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“My 5th visit and still the best ever!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Blackbird Caye Resort

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Blackbird Caye Resort
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Turneffe Atoll, Turneffe Island, Belize   |  
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Ranked #2 of 3 hotels in Turneffe Island
Danville, California
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“My 5th visit and still the best ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

I just returned from my 5th trip to Blackbird and it remains the most perfect vacation I've ever had. They have a gorgeous resort with individual oceanfront cabanas on a pristine beach with crystal clear waters. And, as gorgeous as it is, what truly separates it from other beautiful resorts is the staff. I have never met such hard working, knowledgeable, happy, sweet and just plain down to earth personnel. They are always smiling, cheerful and willing to do anything and everything to make your vacation special. Lita, Mansfield and Delia are phenominal cooks with Lita making the best spaghetti ever.....She made it twice because I told her how much I liked it. Mansfield and the other cooks made a special cake welcoming back myself and 3 other regulars.

The cleaning staff and groundskeepers did a beautiful job maintaining my cabana and the beach. Aixa, Ron, Ian, Eden were the waitstaff always the biggest smiles in the morning and always wanting to be sure my vacation was going well. Ron makes one hell of a cocktail with strawberries, bananas, coconut rum topped with the umbrella. Ian also makes a great tropical drink!!! Their service was top notch. Aixa went out of her way to be sure I had water,milk, ice and anything else I needed. She got towels for my room and was always asking if I had everything I needed. She is a total sweetheart.

The dive masters, Cardinal, Emerick, Eli helped me whenever I was on the dock or in the dive boat.

As a snorkeler, most of my water time was with Chris, the snorkel guide. He is truly the best and has a great eye for pointing out sea critters. He also takes great photos for me using my camera. He is the best.

And the new manager, Paul, is the best I've seen at Blackbird. He is always smiling and willing to do anything the guests need to make a great vacation. He sets a tranquil, competent, fun, and just plain delightful mood for the entire resort.

To all of you..thank you for making my 5th visit to Blackbird the best one. I can't wait for my 6th visit.

Room Tip: My favorite cabanas are the the deluxe and superior ones.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
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English first
Edmonton
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

Blackbird Caye is a special place, the deserted island you have always dreamed about. I would go back in a heart beat!

Blackbird Caye on Turneffe Atoll is an exceptional place. It is located about an hour and a half by boat from Belize City.You catch the boat from the Radisson Dock and from then on you are part of the Blackbird family. The manager couldn't be more friendly and helpful, and greets every boat upon arrival, including returning dive and snorkel boats. In fact, I would describe every single staff member at Blackbird as exceptional. Always friendly and helpful with a big smile on their faces.

Unlike Ambergris Caye and other atolls in the area, Turneffe is more or less uninhabited. Blackbird Caye is home to only the resort and an Oceanic Research station. The rest is all beach, sand and palm trees surrounded by clear blue water.There are also mangroves ringing the coast in many areas. Guests each have their own cabana, all looking directly onto the beach. The cabanas are constructed palapa style, with high roofs constructed of palm fronds. There is a screen porch with hammock and private bathroom. The rooms are spacious and the beds are comfortable. There is a separate restaurant palapa and bar palapa, both circular in shape.

Blackbird Caye is primarily a dive resort, although we were there to snorkel. The snorkelling was great, with very clear water and excellent visibility. There are an abundance of fish and the variety is excellent. You can also expect to see sharks, rays and even sea turtles. There are purple sea fans, brain coral and even staghorn coral.

You can also go kayaking, which we did. Some people kayak out to the reef, which is not far offshore. You can see rays in the shallow water which is protected by the reef. Much of the sea bottom is covered in eel grass. We kayaked around the island both ways, seeing fish in the mangroves, flying fish leaping out of the water, frigate birds fishing and an osprey. Everywhere there are herons, terns, pelicans, grackles and cormorants.

Blackbird is also home to Belize's largest population of saltwater crocodiles.They live in the lagoon directly behind the cabanas, and also in the swamp near the Oceanic Research Centre. We were lucky to see crocodiles in both places, and on our last night, one of the crocodiles paid a visit to the dock. The manager had mentioned that we could expect a visit, so we were very happy when "Fluffy" finally put in an appearance. Fluffy swims all the way around the island from the lagoon to visit the Blackbird Dock. He is looking for fish heads, etc that might be thrown into the water. We watched him swim around the dock looking for dinner for some time. Everyone was out watching with flashlights and taking pictures, I guess he is used to it.

The highlight of our stay was the trip to Lighthouse Atoll. This is another virtually uninhabited atoll, which contains the famous Great Blue Hole. But the real highlight of the trip was at the other stops. Half Moon Caye is postcard-perfect island that is a bird sanctuary. The water is crystal clear and a beautiful turquoise color. The snorkelling is right off shore and fantastic. A walk to the bird sanctuary is a real surprise. You climb up the observation tower and once at tree level are immediately surrounded by hundreds of birds (frigate birds and red footed boobies), with their nests and chicks. They are not bothered by the observers and you can watch them flying and tending to their young.

The last stop was Long Caye, with the best snorkeling ever. The water is crystal clear and the variety and color of the fish is the best I have ever seen. Not to be missed!

The food is excellent, with breakfast and lunch served buffet style, and dinner a set menu with two choices. Dinner is always exceptionally good. Breakfast is served at 7:00am, lunch at 1:00pm, Dinner at 7:00pm and Happy Hour at 5:00pm.

Things to know:
There is no television and no WiFi in the rooms. There is WiFi in the office and guests are welcome to sit in the lobby to use their laptops and phones.

There is no cell phone service on the island

Hair dryers are not provided

The water temperature is VERY hot so watch out!

Down the beach away from the resort there is a lot of garbage and plastic washed up on the beach. Sad to think that even this remote place can't escape our polluting ways.

Doors are not lockable and we never had any problems at all

The maids clean your room twice a day

The resort is about 20 years old and the bathrooms are beginning to show their age, although every works perfectly.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

I traveled here with a group from my local dive shop. Our group rented out the entire resort, so in the interest of full disclosure, the leader of our group handled all the reservations for lodging, travel and dive arrangements, problems, etc., so we didn't have to deal with any of that. We stayed in a deluxe cabana and it was exactly as advertised, quiet and clean with plenty of space for two people and lots of dive gear. The cleaning staff did a great job everyday mopping up all the sand and dirt we dragged in after diving and walking the beach. The meals were varied and there was plenty of food. The resort staff was very friendly and knew us all by name by the second day. The dive staff was awesome and took care of all our gear and were very safe. The location can't be beat and the dive sites are so close given that the resort is on an island. It is worth the trip from the mainland to stay there. We did get quite a few bug bites even when coated with deet, but it is the tropics and was expected. I will say that we did not notice any bugs in our room, however a member of our group who was in a standard room got eaten alive every night while sleeping. I couldn't given this resort an excellent rating because our group did have a problem with security. The resort does not give keys so your room is unlocked all day when you are away (you can lock the door at night but not when you are out). A couple items were stolen, including bathing suit bottoms and an iPad. We were not warned when we arrived that security had been a problem recently. Blackbird is the only resort on the island, but there is also a research station and nothing from stopping anyone with a boat from landing and wandering around. Check-out was a hassle for some members of our group, particularly those with a tab, but we didn't have any issues. Overall I would recommend the resort, particularly for divers, but use the safe for important items and don't leave expensive items on the porch or in plain sight in your room.

Room Tip: Quieter rooms are the Deluxe and Standard cabanas which are on the south and north ends of the resor...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

When I arrived at Blackbird Caye Resort and saw thatched cabanas without phones and TV’s, I wondered how I would make it through the week. Three dives a day, three meals and two books later, the week was over and I couldn’t believe I had to go home! All staff, without exception, were friendly and willing to make the extra effort to make my stay even more comfortable. The accommodations were not fancy but had all that I needed. Each day, I returned from the morning dives to find the bed made, bathroom cleaned and towels exchanged. Meals were good and our wait staff attentive. We were there to scuba dive and had some great underwater experiences with our dive masters Cardinal, Eli and John. The Playground dive site on the Blue Hole trip was one of the best and not to be missed. In fact, Blackbird Caye Resort is not to be missed!

Room Tip: Opt for one of the newly renovated cabanas.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Waverly, Iowa
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

I have traveled all over the world and I can say Blackbird Resort is now my favorite place on earth!A beautiful,untouched island with plenty to do or just to relax.I was traveling with my 16 year old son so wanted a safe place to go.There is no crime there.Nobody locked their doors and many a time I left my camera or Ipad out somewhere and nothing was taken.In fact,my son left $20 in his pocket which housekeeping returned after doing our laundry.Rubin and other staff entertained my son by playing volley ball and soccer.Ran(bartender)went to get me 2 of his own bottles of sun screen for me to have when I ran out.Aixa was very attentive in the dining area.Ian(bartender) was off for the day and when he heard we wanted to have a pool party for our last night came over to bartend and play music for us.Cardinal(dive master)kept a close attention to detail and was very concious about safety.Nothing seemed to pass by him.Chris would take us out on trips and knew just where to go see things based on the weather etc.He would dive down and bring up things for us to see.He knew alot about aquatic life.If you want to experience a tropical area that is untouched and has a wonderful staff that you have a hard time saying good by to,try Blackbird!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Edmonton, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

This resort has a beautiful location, with great ocean views. All staff at the bar & restaurant were really great. Was a good stay until we experienced some confusion at checkout, without any attempt of assistance for a resolution. My advise would be to ask questions if you are not sure of charges for rentals and services on the island, as we found out the hard way at check out.
Every day there is a morning & afternoon snorkel. We had planned to snorkel once on our last day on the island, on this particular day the resort changed the normal plan and told us that their would only be snorkelling in the morning, so we went. We then realized on the boat that they were doing both(morning/afternoon) snorkels at once (so I am thinking they would only charge us for one snorkel as they were the ones changing the plan, & were not offering options of both daily snorkel times) or at least advise us that if we participated in both locations that we would be charged twice) the first snorkel location was great, worth the $70 per couple. The second snorkel: As the snorkel & dive boats all went out together this day, we found ourselves waiting for the dive boat to finish their dive, our boat circled it while we waited, drove 10-15 minutes back to mangroves thinking the dive boat was following us, then drove back to the dive boat again to see what was going on. Instead of going to a different location, we were taken about 20 meters from the first spot we snorkelled, dropped off and asked to snorkel\ drift back to the dive boat. The second location was very deep, not that great for seeing the coral, and may have been more of a convenience for the boat drivers than anything, unfortunately, that 10-15 minutes was considered "the afternoon snorkel". All in all the 45 minutes of snorkelling we got in cost us $184 US. had we known we would have been charged for 2 snorkels each we would have sat in the boat for one of them, and the fact that the second snorkel wasn't that great doesn't make matters any better. I am not one to complain, but when your staying at a world class dive resort -as they advertise-, and the managers can't offer any type of compensation for a customer's concerns that were directly caused by the resorts decision to change plans( & not deliver a proper service), in my experience that is not customer service. As much as I would have liked to leave Black Bird Resort with a great feeling and recommend it to others, I have chosen to write this review to help others in hopes that they don't have a similar experience.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlackbirdCayeResort, Director of Sales at Blackbird Caye Resort, responded to this review, March 5, 2013
Thank you for your valuable feedback it’s how you are heard and you give us a chance to improve. The day of this incident was Tuesday which is the day when the excursion to the Blue Hole takes place. Some of the guests that were not going to the excursion stayed at the resort because they wanted to snorkel.

That Tuesday day the seas in front of the resort were extremely choppy to snorkel close-by the reef so at breakfast guests were advised of the situation with the seas and the option they had so guests agreed to go. The guides accommodated the guests instead of canceling the trips and so they were taken to the "West Wall" which is 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Blackbird Caye. The “West Wall” was the only area they could have snorkeled that day cause of the sea.

Logistically it made no sense to go snorkel there in the morning and then come back to the island and then go back again for another 1:30 ride in the evening so it only made sense to stay there and do the 2 snorkels together.

We thank you again for sharing and hope to have you stay with us sometime again. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call our sales and reservations office 866 909-7333.

Thank you!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

My wife and I recently returned from our second visit to this great place. The staff was very warm and friendly and called us by name; the meals were delicious with plenty of fresh fruits and salads; and the snorkeling is simply superb. Our cabana was spacious and clean, and the hammock on the porch was used daily. We came back to our room after dinner each night to find a piece of chocolate on each of our pillows! Blackbird Caye Resort is an excellent location for those who love to snorkel, dive, or kayak. The dive and snorkel guides found fish and other sea-life that we would have missed, if not for their keen eye. Thanks, Cardinal and Chris, and all the staff for a truly relaxing week in Belize. We will return.

Room Tip: All cabanas are only a few feet from the water's edge.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 5 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.

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Additional Information about Blackbird Caye Resort

Address: Turneffe Atoll, Turneffe Island, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Turneffe Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 hotels in Turneffe Island
Hotel Class:3 star — Blackbird Caye Resort 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Blackbird Caye Resort located on Turneffe Atoll, 25 miles off the coast of Belize City, is not only home to the second largest barrier reef in the world but is home to 3 of the 4 atolls in the entire Western Hemisphere. Turneffe is the only Caribbean Atoll made up of dozens of mangrove islands, which make a perfect environment for a variety of juvenile nurseries for coral reefs, many schools of fish, dolphins, turtles and manatees. The resort itself is nestled within 1,300 acres of island forest and palm trees on a 2-mile long private, sand beach. There are 18 individual private beachfront cabanas with modern accommodations that face warm trade winds with views of the lagoon’s turquoise waters and the atoll’s rim reef. Not only is Blackbird known for world class diving but it also serves as a sanctuary for over 25 species of birds. Renowned for its biodiversity above and below the water Blackbird offers something for everyone: world-class scuba diving , snorkeling, kayaking, beachcombing, and nature walks to observe colorful land birds and seabirds. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Blackbird Caye Hotel Turneffe Islands
Blackbird Caye Belize City

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