angler (Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish) as well as the serious scuba diver (near the barrier reef and an hour from the Blue Hole). Not really for sightseeing, unless you book time for excursions on the mainland to Mayan archeologic sites, nature preserves etc. though they are readily accessible. We booked a partial week, which gave us two solid days of fishing, on skiffs for a maximum of two anglers, all equipment easily rented with prior arrangements. The quide in each boat was very helpful even for us novices. The accomodations and food were more than adequate, though not upscale, with nice pre-dinner socializing and family style meals, the clientele equally divided between divers and anglers, middle age international groups with some father/son combos, more from the U.S. Though we didn't catch any large fish, can't complain about the experience, with an emphasis on conservation efforts, mostly catch and release. The divers also appeared very happy about the quality of the reefs and the beautiful aquatic life.

  • Stayed July 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank wlehman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Turneffe Flats

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): £
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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