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“Once in a Lifetime!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Turtleman's House

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Turtleman's House
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P. O. Box 142 | San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 14 Ambergris Caye B&B and Inns
Canada
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Once in a Lifetime!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

My wife and I were very fortunate to spend 3 nights with "The Turtleman" at his house over the water north on Ambergris Caye this past December.

I would say the visit far exceeded our expectations!

As Greg will quickly highlight with any inquiry, you need to know what you are signing up for. This place is definitely for the independent-minded traveller looking to get away from it all and is not bound by many "typical creature comforts" that accompany many a vacation. It is a solid 45 minute + boat ride to get that far north on Ambergris, and it is amazing to be so close to the reef.

The house over the water was much larger and more comfortable than we had expected. It is simple living and there is no power - these are things needed to truly unplug and feel a part of this grand place. We really enjoyed making use of the solar shower bag when/if needed, and the there is no better view for a washroom in our opinion!! Sitting out on the back deck and watching the amazing sunrise and heron and other sea life all around you is a relaxing and treasured memory for us.

I think another highlight was just how wonderful and welcoming Greg and his wonderful and knowledgeable children were. We felt like part of the family and didn't want to leave this piece of paradise. The dining was perfect - fresh caught jack and snapper cooked simply and wonderfully! It was delicious. If you do need a quick drink or something else during the day, the short walk to Tranquility Bay is there, where you can watch tarpon and rays at night.

We loved the special opportunity to take some guided trips to reef patch and learn from the children all the things we were experiencing underwater. A highlight was how very lucky we were to have an unforgettable encounter with an Eagle Ray one morning.

This place is certainly not for everyone, but ask the right questions and be clear about your own needs and interests. If you do get an opportunity, it will be a treasured memory. I would recommend a minimum 4 night stay. We did 3 nights but it should have been at least 4.

Thank you to Greg (aka The Turtleman) and his family!

Room Tip: You only have one room choice - and it has all you need and more!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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20 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Bethesda, Maryland
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2012 via mobile

By far the best part of my trip to Ambergris. I spent 5 days in San Pedro then 3 days at Turtleman House. Imagine a rustic cabin over the water looking out at the second largest barrier reef in the world. You will feel like you are one with nature. Greg is a great host. He spears dinner every night if you want. Absolutely delicious! Also make sure he takes you out to attempt to see the manatee. He teaches you about their habits and gives you a chance to see a manatee up close in the wild. Even I'd you don't see one you will still have a great snorkeling trip. Also at night look for the bioluminescence in the turtle grass just off your porch.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clear Lake, Minnesota
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2012

Talk about getting back to the basics of life! This trip was unbelieveable. Greg was a great host and wonderful cook. If you like camping, you'll love this place. It was so relaxing to sit out under the stars and listen to the waves on the reef. Enjoyed snorkeling every day right out our back door! We also fished with Greg two times and he did a fish fry the first day and fish tacos the second. Delicious!!! Most memorable trip I have had in a long time. Thanks Greg!

Jason Hammerback

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Freeport
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2012

If you are looking for a genuine tropical vacation off the beaten track, you will not be disappointed by Turtleman's "house over the water". Our family of 5 (with kids 15, 13, 11) stayed in this rustic house very comfortably and were able to completely "get away". It was a very memorable vacation week.

The Smith family's hospitality was delightful. We shared many breakfasts and suppers with this family, and felt entirely welcomed into the fold. Meals of fresh-caught jack expertly cooked had even our non-fish eaters going back for more. Breakfast included fresh mango, papaya, and, if you're lucky, fresh cinnamon rolls cooked by Rosemary that morning.

We took advantage of the snorkeling and made forays to the reef with Greg as our guide to see manatees, to the flats to swim with eagle- and stingrays, and daily reef exploration right from our doorstep to see marine life. The Smith kids are knowledgeable and fun and eager to share their bluewater back yard; they became good playmates during our vacation (which overlapped with theirs).

Do not be afraid of rustic accommodations. The sun, fish, lagoon, and activities will keep you plenty preoccupied. Bring enough sunscreen to last! If you enjoy fly fishing, you will not be disappointed. ALL five of us highly recommend this wonderful getaway.

Room Tip: This one room house has a loft that accommodated our 3 kids. There is a queen bed below.
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Breda, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2012

What an experience! We stayed her for 4 nights in December 2011, it was amazing.
The turtleman's house is rustic and basic,the house is a homemade 'cabana' with a solarshower system and a seeweed-toilet. you must notice this before you go.
For us was this a special stay. We stayed here for 4 nights in our backpacktrip of 3 months trough Central America and this was the most beautiful location.
The familie is very nice and the food they serve is good. Whitin walking distance there is a resort where you can lunch as well.
The 2 boys of the familie are big fans of fishing.....this means: fresh fish at diner!!! The boys can give you also a grandtour trough the garden and the give you a lot of information of nature and wildlife on the Island.
If you want to have a break and relax.....go to the Turtleman's House!

Amazing!!!!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2011

Greg and Rosemary are excellent hosts; as mentioned by many, she is a great cook - we ate far better (and cheaper) here than at the resot - and Greg is knowledgeable and can make it fun if there is something in particular you want to do. If not, you are left to do absolutely nothing if you want! Their kids are well-behaved and were half the fun for our 3 kids. The location is unbelievable and rustic as described...but also has the comfort of a nearby resort if you want a scuba trip, beer or internet. The best of both worlds really.

My kids loved it, there were no bugs, and we slept fine depite a strong wind many nights. This place really is the end of the line before Mexico - and if you want to get away, love sea life, snorkeling, etc. - this really is the place. Talking to other travellers at hotels, on the water taxi, etc. - we clearly had a better experience than those who lived in a hotel room, ate at restaurants, and overpaid for "experiences" - just living like they do for a week was the experience! After the trip I asked the kids if they would have rather stayed at the nearby resort or here, and unanimously the answer was to stay where we did - my wife and I agreed!

For the folks that weighed the pros and cons of the house and amenities...it is what it is, so if you expected more than a solar shower, filtered water, and a seaweed compost toilet - you only fooled yourself. As we are avid campers, it was actually step up to be taken care of with fresh water, linens, and so on - and everything was just fine. Staying here also means sharing meals with the family. So if you are a typical American and want a hotel room, or you have never camped, or do not like the social aspect of staying at a bed-and-breakfast and want to be left alone - go find a hotel to stay in. If you are open to meeting new people, like to camp, or have kids, and want your trip itself to be the "experience" of your trip - go here and relax..plus there is so much to see and do while you are here - but only if you want! Bring a bottle of wine, too.

Room Tip: Ask Rosemary for morning coffee if u need it!
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2011

The Turtleman's House was the perfect vacation spot for my wife and I and our 14-year old son. I don't think there's any better view from a room in all of Belize. The Turtleman and his family made us feel welcome and we hated to leave after 4 nights of blissful time on the beach. Rosemary is a great cook and the meals were delicious: homemade bread, fresh fruit and fish, it was all good. No pretensions here, just pure and simple fun. The sun shower worked great and the composting toilet was just fine. The beds were comfortable and the cabin clean. Highly recommended. We'll be back.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Turtleman's House

Address: P. O. Box 142 | San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in Ambergris Caye
Also Known As:
Turtleman`s House Hotel Ambergris Caye
Turtleman's House Belize/Ambergris Caye

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