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Blackbird Caye Resort
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Turneffe Island Resort(Turneffe Island)
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  • Free Wifi
  • Breakfast included
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All reviewsbreakfast and lunchblue holebelize citydive masterdive sitesbig birdfishlaid backother guestsserved buffet styledive staffthe managersturneffe atollgreat divingscreened in porchoff the beaten pathdeluxe cabana
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Reviewed December 16, 2012

The logistics of getting to the (private) island was good for us. There was a rep to meet us in Belize City and transfers were very smooth. Once on the island we got a briefing (although it could have been more informative) and it really didn’t matter to me but they never asked us how many dives we have under our belt or when our last dive was, and we were ready to dive the next day.

The dive staff was AMAZING!! It was as if we were on a liveaboard on land. The only gear I touched all week was my wetsuit. They took care of it all. Although I did check my reg and BC before every dive just to make sure. Unfortunately the Lionfish population was abundant. But on every dive there were a few ELFS that we were able to use and the Lion Fish hunt was on. A lot of fun! We fed some of them to the groupers and Green Morays and brought back a lot for us to eat. Very delicious!! I recommend eating them highly. They were Eagle Rays, stingrays, Nurse Sharks, huge Groupers, crabs, eels, toadfish, tarpon and all the usual suspects. Water temp around 78 and viz around 70'. The one problem we had was that Nitrox was included in the price of the dives but it was not available to us because it was broken and the excuse given to us was that there is only 1 person in all of Belize that can fix it and he was in the hospital. So if you are qualified to maintain Nitrox machines, I would get down to Belize, and if it is true that there is only 1 who can maintain them, you should make a fortune.

The accommodations were nice. We had upgraded to the Deluxe Room that gave us a bedroom with a king size bed, a sitting room with a couch, chair, small 2-chair table for snacks (?), a mini fridge and a bathroom. All very nice. Maid service every day with chocolate on your pillow.

The food was good. Breakfast and lunch was served buffet style although not a huge choice very adequate. At lunch they would come around and give you a choice of 2 different entrees for dinner and you could ask for both if you so desired. The wait staff was very accommodating and was very attentive to your needs.

There is a separate building over the water that serves as a meeting area, bar and gift shop with a large screen TV that was not working. The satellite was out.

The free wifi that was advertised was in the office only and that room was about 12' x 12' and with 3 or 4 people using it was extremely slow.

As I mentioned earlier this is a private island. With that said, keys for the rooms were not given out, or offered, since we were supposed to be the only ones on the island. As I found out later in the week, Blackbird rents out a section of the island for a oceanic research facility.
The check out process was extremely painful. We were told that you can pay your tab anytime after 7pm. I believe there were 7 units that had to check out. I got to the office at about 7:30 and was seen at 10:45. I expected that my last night in Belize was going to be at the bar with all my fellow divers talking war stories but instead I was in an office waiting my turn to PAY them. Needless I was not a happy camper!! So after all their apologies and going over our tab, I was "released" about 11:15.

So I go back to my room and go to bed. At 11:15 my wife gets up to take a sleeping pill because she can't get to sleep. She walks into the sitting room and turns on a light and sees someone crouched on the floor behind the couch and ran back into the bedroom and screamed that there was some one in the room! I went into the sitting room and he was gone. I went outside and of course it was dark and could not fine anyone. When I came back to our room and comforted my wife we looked for anything missing. Her beach bag was on the floor by the couch and was missing some money and my dive watch was gone. Thank God that was all and we were not physically injured. When I saw the managers the next morning (because I had no idea were their unit was because we were not told that if there was an emergency were to find them and there were no phones) and told them of our incident, they had a feeling that it was someone from the research facility and they called the Coast Guard which immediately responded. The Coast Guard went and picked up a suspect but he did not possess the money nor the watch that was stolen and my wife never saw his face.
Blackbird was extremely apologetic and said they will make restitution's.

Will I go back...Only if they change their operating procedures. The dive op was top notch. Everything else was 3rd class. Wi-Fi limited, Satellite out, no Nitrox, limited bar (ran out of vodka), checkout was hair pulling, and the excuses for all of the logistics was not acceptable. The owners of Blackbird better wake up before Turneffe Island Resort takes over that section of Belize. I haven't stayed at Turneffe before but I will give them a try before I go back to Blackbird.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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20  Thank diverbill55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlackbirdCayeResort, Front Office Manager at Blackbird Caye Resort, responded to this reviewResponded December 18, 2012

December 17, 2012

Dear Mr. Mosel

We thank you for your feedback and apologize for the inconveniences you experienced the week you stayed at Blackbird Caye Resort. Blackbird Caye is an established resort known world-wide and has been successfully operating for over 20 years. Through the years the resort has enjoyed excellent reviews and our best compliment is our repeat guests who keep coming year after year to the peaceful and safe surroundings of this privately owned island.

We appreciate your feedback on the check-out system and we have already upgraded to a faster and simpler way to reconcile the receipts at the end of the trip. We understand the first and last night of the guest’s vacations will set the tone of their stay. We certainly do not want to taint the wonderful experience the guests had at the resort.

As you mentioned we don’t offer keys to the guests because we pride ourselves in the safety of the island for the past 20 years. An incident like this has never occurred at the resort, and it was not reported to the island managers until the next morning where we then contacted the neighboring coastguard authorities, who are now investigating the case. The field station is its own entity and is not rented by Blackbird. We are sure that the blackbird staff is not part of this as they have been part of our team for over 15 years. Blackbird goes through strict measures when hiring staff with a complete background check.

We use the satellite in such a remote location but we are thankful that while not the fastest, we can offer Wi-Fi connectivity. We are in the process of increasing the band/width on the island. Part of the beauty of the island and allure to stay at Blackbird is the fact that guests love to be able to disconnect.

The nitrox was down because there was no-one available at that time to get it up and running; however it has been done a few days after your departure. Again we are sorry for the inconvenience.

Although the case in currently under investigation, In good faith and to ensure we exceed the expectations of our guests we have made the refund on the amount claimed missing, and bought as well as shipped the missing item to you. We also did not charge you for private air transfers to the resort.

We appreciate your reservation and the opportunity to serve you and truly apologize for the way your vacation ended. Your feedback will help us to improve please look for your future booking discount on your email.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

My new husband and I enjoyed a week long trip to the Blackbird Caye Resort for our honeymoon. We were originally just planning on snorkeling, but once we got there we couldn't pass up the opportunity to get our PADI certification and actually get to see the amazing reefs up close. The resort seems to be under new management, as J.W. and Annie just took over. They are great. So helpful and genuinely interested in making this place the best it can be. J.W. taught our course and got us out in the open water as soon as we were ready (after the confined water dives in the newly built infinity pool) and we got to see some incredible reefs, along with rays,turtles, sharks, eels, and a million other beautiful underwater wildlife.

The Blue Hole is a must - seemed a bit pricey at first (at 200+ per person for the day trip), but totally worth it. That price included 3 amazing dives, plus a fantastic BBQ spread prepared on Half Moon Caye (and seriously, that island is straight out of a paradise movie), entrance to the Half Moon reserve (it's a world heritage site) & the bird sanctuary, and relaxation in this perfect spot. DO it.

There were surely a few things that aren't perfect, as they work out the kinks of being under new management, but things are coming along. They are building a new poolside bar which was under construction during our week, but should be done in time for the next group. Also, there is really no option for any snacking between the meals. The food was great (always a seafood and other option), but especially when diving and being active you need energy through out the day. We're more of the "small meals throughout the day" kinda people and this was not an option. Not even snacks like almonds, or granola bars in the gift shop -so definitely bring your own. The meals are 7am, 1pm, and 7pm, so if you happen to sleep in - there's NOTHING til 1pm. There are some little munchies at 5pm in the bar along with a wonderful bartender Ranhal - he was so thoughtful and just so good to us all week. ALSO, the sand flies pretty much attacked me all week (not the fault of the resort, but had a very negative effect on me, nonetheless). Not an exaggeration, I look like I have the measles or the chicken pox. Bring DEET repellent. Put it on EVERYDAY on EVERY surface of your body, and plan ahead and bring hydrocortisone (none in the giftshop) because I'm still waking up itching 3 days later...They have wifi in the office, but the speed is SLOW. It didn't bother me, because I just wanted to ignore the world for a week, but some people seem to prioritize accessibility.

Back to the good stuff. The place was gorgeous, we walked along the beach, enjoyed our beautiful cabana, read our books and took naps in the hammock, on the beach, or by the pool, had some of the most incredible dives in the world with the best divemaster - Cardinal, and awesome boat driver Leo. The list could go on. We also did a special romance/honeymoon package which included a small place flight to the island (instead of the 2hr boat ride) and a fruit basket and bottle of wine to welcome us, along with a champagne bottle which we decided to save until our private dinner served on the beach outside our bungalow! Ian (one of the amazingly friendly waitstaff) was our personal butler for the night and it was complete with tiki torches and candles - totally unforgettable experience under the stars with the warm Belizean breeze and the ocean lapping just a few feet away. For sure opt in for this package if you are doing a honeymoon or anniversary - it was really special.

All in all, it was an incredible trip to a beautiful place to share a week with my new husband, and get certified in an awesome new skill! Wonderful experience.

Room Tip: We stayed in the superior deluxe - the biggest of the cabanas and has a beautiful and big King sized bed, a living room, and little sitting/dining area, along with a screened in porch with hammock and of course the ocean right out front. We were in Bungalow 11, which had trees partially blocking our view from inside but also made it more private, and all we had to do was walk outside and lay on the lounge chairs out front to appreciate the ocean.
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank mms2152
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2012

We just ngot back last night from our week at Blackbird and couldn't wait to post a review. We were not divers, just did snorkeling and we had a wonderful time. We saw lobsters, rays, sharks, all the beautiful reef fish, eels, and cuttle fish. Our guide Cris was an expert in finding us the most active and beautiful places to snorkel. We really enjoyed the remotness and quiet of the resort. The new managers, J.W. and Annie were great. The entire staff were friendly and professional, the food was fabulous (Mansfield even gave me the recipe for the salsa), portions were perfect.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank CindyH156
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2012

Visited in July 2012 on a groupon deal. Went with several other friends on a dive trip and it was amazing. The staff is beyond friendly and relaxed. Everyone is always in a great mood, smiling and laughing. Cardinal, Leo and Ron to name a few were amazing. The bugalows are comfortable and well decorated. The dive boats and facilities are perfect. A wonderful atmosphere in which you can totally relax. Oh and the food is amazing... You will eat like a king or queen. I am a vegetarian who does not eat fish either and they made me the most amazing dishes with tofu (which I do not even usually like) veggies and fruit. There is a fish or meat option for dinner as well which everyone seemed to enjoy. The diving is fantastic with beautiful corals, reefs and wall dives. The day tour to the blue hole and lighhouse reef is not to be missed. Being on turneffe atoll feels like being on your own private island and I would highly recommend a stay with the blackbird caye resort.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Jenn S
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 reviewResponded October 18, 2012

Hello Jen, Thank you for the kind words about our staff and the resort it 's of great encouragement to them and us. We hope to see you again sometime!

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Reviewed September 29, 2012

This resort is for divers. This is the central activity that is promoted at the resort, which is located in a very pretty section of the reef. The resort is the main structure on the Caye and apart from the guest rooms (which are cabins, with different levels of features) has a covered bar on the beach and a dining hall. The staff are all very sweet and accommodating. The bar is stocked with a wide range of liquors. Seafood prepared at the dining hall is pretty much caught the same day (sometimes just before the pot, pan or oven is heated up).

Many reviews about this resort will probably say in different ways that the diving is superb. It is, there is actually no way to adequately describe how tranquil, beautiful and diverse the dive sites are. The dive master makes you feel more than comfortable with his skill. All boats used are in tip top shape and you can tell that are well maintained. They take their safety serious as well. This is quite comforting as a visitor.

I have read that the previous managers were not liked by other visitors. I believe that they are gone now and the new manager is a darling to deal with.

It is nice to take off your slippers and spend your time walking on the white sands during the day. Hammocks outside cabins are handy for watching sunrises, or seeing the sky become golden in the evening then change to night. The night sky is magnificent.thRusts can be quite a lot of activity during the day with the outings but this makes for some solid sleeping at night. After a few days of constant excursions, when it was time to leave I honestly did not feel tired at all, just extremely refreshed.

Also, the resort has wi-fi Internet, which is a blessing if one needs a break to check news, sports, email or Facebook.

Room Tip: Management is very friendly and can discuss a variety of options with guests. All rooms face the ocean and have wonderful views of the reef.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Rishi771
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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