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“Great diving, tired equipment, some safety concerns” 3 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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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
Arlington, VA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Great diving, tired equipment, some safety concerns”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2007

Blackbird has the potential to be a five star experience. I don't recommend against it, and I even endorse it for hard core divers, but be aware of its limitations.

The points in its favor are many. The location, way out on Turneffe Atoll (far past the barrier reef) puts you on low-traffic islands and reefs with plenty of healthy life. Boat trips to the dive sites were often less than five minutes (really) and the famous Blue Hole was only a bit over an hour away - that's a huge advantage over staying on Ambergris Caye. We saw dolphins, eagle rays, octopi, and strangely what looked like a manta ray (that one, unfortunately, only from the boat) all over. The diving was first class. The rooms were all one-room, spacious beach cabanas that were adequately appointed, kept the bugs out, had nice bathrooms, and had air conditioning that worked. They were spaced far enough apart to afford privacy, but not so far that walking to the main house for meals would be a chore. The setting is picturesque enough (it's basically a desert island - no lush flora) and there were plenty of big iguanas to follow around and a crocodile that visits at night. The food was plentiful and about a 7 on a scale of ten -- not fantastic, but enough to look forward to. Drinks were cheerfully supplied and reasonably priced -- important, since once you are on the island, they have you captive and could charge whatever they wanted.

The demerits are also significant. There's nothing to do but dive, so nondivers don't come -- if you aren't a hard core diver, you may feel out of place. No one there with us had fewer than 100 dives and most had more than 500 or had stopped counting. They supply all necessary gear if you ask, but their gear (particularly the BCs) is no-name, featureless, and worn out -- again, most people bring all their own stuff to this place. If you don't have a dive computer, you should call ahead and inquire whether they'll have a spare (but really, get your own). The boats are tired looking and one had engine trouble on us, making for a very slow trip. The dive master was quite experienced but did not make any attempt to police terrible behavior by his divers, except on the Blue Hole trip (when, to his credit, he cracked down -- that place could be dangerous). And it's a little thing, but they were very late with the boat out to the island from Belize City.

If you are a PADI gonzo with your own gear and not too much concern about being pampered, which describes us, this will be a great place for you, since the ease of diving here is amazing. Some folks were doing six dives a day all week, and the resort was happy to take them. If you need a little more tlc, this won't do it for you.

If these folks fix up their boats, replace their rental equipment, and give a little lecture to their dive operators about running a tight ship, they could deserve the praise that PADI's magazine gives them -- I just don't think they are quite there yet, and the broken-down boats are a big part of that. I got the impression that they were a little short of funds for repairs, which doesn't make any sense (the place is pricey), but that's the impression.

Of the 20 or so guests (full house) when we were there, the happiness of the guest was exactly proportional to the number of lifetime dives. Psycho diver = fully satisfied, casual diver = pretty disappointed. Figure out which one you are, then make your choice.

  • Liked — Top shelf diving and quick access to the Blue Hole
  • Disliked — Tired, worn out diving equipment and boats
  • Tips/Secrets — Good choice for PADI addicts, but not for diving beginners
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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366 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
    4.5 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 (104)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Idaho
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2007

Blackbird Resort is located on a secluded island on Turneffe Atoll in Belize. The resort consists of 20 or so cabanas, the cafeteria and bar, and a dive operation. This is the ideal vacation for those who love to scuba dive and snorkel. The reef is minutes away in a boat and contains beautiful coral. The famous Belize Blue Hole is approximately an hour away by boat and easily doable on a day drip. The dive operation is top notch. They supply 3 dives a day with PADI certified dive masters. The surface intervals are on the island.

The cabanas are comfortable and relaxing. You can spend the entire time there bare foot. You don't have to go anywhere but diving and to dinner. The food is excellent. The bar is complete. The Chilean wine and Beliken beer are pretty good.

We spent the week without worrying about anything. We didn't even lock our cabana. You don't have to - no one is there except the tourists in the resort and the people that work at the resort. To be there you have to be boated in or flown in by charter airplane from the mainland.

The employees of the resort are wonderful! They accomodate all needs in a respectful efficient manner. The only problem we had the whole time was deciding how much to tip everyone because everyone was wonderful!

This vacation was the best dive vacation I have experienced.

  • Liked — Private cabana right on the beach
  • Disliked — A few small bugs, not many and no big bugs - everything else was wonderful
  • Tips/Secrets — Try this place you will not regret it
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Grange Park, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2006

My wife and I visited Blackbird resort earlier this year and I am just getting around to writing the review. We are both avid scuba divers and seasoned travelers. Let me preface this by saying that my wife and I are extremely laid back and really do not complain about anything. But, as you will read below, I felt compelled to write a review.

I would caution scuba divers to be aware of what transpired while we vacationed with Blackbird. On one dive, my wife & I, along with a diver master were separated from the rest of our dive group (typically groups of 8-10 w/ 2 dive masters). Upon surfacing, the dive boat could not locate us in the water. The dive master tried to use a safety tube to alert the boat of our location. The safety tube had not been inspected recently and had a tear in it, thus resulting in the boat not being able to locate us for close to 25-30 minutes.

The next HUGE red-flag came on our trip to the Blackhole (which is an awesome dive site by the way). The Blackbird dive team left a snorkler at the site of the Blackhole. Now, let me preface this by saying how dangerous this situation could have been as the Blackhole is about 1 1/2 hours away from the resort. There is nothing around the Blackhole and sometimes the site could go un-visited for days. How the dive masters could leave the site without an accurate head-count is just unacceptable and dangerous. They did not even learn of leaving a snorkler behind until at the next dive site (30 minutes away) when another dive operation came up besides us to give us the snorkler back. They had no clue they were missing someone?!?!?!

Next, it was unfortunate that their usual dive master was not there the week we visited. They brought in a subsitute which happened to be the brother of the dive master. This brother and the managers of the resort did not get along and openly argued in front of the divers on more than one occation. This left the divers to feeling quite uncomfortable during the heated exchanges that happened on the boat during pre-dive site instructions.

Outside of this the accommodations were quite nice. The food was mediocre at best and the diving left something to be desired. Out of being there a week, there were only a couple of memorable dives. The coral is in healthy shape but the lack of fish is downright depressing.

All in all, though we had a relaxing time, we would not return to Blackbird. 1) in part due to the complications listed above and 2) there are just too many beautiful places in this world to visit.

Take care, dive safe and protect the reefs. If you have any questions feel free to email me.

  • Liked — Our own little hut on the beach
  • Disliked — Bickering amongst employees
  • Tips/Secrets — Go somewhere else
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2006

Staff were first class - kind, helpful, and cheerful. Accomodation was roomy, spacious, and welcoming. Food - excellent, avoid orange juice before a dive in case of choppy seas. Diving was spectacular. Would recommend unreservedly for the diving. Snorkelers would be happier if strong swimmers and with some experience. A memorable experience.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — NA
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 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.
Covington, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2006

I just returned from a dive vacation at Blackbird Caye Resort, Turneffe Atoll, Belize. This was the best vacation I've enjoyed in several years including trips to Curacao, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas which were all good. The diving was incredible. This was not only because of the beautiful, healthy reefs but the service given by the dive crew and the excellent dive guides. Our dive master was very knowledgeable about the reef fish, creatures and coral. The design of the dives was excellent also. We returned to the dock after each dive which allowed for a relaxing surface interval. Lunch was served between the 2nd and 3rd dives of the day. I came away from this vacation very relaxed despite 17 scheduled dives in 6 days.
The service provided by the rest of the staff was excellent also.
Great meals along with outstanding service made each meal relaxing and enjoyable. The interaction of the staff with the guests was very nice. All at the resort were very friendly. Now I have to weed through some 470 underwater photos and pick the best. If this were the only problem in life, how good it would be.
I highly recommend Blackbird Caye Resort to any diver that wants a truly excellent dive vacation. I want to return myself. Don't forget you camera!

  • Liked — The Service
  • Disliked — Rain
  • Tips/Secrets — Bring reading material and prepare to relax
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2006

I recently returned from a stay at Blackbird Caye resort. The resort has a lot of potential, but unfortunately fell far short. The primary reason for a visit to blackbird is for scuba diving. The equipment selection was very limited and not the best of quality. The diving in the area was OK, not excellent - compared to other experiences.

The staff is well intentioned and friendly, but not necessarily as accomodating as one would expect given the price. The food was mediocre to poor in quality. You better love velveeta! Expect a supplemental bill at the end of your stay for alcohol and equipment rentals.

All in all, the stay at Black Bird was not a bad stay, but left us feeling like it wasn't worthy of its cost. I decided that I would not recommend this resort to others.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2006

I went to Blackbird with three friends for a great diving experience. While the diving was fair, there was much left to be desired when it came to the food, accomodations, and, most importantly, the professionalism of the staff.

I would recommend Blackbird to someone who is a hard core diver and only expects the minimum in terms of the overall resort experience. However, if you expect to be pampered, look elsewhere. I'd suggest Victoria House in Belize.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
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*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Blackbird Caye is a privately owned Island sitting on The Mesoamerican Reef System - often referred to as the "Jewel of the Caribbean" - it is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere with a rich tapestry of vivid corals, mangrove forests, coastal wetlands, and diverse marine wildlife. Within the reef you will find Turneffe Atoll the Caye where the resort is located. Turneffe is the largest and most biologically diverse of the 3 atolls found in the Caribbean home to more than 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusk, and more than 500 species of fish, manatees, dolphins and invertebrates. There are over 70 dives sites all within 10-15 minutes from the resort and 45 minutes to Lighthouse Reef where The Great Blue Hole is located. The resort is made of 19 modern cabanas facing the Caribbean Sea and 1 beach house. The cabanas are all equipped with A/C, fans, private bathrooms, either King or Queen Beds with new comfortable bedding, private porches with chairs and swinging hammocks. Included in the price are your cabana, 3 daily meals, dive or snorkel package, complimentary transfers to the island on Wednesdays and Saturdays and use of the resort's kayaks. We are the only resort on Turneffe with an air strip making it convenient to arrive or depart any other day of the week. Our courteous and helpful staff will always make you feel at home as customer service ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blackbird Caye Hotel Turneffe Islands
Blackbird Caye Belize City

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