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“Amazing Experience”
Review of Turneffe Flats

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Turneffe Flats
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed March 28, 2013

This was our first time at Turneffe Flats and we are already planning a return trip. My husband regularly fly-fishes in Alaska for salmon and in British Columbia for steelhead but had never fished in salt water before. If he wrote this review, he would go on and on about how great the bone fishing was, how knowledgeable and professional the guides were, how much fun he had, and how much he learned about fly-fishing for bones. I am sure that all you anglers already know that the Turneffe Atoll is a world-class fishing spot just as you divers know that it is a "bucket list" dive site. I do not fish and do not dive (yet). I had only snorkelled once in my life, in a tide pool in Hawaii. On the Turneffe Flats' "Atoll Adventure" package I really learned to snorkel. Abel is the Adventure guide and he is simply the best. He made sure that us "adventurers" were comfortable and safe as he took us for a short boat ride to a different spot each day and into deeper and deeper water for snorkelling. We saw many different coral gardens and loads of colourful fish plus moray eels, stingrays, (baby) barracudas, etc. We'd also ride through the mangroves and see manatees, crocodiles, porpoises, and birds. We did a reef walk to see all the creatures living in the Flats and a night walk to see a baby boa constrictor, bats, crabs, and crocodiles laying their eggs. I learned so much from Abel about the Atoll and its inhabitants, it was truly an amazing experience. I loved watching what is in the water so much that I decided to take the introductory SCUBA course with Emi, the dive master, and saw more fish and rays and a turtle. Again, Emi made sure I was safe and comfortable while taking my very first dive.
The resort itself is lovely with duplex cabanas situated a few steps from the water. The cabanas are clean, modern, spacious and air-conditioned with a large shower and double sinks in the bathroom. We actually only slept in the cabanas because it is so nice to sit outside on the cabana's veranda, on the lounges along the beach, in the main lodge or by the pool. Yes, there are biting insects so bring the bug dope (hydrocortisone cream does wonders for the itching) and the sun is strong so a skin/rash-guard is a must. We enjoyed delicious home-cooked meals and fruit every day plus daily fresh-baked cookies and the best brownies I've ever tasted. The other guests were great too and it was fun to hear their stories at mealtimes and cocktail hour. There is a small gift shop that has some lovely baskets, pottery and other souvenirs (plus flies, of course). Lastly, all the staff were great and more than happy to assist you. We were very sad to leave as TF felt like home and both the staff and other guests like friends. This is a very special place where we both learned so much. We will definitely return.

Room Tip: The duplex cabanas all face the water so it does not matter which specific one you stay in.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank GreatSlaveLakers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 10, 2013

I hesitate to write this review as I would really like to keep this place a secret!

We stayed there for a diving trip in November 2012. We had an AMAZING time and can not wait to go back.
The RESORT: The resort was safe, clean and modern. Each bungalow faces the water and has a porch area with a few chairs and a table. It is a great place to sit back, relax while logging your dives and reviewing your pictures.
The STAFF: Every staff member went out of their way to welcome you and make sure you were happy. They were all very friendly. We started the week as strangers and left as friends.
The FOOD: Meals are served at large tables so you are sharing meals and trading stories with other guests and staff. One day, our dive master speared some Lionfish and brought them back to the kitchen. The chef made Lionfish fritters out of them and served them as the evening's h'orderves. The food was delicious. Every single meal was fantastic. It was so delicious that one night, my husband asked for the cook to come to our table so he could kiss her! We also bought the cookbook and made the cheesecake with honey-rum roasted pineapple for Thanksgiving. It was such a hit with the family that we made it again for Christmas.
The DIVING: The diving was outstanding. We had the luxury of being the ONLY 2 divers for the week as all others were fishermen. We were so spoiled by having the boat to ourselves. Emi was our dive master and was very accommodating. We told him that we like to take our time and dive slow. Emi had no problem with that and at no time did we feel rushed. He was able to show us things that we never would have seen if we were diving quickly. The only minor complaint would be that he was very strict about ending the dives at the 45min mark. That is a small price to pay however for having him all to ourselves!

Overall, this place is top notch and a return trip is definitely in order!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank LIdivechick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2013

This was my second trip to Turneffe Flats and I have to say that it was better than I remember it. I had a wonderful time the first trip in July of 2000 but this trip was unrivaled in my vacation history. It is a place that inspires one to relax, get back to their natural state and relate to people around them, not in digital form but in actual conversation and physical contact.

Each staff member I encountered, from the owners to the cleaning staff, was extremely pleasant, accommodating and went out of their way to make sure I had what I wanted and needed. The bungalows on the beach were inviting, quiet, comfortable, clean and, most importantly, right on the beach! Every morsel of food was delicious and well presented. All the facilities, including the boats used for diving, were clean and well maintained.

The diving was outstanding. We had Capt. for our boat captain and Emi for our dive master. Both were outstanding at what they did and were nice, fun and professional. Really enjoyed spending the week diving with them. We did 3 dives a day including a trip to Blue Hold and the Lighthouse Atoll. With safety as a primary concern, they went out of their way to make sure that everyone in the group, from novice to expert diver, got to enjoy the trip. We saw some things that I had never seen before and that was amazing!

Overall, I had a wonderful vacation. I felt so relaxed and at peace while at Turneffe. I am sure to return just as soon as I can. Many thanks to Craig, Karen, Emi, Capt. and the rest of the staff at Turneffe Flats!

If you like to fish, snorkel, dive or just want to experience a truly beautiful place, take a trip here!

Room Tip: All the rooms are good. If you are going as a larger family or group, check out reserving one of t...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Geebo33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2013

I hesitate writing this review because we want to keep it to ourselves! But... it's such a wonderful resort, we want to share it with everyone. We are a group of 8 scuba divers with two in our group that do not dive. We picked Turneffe Flats because they offered Snorkel packages... What a wonderful package! The snorkel guide, Abel, was the most knowledgeable marine guide we have ever encountered. We all agreed that our snorkel people saw more than the divers... and the divers saw a lot! Dive guides were experienced and fun. Dive sites were all a very short ride from the resort with the exception of 'The Blue Hole' being a whole day trip to Half Moon Caye and Lighthouse Reef. The fishing guides were very professional, with more than half the guests at the resort being advanced fly fishermen. Everything in this resort was spotless.. boats, cabanas, pool, dining room (with the finest food we have ever experienced in an 'All Inclusive' resort. The staff was amazing.. it didn't matter where you were, if you passed a staff person, they smiled and asked how you were and could they help you with anything. Happy staff means good management. Cabanas were beautiful with big chairs on each deck, air conditioning, which we only used at night. There was a breeze during the day. The boat ride from Belize City to Turneffe Flats was beautiful. We were treated like royalty the entire week. When the breeze died down, we were urged to use insect repellent, which we found was very necessary... we kept our room screen and door shut and didn't have any problems. Sun is very dangerous! Bring hats and sun screen. If we could rate this resort on a one to five... we would give it a 10! To finish off a perfect week, we had a long wait for our flights. Craig & Karen, the owners, made arrangements for us to have a tour of the Mayan Ruins at AltunHa with Guide Mark..another 10 star trip. Can't say enough praise for this operation.

Room Tip: There are cabanas on the beach and two 'Villas' with three bedrooms in each Villa.. we prefe...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank PatandDiSpokane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

Turneffe Flats is known mainly for fishing. Divers come here too. Then there are those, like us, who snorkel. The Atoll Adventure package comes with Abel, a guide to the natural world both above and below the water, a calm, learned man with fascinating stories to tell, including his own. Weather permitting, there are two snorkel trips a day to varied sites, with varied depths of water (8-30') and varieties of coral, fish, plants, rays, and other living things to see with Abel's guidance. On the way, he will take you to see manatees, dolphins, crocodiles. He will discuss birds. You will see the tragedy of all the plastic garbage washing up on Turneffe Atoll. If he can't take the boat out, Abel will guide a walk around the area of TF or he will sit with you and "talk story", as they say in Hawaii. For most of our time at TF, we were the only snorkelers. It was pretty special to have Abel to ourselves.

When you are not "adventuring", the specifics of the place itself become important. The rooms are spacious, the beds are comfortable, the bathrooms are also large with double sinks and great showers. The food ranges from really good to fantastic. The lodge is a comfortable place to hang out and socialize.

TF is not a resort in the usual sense of that word. There's a nice pool, but not much else. A lot depends on the weather. If it's not good and you can't snorkel (or fish or dive) for longer than a day it would get difficult. If the wind's not blowing, you can't sit outside because of the biting flies and sand fleas.It's isolated, so you can't go into town or anywhere else. And your experience will be very dependant on the people who are there.

The owners, Craig and Karen, are as welcoming and helpful as everyone says. Your meals and evening socializing will be with your fellow guests and you have to be willing to be social. As one review mentioned, this is not the place to get away for a private romantic retreat. We were very lucky. There were 9 other guests for most of the time we were there, with 4 more coming for the last two days. While many of them were people we would not be likely to meet in our everyday lives, almost all of them were interesting, interested, and friendly, and I enjoyed our varied conversations. I even learned a lot about bone fishing, something I'd never think to learn about on my own.

You're taking a chance when you go to TF, but that's part of the adventure, and, given the reviews here, it's clearly a chance whose returns are more than worth it for most of us lucky enough to spend time there.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank dabbler45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

First time here and I will be back again and again and again. Not only do the owners, Craig and Karen Hayes, make you feel special, the other guests add a richness that I have not found in other resorts. As the former cook for the governor of my state I can tell you that the fare served at Turneffe Flats is definitely five star. After experiencing the lodging, food, hospitality and atoll package I would rate this as a VERY reasonable, almost inexpensive, vacation package. You will be very happy if you choose this as your next vacation spot whether you are a fly fisherman, diver, love to snorkel like me or just want a time out vacation with superb food.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Lili M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2013

We visited T Flats in 2008 and went back the 2nd week of December 2012. We had so much fun. They have made some improvements since we were there last. The cabanas have all been remodeled with very nice bathrooms, the decks are double the size and the fronts have been replaces with floor to ceiling windows looking at the ocean. They also extended the deck in front of the mai lodge and added a pool, which I used most days.

My husband fished everyday. He requested Dubs, whom he had last time. He had a great trip again, and I was so glad that Abel was still there for the Atoll Advenutre program. Abel is the best snorkeling guide ever. He dives down so deep. I don't know how he holds his breath for so long. He will find something, and get your camera and dive down with it and take hald a dozen photos then come back for someone else's camera. He knows where everyone is at all times and makes sure everyone is fine. even when we had 12 people, he was very attentive and did a great job.

The staff is all very nice. We enjoyed it when one of the employees sat at our table at dinner. The food was good. We would have liked more local Belizean food and fresh fish and seafood. I can make my own lasagna at home. But on the whole everything was good. The packed lunches were good. They have several choices of sandwiches, salads and wraps. the wraps were best made with homemade tortillas. And with chicken salad was really good.

I'm sure we will be back again in a few years. we had the best time.

Tip: If you are prone to bug bites, like I am, take something with a high % of DEET I was using 25-30% and I got a lot of bites (mostly sand fleas).

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank MelissaAk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Turneffe Flats

Address: Turneffe Atoll, Turneffe Island, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Turneffe Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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: $380 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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