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“As close to Paradise as we have found...”

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Turneffe Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 September 2010

We have just booked a return trip to TIR. Last March, we travelled there with friends, for a week of diving. Almost everything about this place is perfect, assuming you are looking for a quiet, isolated location with superb diving.

The Lodge itself is beautifully kept, if not a little rustic. Fancy, it isn't, but the rooms are clean and bright, finished with local materials, and all have an unobstructed views of the ocean. The food here is somewhat basic, but very good, and plentiful. The dining room is set with a number of communal tables of various sizes, so it's a great place to meet and chat with your fellow travellers.

The diving here is interesting. The reefs start at moderate depths, generally around 50' or so, and most sites bottom out at 100' plus Some walls are considerably deeper. If you are nitrox certified, I would recommend diving it right from the beginning as nitrogen tends to rack up quickly. Because of the resort's isolated location, safety needs to be a priority. This is the diving equivalent of heli-skiing... a "private" massive reef with no one else around. The week we were there, I think that there was only about 12 divers in total!

Over the course of the week, we consistently saw huge schools of fish, eagle rays and turtles. The reefs seemed to be very healthy and were superior to those we have seen in other places. Almost all dives were drift dives and very relaxed. Diving was conducted from two small boats, and we returned to the lodge between dives.

If we had any complaint at all, it is that there is a bit of an "emphasis" to tip and tip well... to everyone on the staff. Our fellow guests agreed that this was a little odd, in that we all generally tip the staff that we have direct contact with and as a way of recognizing great service. We all agreed that to tip unseen staff was a little unusual... It was almost as if the owners felt it was up to us to pay the staff directly!

All in all, we loved this place. As I mentioned, we are returning again this winter with some different friends!

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Stuart S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 September 2010

I used "rustic" because people wanting to stay in the lap of luxury would be disappointed. The room A/C, for instance, was very noisy, an old style wall unit I think. But luxury is not the reason people go to this resort. My friend and I went to dive, and the diving is quite good. I would have rated it excellent, as it was in 2003 when I was here before, except that strong currents made the visibility lower than normal and made at least one dive, The Elbow, less impressive than normal. It was too rough to go the the Blue Hole during the four days we were there. But the fish you see, especially large creatures, were worth the trip. And the food served was first-rate. Finally, the other visitors, whom we got to know via the homestyle dining and the cozy 14 passenger dive boat, were all friendly and interesting. It was a fine time, all in all.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank Follansbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2010

My wife and I stayed here for two weeks two years ago, and we had been looking forward to returning ever since.

This time we spent more time on the mainland, so we were at TIR for only a week. But once again, we loved every minute of it.

If you're looking to dive, fish, snorkel or just plain relax in a tropical island paradise setting, then this is the place for you. If you need an exciting nightlife, internet access, telephones, televisions or cars, then look elsewhere as none of that exists here (you can get calls through the front office and use the computer there if you're really desperate to have contact with the outside world).

The accomodations, food and service are absolutely first-rate. Even though there's a lot of world to see out there and we rarely visit the same place more than once, for TIR we're willing to make an exception. We'll be returning at least every other year for the foreseeable future. This place is that good.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank DowningB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2010

The Resort fully lived up to our high expectations. The maximum of 40 guests on the island, with almost that many staff, ensured excellent service and no sense of crowding. The cabanas are comfortable and well maintained, with delightful views through the palm trees to the incredibly blue ocean. The food was very good, and the staff members working the scuba and snorkeling boats were experienced and helpful. During what was admittedly a somewhat windy week, we encountered virtually no insects. The scuba diving was truly impressive and the snorkeling was very good. (We did not fish.) On-site managers, Matt and Morag, were friendly and attentive -- this is a very well managed place.

Stayed: June 2010, travelled with family
Thank Ken-Pat-LA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2010

We traveled to Belize for relaxation and snorkeling. We spent the first week on Ambergris Caye at the Victoria House and the second week at Turneffe Island Resort.

This resort is like staying on a deserted island. It is about an hour to hour and half from Belize City. You take the resort boat from Princess Marina to get there. The resort staff was waiting for us at the airport and basically whisks you off to the boat and you do not have to worry about your luggage or where you going. Very easy.

There are about 20 rooms on the island. There is a nice pool with outside bar. There is an inside bar and restaurant. All meals are served family style at 7:30am, 12:30pm, and 7:30pm. The resort puts out snacks, juice, and coffee between meals. They food is great. Not long a AI. Much better than expected. They also serve an appetizer around 7pm. All the staff lives on the island. The girls that work the meals and kitchen are also the girls that clean. All the staff is friendly and helpful. They really went out of there way for us. They are also very accomodating regarding special requests for food. Our five year old traveled with us and they did special meals for her and even served us all dinner early a couple of nights when she was exhausted after long days.

This island is geared toward diving and fishing. My husband did the fly fishing package and was very impressed. The guides were fantastic. Very patient and helpful. He caught fish each time he went out (this is a catch and release island for Permit, Tarpon, and Bonefish). They also bottom fished one day and caught over 60 snapper! This was great for the staff because they will use the fish for the staff meals. The guides were very excited and happy and it made it even more fun for the guests that went! The kitchen would also prepare fish you caught. For example, the day my husband bottom fished they also caught a tuna which they made as an app for us.

My daughter and I did the beachcombers package. This is the standard package. It allows any guest to go on two snorkel trips per day. The guide, Joel, is awesome and all the snorkeling is fantastic. He was great with our 5 year old who loves to snorkel. We went to different spots no further than 10 or so minutes from the island. The coral and fish we saw were great. Our only suggestion to the resort from our whole stay would be to make the snorkel trips longer. They are each an hour and they stick to that.

On the island they have other activities. There are kayaks and I think a small sailboat. My daughter and I went kayaking and found very cool conch shells. Very cool to see huge conch right on the beach. There is also a little spa where I got a great massage.

Finally, plan to be there on a Tuesday. All guests, if they want, go on a full day snorkel/dive trip to the Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye. Totally awesome! The staff went along and put lunch out on Half Moon Caye. Very cool day.

I would highly recommend this hotel, especially if you are a snorkel, diver, or fly fisher. This resort would also be great as a pure escape. I easily could sit out on the beach and read books all day. There are no phones or TV. Very great escape!

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled on business
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2  Thank charlestonpanic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gbernard39, Manager at Turneffe Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2010

We appreciate you giving us the great input on your visit to our Island. We read every word and always look for ways to improve the Island experience. When our visitors take the time to give us this valuable input, it is very much appreciated. We are so glad you enjoyed your visit. It is why we do what we do!

Our team thanks you and looks forward to future opportunities to welcome you back to the Island!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 May 2010

Having just come back from Turneffe I thought I should post a report.
Resort overall: excellent service, friendly people, food good and accommodation clean and very comfortable. This resort can best be described as a very comfortable fishing/diving lodge, my wife a non-fisherman was coded as a ‘beachcomber’ and despite her choice of limited trips she enjoyed a very relaxing, comfortable break.
Fishing: for a near novice to Bonefishing (we don’t have a great deal in the UK) it was hard work but enjoyable. Seven to eight hours a day wading the flats, in effect wading all day in knee deep bath temperature salt water is pretty tiring if exhilarating. I caught a variety of fish across the week mostly bonefish and it must be said that the American anglers which predominate are hard core fly fisherman considering anything other than fly not quite pukka. Having said that if I were to go to the resort again I would definitely take some poppers and a spinning rod with lots of sport from Barracuda and Jacks on light gear available. As far as main tackle is concerned I found an eight weight fly rod, preferably tip action with plenty of back bone to lift long lines off the water ideal, also make sure you have a good quality saltwater reel with a strong drag (I saw a bonefish take all my line and half my backing in less time than it took to type this sentence). There is tackle there to hire so you might not need a Tarpon or Permit rod which can be hired and merely bring a rod/s for bonefish. The guides are great however I would suggest that from the start you try and get on the Lighthouse reef and the Elbow, unfortunately due to larger boat availability and wind my fishing partner and I couldn’t reach either but were advised they were the best spots both from other anglers and the divers. The Tarpon made no appearance during our stay but Permit were seen and cast to every day.
The meals are conducted on shared tables at the same time each day which my wife and I were a little sceptical about, it turned out well however with a good bunch of people who were excellent company including some divers from the Netherlands and American fishermen.
The ‘spa’ was closed during our visit due to staff illness so were unable to try.
The only minor issue during the week was the confusion when transferring back to the airport, the boat trip back was fine but chaos reigned at the dock with the minibuses being slow to load and a bags being split followed by a needlessly circuitous route to the airport when some passengers had pending flights.
Overall a great escape and would recommend to fishing friends.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank HC1812
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2010

On a secluded island approximately an hour and a half off the coast of Belize, you will find Turneffe Resort. This is a beautiful island with wonderful staff and a very personal feel.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the entire staff and shown to our individual cabanas, which were spacious and very comfortable. The air-conditioning was rather noisy at night(of course you can turn it off if you prefer), but the outdoor shower, view and private porch were exquisite.

Meals were served in a main dining room and everyone ate together. Though everyone was given the same meal, the quality was such that even the pickier eaters enjoyed. The bar is open until all guests go to bed and there were a variety of snacks available throughout the day.

The island itself was absolutely amazing, kept very clean and every part was welcoming. Due to the number of guests the island can accommodate, it was very easy to find a quiet place on the beach to relax or find a group to play volleyball.

The staff took the time to get to know us and learned everyone's name by the end of our stay. The scuba diving was absolutely amazing, the weather was excellent and overall we had a very enjoyable time.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with family
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3  Thank photographer5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Turneffe Island Resort

Address: Turneffe Atoll, Turneffe Island, Belize
Phone Number:
Region: Belize > Belize Cayes > Turneffe Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Price Range: £467 - £809 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Turneffe Island Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Turneffe Island Resort is a secluded 14-acre private island located 35 miles off the coast of Belize. We offer 7 night, 4-night, and 3-night Diving, Fishing and Resort packages. Packages include airport transfers, deluxe lodge accommodations, scheduled activities, all meals and hors d’oeuvres served throughout the day. All accommodations are located on white sandy beaches. All rooms include indoor and outdoor showers and spectacular ocean views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Turneffe Island Hotel Turneffe Islands
Turneffe Island Lodge

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