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“Beautiful, Unique Island/Reort”

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Blackbird Caye Resort
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 18, 2011

We just returned from a two week stay in Belize, 4 nights of which were spent at Blackbird. In retrospect, I wish we had spent more time on this secluded caye rather than later venturing to Ambergris Caye. The accommodations at Blackbird varied, as some of the cabanas were newer than others. After the first night in the triplex cabana, our family (3 of us) and my brother and his fiance asked to move to cabanas down the beach for more privacy (the resort didn’t have all of the cabanas full), and they moved us quickly and without questions or problems. They were in cabana 9 and we were in 14, and both were beautifully decorated and had tables, sitting areas, and screened porches overlooking the ocean. Beds were so comfortable and bathrooms nice and clean. The staff were amazing, and we had an exceptionally good time with Cardinal, who led our snorkel and kayaking trips. He was genuinely friendly and so quick to help make our day trips/adventures accessible for our 3 year old.

The bar area sat partially over the ocean and had a great island-vibe. A pre-dinner snack and drinks were served here every night starting at 5:30, and usually everyone who was staying at the resort would go and socialize. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style, and there were always tons of options for what to eat. Dinner was a plated meal with an soup or salad, entre, and dessert, and everything was always amazing- practically on the gourmet side. Just a note, though- if you’re vegetarian, please let them know ahead of time. There was a vegetarian guest who did not inform them beforehand. They still managed to appease her, but, it couldn’t have been easy for them to do that, as there is obviously no grocery store anywhere near them to quickly get supplies.

There were always a good variety of options for the day trips, depending on which package you purchase. The last day was a bbq trip with all guests and a combined snorkel/scuba trip. It was a blast.

If you’re looking to stay somewhere off the beaten path and have a nearly-private vacation experience, Blackbird is ideal. We would return there in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank GBinPhilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 10, 2011

We just returned from our week-long stay at the Black Bird Caye resort in Belize.

Our stay there was fabulous - it is the best vacation we've ever had.

We were met at the airport by a van driver who took us to a waiting boat, which took us to Blackbird Caye. The journey from the airport to Blackbird Caye very painless - there was no waiting, no wondering what was going on, no anxious moments at all.

Our stay at the resort included a combination snorkel/sea kayaking package. On days that did not have special activities planned, we were taken out in the morning and in the afternoon in groups varying in size from 3 people up 8 or 9 people.

Each trip was led by at least one and usually two guides. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. They went to great lengths to find interesting things for us to see that we probably would not have noticed on our own.

Most of the daily snorkeling trips that we did involved the guides taking us in a motorboat to the morning or afternoon's snorkel spot. The guides chose the snorkeling location based upon what we wanted to do/see and the current weather conditions. The motorboats were very well maintained and the guides drove them expertly.

The snorkeling was really, really good. We saw a huge variety of reef and pelagic fishes - far too many to list. There were lots of neat marine invertebrates The coral was in good shape - lots of species and not lots of damage. One of the many nice things about our guides - they knew what most of things we saw were, and they also went to great lengths to make sure we saw rare creatures, or ones that we hadn't noticed.

There were no days on which we were frustrated by water visibility - it ranged from pretty good to very good (sorry, no idea of distance).

On one day of our stay, we were taken out on an all-day trip to the Blue Hole. We snorkeled while other guests went scuba diving. This trip included a barbecue/snorkel at the Lighthouse Reef Atoll's Half Moon Caye. We also visited a Red-footed booby rookery, which was astonishingly cool.

The resort had rental scuba and snorkeling equipment available. The equipment was very good and well maintained. I found that their rental equipment was actually much better than the equipment that my wife and I had brought with us.

On one of our days at the resort, I took a half-day scuba course that included classroom and shallow-water instruction and a (very highly) supervised dive. The dive was absolutely mind blowing. In spite of how much fun I had snorkeling at the Blue Hole, I sorely wish that I had been a 'real' scuba diver, and had gone scuba diving on the resort's Blue Hole dives!

The sea kayaking that we did was not hardcore, touring-style sea kayaking - it was more casual and fun. We would usually combine the sea kayak trips with snorkeling. That was exactly what we wanted - but if we had wanted hard-core, touring style trips, I'm pretty sure we could have done them.

The resort lodgings were really, really nice. Guests stay in stand-alone huts on the beach. Our hut had a thatched roof and a screened-in porch (with hammock). The two room (bedroom and bathroom) hut had electricity, running hot and cold water, a shower, a flush toilet and two beds. The hut also had an air conditioner, but the climate was so pleasant during our stay that we did not use it.

The huts were very, very clean. There was maid service twice a day.

Food was comprised of three meals a day, with snacks etc provided the rest of the time. And the food was *good* - curried conch, pecan encrusted grouper, pork chops, hand made pizza, that sort of thing. Guests had a choice of evening meal - usually the was between a seafood item, a meat item, or both.

Given all the positives above, it would have been a very good vacation. But what made it a great vacation was the resort's staff. To a person, they were charming, friendly, and just plain nice to be around. At the end of the week my wife and I were very sad to leave them. I'm smiling as I think of them now.

Room Tip: All of the guest lodging looked as good as ours.
  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank CrocoDale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2011

we went for a week long snorkelling trip. the food, service, accomodations were excellent. The snorkelling trip groups were small. Blue Hole was a great experience. Hopefully we will plan a second trip

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank sangoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2011

We just got back from a week at Blackbird Caye. We met some friends of our that we have dove with in Austrailia (and met some new ones). When we arrived at the airport, our ride was waiting for us. (Hint - buy a bottle of rum etc from the duty free shop and bring it with you.) He took us to the hotel in town were we had a pleasant lunch and enjoyed the view. We then left on 1.5 hour ride to the island. The ride was pleasant but a bit windy. (Make sure to take your sunscreen out and apply for the ride.) Once we arrived at the island, we had a short briefing and then were shown to our rooms. We stayed in cabana #12 which was really nice. The housing is primarily individual huts. Ours had a king bed, separate spacious living area, bathroom with drinkable water and a hot shower. My favorite part is the screened-in front porch ( with seating and a hammock) that faces east and toward the water. The sunrises were beautiful.

If you are looking for a relaxing remote dive vacation, this would be the place. Cardinal, our divemaster was wonderful. He always managed to spot the rays and eels before we would ever see them. We also saw a bunch of very friendly turtles. He is knowledgeable, very safety conscience and would join us in the lounge for happy hour while we looked at pictures from the dive each evening, while we tried to identify all the types of fish that we saw. We think his favorite fish was the juvinelle drum fish! Chris, the boat driver, was fantastic, followed our bubbles every time and made sure we were well taken care of. Leticia was our hostess, waitress and bartender. She made us feel like part of the family. She also makes a mean Pina Colada. And Phil... what can I say about Phil... He is the manager, secondary dive master and great storyteller. (just not sure how many of his stories to believe :) )

Overall, the three dives a day were great. Our favorite day was Tuesday where we dived the Blue Hole and the Aquirium site. Our last day was great on the way back from our last dive we got to get back in the water with some migrating pilot whales.

Overall, it was a great trip with good facilities, good food and great diving.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank DiverPaula
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2011

Stayed at Blackbird Resort for 4 nights at the beginning of a 16 day stay in Belize. Also stayed in Caye Caulker and Coco Plum Resort (check other reviews). Blackbird was wonderful. This is the place to stay for snorkelers. Divers were very happy too. Loved the program. Started early each day with at least two snorkel excursions/d. "Too Sweet" was a great guide. Of course best day out was trip to the blue hole, half moon caye and aquarium.

Phil the manager and the staff were great. Very attentive and always checked on how we were doing. Meals were wonderful with daily dinner choice, good lunch and breakfast. Units were perfect private cabanas, nicely furnished, well maintained. If we wanted to just relax or take a walk the choice was ours. We stayed busy in the water.

Originally arrived in Belize City the afternoon before and stayed at the Radisson on the waterfront and were picked up by Blackbird at 3 pm next day from Radisson dock. This was nice as it gave us a chance to walk about town in the morning, pick up some snacks and drinks for the stay.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank PandPYK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2011

Charming beachfront cottages, very tasty food, lovely snorkeling, adorable dolphins, and an engaging and capable staff, complete with a manager who looked after us like he was my Mom. Thanks, you guys, for the party.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank BrnDog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2011

We had first started looking into a trip to Belize in 2007 that would include snorkeling and visits to the Mayan ruins. This month we finally settled on just a 4-night snorkeling trip to escape the hard New England winter. We studied Fodor's, but in the end relied heavily on Trip Advisor Reviews to rule some places out and ultimately select our final choice of Blackbird Caye Resort. If you are reading this review, I know you will be able to read many, many 4's and 5's, and I am not going to say those people are wrong.... to each his own. What I hope to do with my comments is to give some tips as to how to make your visit here (if you choose it) better than our experience.

Firstly, let me be clear that if the weather is sunny, you will have little time to focus on the negatives. Our final day, which was the all day trip that included snorkeling at the Blue Hole, was fabulous.... one of the top snorkeling days of my 40+ years of enjoying the sport. However, Saturday afternoon when we landed in Belize, it was overcast, windy and rainy, and that weather lasted all day Sunday, and then remained cloudy and breezy but with no rain Monday. The rain and wind kept the shallow waters stirred up through the day on Sunday and only allowed limited snorkeling opportunities on Monday, in less than optimal lighting. So, although we knew before arriving that there was no TV, no Internet, no cell signal, etc., we brought some books, since we had counted on reading in the evening, just not for an entire day trapped in our room. When it is rainy at Blackbird Caye, there is absolutely nothing active to do, unless you can enjoy walking in a poncho.
Most people are likely bright enough to pack a rain/wind breaker, but we weren't, so be forewarned. Also, even if it is not inclement, the boat ride from Belize City to Turneffe Atoll (and back) is 1.5 hours in an open air craft that has a roof and limited roll-down sides, so you can be subject to wind and sea spray depending on where you have to sit. Like I said at the start, if it is sunny, everything else will pale in comparison.

The food was our biggest source of contention for us, both quality and quantity, but as a preface to this commentary, bring a clock. We were lulled into thinking such a trip to the outer reaches of civilization would equate to a relaxed schedule, but that was not the case. Even though no morning activities begin until 9:00 or 9:30, breakfast in the dining room begins at 7AM sharp, and if you get there by about 7:10, you could be out of luck. They had eggs every morning, but once gone, they were not replaced. This was also true for the fruit platter as well as some specialty breads. Be near the front of the line, or risk stoking up on Raisin Bran or Frosted Mini-Wheats for your morning fuel.

We had requested no fat yogurt for breakfast, and although they provided it, we didn't have it the first morning. So, if you have special dietary needs, let them know well in advance and be sure to ASK for whatever it is, even if it is repeatedly. Lunch is the big meal of the day, and seemed to be available in enough quantities to make being a little late a non-issue, but for on our picnic lunch at Half Moon Caye on Tuesday, there was not enough barbeque chicken for most people to have a second piece. Dinner is sit-down at 7PM, and the most peculiar aspect of this meal is that everybody is served exactly the same amount on each plate. So, as a 170 lb man, I was expected to be as sated as my 110 lb wife, which makes no sense. And there are no seconds. So, here is where the room refrigerator COULD come in handy. They stand empty in each room because there is no where on Truneffe Atoll to buy food. If you can, while waiting for the boat, get a cab to take you to a local super market and get some snacks and/or drinks for your room. Snacks, by the way, are available in the dining room between meals, but are limited to Pringles, Ritz Crackers, peanut butter and sometimes muffins or bread leftover from breakfast. For the price of staying here, one should not have to go to bed hungry or eat crackers to fill up!

The staff is friendly and willing to please, but remember to ask for things, as it seemed in general that nothing was offered. We were not diving, but we met Cardinal, the diving guide, who was friendly and got accolades from the divers we spoke to. The snorkeling guide, "Too Sweet", was friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive. He was very good at finding sea life for us to see, keeping an eye on the group and learning the capabilities of the individuals. We also had a half day of kayak instruction from Michael, the kayak specialist, who was also friendly and knowledgeable.

The rooms were clean and rustically simple, as expected. Our “superior” cabin was approximately 15’ x 20’ with ceiling fan, basic bathroom with a 2-person shower and screened porch on the front with a hammock. Rooms have small safes, by the way, for your passports and money. There is really no need for other valuables of any kind at Blackbird Caye. The proximity to good snorkeling and diving areas not frequented by the hoards from the mainland is terrific, so hope for good weather, bring a food stash and your experience ought to be memorable.

Anticipating the ensuing question as to whether or not I would recommend this hotel to a friend, with the above understanding of what to expect, I will answer a qualified "yes".

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank snorkelingfan46
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 #3 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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