We were looking for a place to do some diving in Belize as part of our honeymoon, and Turneffe Flats certainly fitted the bill - food, staff, diving and atmosphere were all excellent.
Turneffe Flats is on the eastern side of Turneffe Atoll, about a 2.5 hour boat ride from Belize City (depending on boat cargo and tides) - it feels quite remote and not at all "resorty", which is lovely. We found it to be small, welcoming and pretty - although it would not be for beach lovers, as the "beach" is not really suitable for lounging on. It is mainly geared up for fishing, but the diving, snorkelling and wildlife-watching is also excellent (we saw crocodiles and dolphins on our first day). Even the snorkelling from the dock is good fun (plenty of needlefish, grunts and barracuda).
There are six large guest rooms set next to the main lodge. They have attached bathrooms with dual sinks and air conditioning (which is turned off during the day) and potable water. Whilst not traditionally "luxurious", the cleanliness, furniture and size of the rooms more than make up for it. All have a porch with a view of the waves crashing on the nearby reef. After a week's stay, you feel quite at home.
Evening meals were excellent - three courses of (normally) Belizean food with plenty of variety. You eat in the main lodge, chatting with the other guests before, during and after dinner. For romantics, this is a slight downside as it is quite "communal", but the guests were friendly and interesting (one guy was writing a book about diving in Belize, another group was filming a fishing documentary). Many people were repeat visitors. Picnic lunches of sandwiches and crisps (chips) get a little boring, but it's not a major problem - and you have the option of going back to the lodge for a proper lunch if you like. There's a daily cocktail too (which changes) - alcohol is the only thing that's not included in the price.
Staff were friendly and helpful - by the end of the trip you know everyone and feel quite at home. Dive and snorkel staff in particular deserve a mention - very knowledgeable and with a keen eye for spotting things large and small. We did our Advanced Open Water course and I was pleased that it was done thoroughly and properly. Most guests were fishing, and seemed to be pretty successful, so the guides must have been taking them to the right places too.
Very highly recommended - little that could be improved upon! I only hope that lots more rooms are not added - the "homely" feel and the exclusivity you get (but not in a pretentious way) with a small number of guests was one of the best things about the place. Also, The Aquarium dive site near the Blue Hole was the best dive we've ever done!
- 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