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“Great Diving Resort”

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Blackbird Caye Resort
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great Diving Resort”
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Diving services. Outstanding. The principle Dive Master, Cardinal, is among the best DMs we have ever had over our many years of diving in the Caribbean. He was extremely safety conscious and courteous, and he explained all dives extremely well, catering to the needs of all divers. He has a sincere desire to preserve the reef and to ensure that everyone had a good time while diving safely. Eli and Emric were great DMs as well, although we didn't spend as much time with Emric. Thanks SO much to Eli for saving our diving vacation by changing our first stages of our regulators - we have noted to never leave home without the DIN/yoke converters again!
The dive shop looked after all of our dive gear other then on the very first dive where they wanted to ensure all divers could put their own gear together and had tested it for themselves. On each dive we were allowed 50 minutes, and then did our safety stop making each dive close to one hour. Because each dive spot was usually only a few minutes boat ride away from the resort we were able to come back to the resort between dives, which was outstanding. On the dives we saw lots of sea life including turtles, large fish such as groupers, sting and eagle rays, many moray eels out of the hiding areas, and a nurse shark. The night dive was wonderful on which we were able to see an octopus, several toad fish, crab as well as a variety of other night life.
Our room was extremely clean and maid service was provided twice per day. We had a duplex unit and would ask for the same again. We never heard the guests in the other half.
The menu was superb. We often find that we overeat or eat all of the wrong things when we travel, but the food at Blackbird was always so healthy and so delicious that we ate without guilt and always had plenty of variety. It was great to have the healthy choices, and it was just another example of the thought that goes into the well-run organization of the resort.
Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with a good variety to chose from along with fresh fruits and juices.
There was always a choice of two entrees for dinner or you could have a combination of both choices. Snacks were provided between meals at 10 am and at happy hour at 5 pm.
The manager, Paul, has only been at Blackbird for a few weeks, yet his energy and sincerity made everyone feel very welcome and relaxed.
I think the thing that impressed us the most was the tremendous attitude at the resort. The resort is very small with only about 18 rooms in total, and the staff were all extremely friendly. The atmosphere was perfect for allowing all of the guests to quickly get to know each other as well as the front line staff, resulting in a quick bond forming between everyone.
My only complaint is that I wish the Blue Hole trip was included in the Dive Package. It is very expensive, $240 each so we chose not to do it, although all who went loved it. The blue hole dive itself was not the main attraction but more the two other dives of the day as well as the visit to the bird sanctuary.
A few final points: We did not experience any mosquitoes. Each room has its own small safe; we felt very secure on the resort and never felt that we needed to have locked doors or use the safe provided for our electronics/camera gear. There are many kayaks available so that no one was ever left waiting for the opportunity to take a trip out to the nearby reef to snorkel or to just enjoy the area.
All in all, we had an excellent stay at Blackbird Caye Resort.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank TraceyandJim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (151)
Date | Rating
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English first
Catonsville, MD
Level Contributor
25 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2013

My partner and I rarely return to places. We figure there is a very big world out there still left to see and experience. But we both want to go back to Blackbird Caye (pronounced "key"). Here are some things that made it so special: our own island (shared only by a small marine research center and a fishing camp), our own cabana (comfortable, spacious and quiet), simple but delicious food (mostly fish and local fruits and vegs), luxurious diving (they treat the guests like royalty) and, most importantly, exceptional staff. The only complaints I heard were from people who could not surrender to the amazing escape that this place is. Do not go if you need cell reception or an internet connection 24/7 or entertainment beyond the sea, sky and wildlife or luxurious accommodations. If you want to go barefoot for a week, gaze into a night sky with more stars than you've ever seen, and feel yourself idling at a very low speed, then answer the call. This place is a gem.

Room Tip: The cabanas are quite different in location and character. Ask about them to choose which suits you...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank MOT_Catonsville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Danville, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2013

I just returned from my 5th trip to Blackbird and it remains the most perfect vacation I've ever had. They have a gorgeous resort with individual oceanfront cabanas on a pristine beach with crystal clear waters. And, as gorgeous as it is, what truly separates it from other beautiful resorts is the staff. I have never met such hard working, knowledgeable, happy, sweet and just plain down to earth personnel. They are always smiling, cheerful and willing to do anything and everything to make your vacation special. Lita, Mansfield and Delia are phenominal cooks with Lita making the best spaghetti ever.....She made it twice because I told her how much I liked it. Mansfield and the other cooks made a special cake welcoming back myself and 3 other regulars.

The cleaning staff and groundskeepers did a beautiful job maintaining my cabana and the beach. Aixa, Ron, Ian, Eden were the waitstaff always the biggest smiles in the morning and always wanting to be sure my vacation was going well. Ron makes one hell of a cocktail with strawberries, bananas, coconut rum topped with the umbrella. Ian also makes a great tropical drink!!! Their service was top notch. Aixa went out of her way to be sure I had water,milk, ice and anything else I needed. She got towels for my room and was always asking if I had everything I needed. She is a total sweetheart.

The dive masters, Cardinal, Emerick, Eli helped me whenever I was on the dock or in the dive boat.

As a snorkeler, most of my water time was with Chris, the snorkel guide. He is truly the best and has a great eye for pointing out sea critters. He also takes great photos for me using my camera. He is the best.

And the new manager, Paul, is the best I've seen at Blackbird. He is always smiling and willing to do anything the guests need to make a great vacation. He sets a tranquil, competent, fun, and just plain delightful mood for the entire resort.

To all of you..thank you for making my 5th visit to Blackbird the best one. I can't wait for my 6th visit.

Room Tip: My favorite cabanas are the the deluxe and superior ones.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank LindaM826
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton
Level Contributor
49 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2013

Blackbird Caye is a special place, the deserted island you have always dreamed about. I would go back in a heart beat!

Blackbird Caye on Turneffe Atoll is an exceptional place. It is located about an hour and a half by boat from Belize City.You catch the boat from the Radisson Dock and from then on you are part of the Blackbird family. The manager couldn't be more friendly and helpful, and greets every boat upon arrival, including returning dive and snorkel boats. In fact, I would describe every single staff member at Blackbird as exceptional. Always friendly and helpful with a big smile on their faces.

Unlike Ambergris Caye and other atolls in the area, Turneffe is more or less uninhabited. Blackbird Caye is home to only the resort and an Oceanic Research station. The rest is all beach, sand and palm trees surrounded by clear blue water.There are also mangroves ringing the coast in many areas. Guests each have their own cabana, all looking directly onto the beach. The cabanas are constructed palapa style, with high roofs constructed of palm fronds. There is a screen porch with hammock and private bathroom. The rooms are spacious and the beds are comfortable. There is a separate restaurant palapa and bar palapa, both circular in shape.

Blackbird Caye is primarily a dive resort, although we were there to snorkel. The snorkelling was great, with very clear water and excellent visibility. There are an abundance of fish and the variety is excellent. You can also expect to see sharks, rays and even sea turtles. There are purple sea fans, brain coral and even staghorn coral.

You can also go kayaking, which we did. Some people kayak out to the reef, which is not far offshore. You can see rays in the shallow water which is protected by the reef. Much of the sea bottom is covered in eel grass. We kayaked around the island both ways, seeing fish in the mangroves, flying fish leaping out of the water, frigate birds fishing and an osprey. Everywhere there are herons, terns, pelicans, grackles and cormorants.

Blackbird is also home to Belize's largest population of saltwater crocodiles.They live in the lagoon directly behind the cabanas, and also in the swamp near the Oceanic Research Centre. We were lucky to see crocodiles in both places, and on our last night, one of the crocodiles paid a visit to the dock. The manager had mentioned that we could expect a visit, so we were very happy when "Fluffy" finally put in an appearance. Fluffy swims all the way around the island from the lagoon to visit the Blackbird Dock. He is looking for fish heads, etc that might be thrown into the water. We watched him swim around the dock looking for dinner for some time. Everyone was out watching with flashlights and taking pictures, I guess he is used to it.

The highlight of our stay was the trip to Lighthouse Atoll. This is another virtually uninhabited atoll, which contains the famous Great Blue Hole. But the real highlight of the trip was at the other stops. Half Moon Caye is postcard-perfect island that is a bird sanctuary. The water is crystal clear and a beautiful turquoise color. The snorkelling is right off shore and fantastic. A walk to the bird sanctuary is a real surprise. You climb up the observation tower and once at tree level are immediately surrounded by hundreds of birds (frigate birds and red footed boobies), with their nests and chicks. They are not bothered by the observers and you can watch them flying and tending to their young.

The last stop was Long Caye, with the best snorkeling ever. The water is crystal clear and the variety and color of the fish is the best I have ever seen. Not to be missed!

The food is excellent, with breakfast and lunch served buffet style, and dinner a set menu with two choices. Dinner is always exceptionally good. Breakfast is served at 7:00am, lunch at 1:00pm, Dinner at 7:00pm and Happy Hour at 5:00pm.

Things to know:
There is no television and no WiFi in the rooms. There is WiFi in the office and guests are welcome to sit in the lobby to use their laptops and phones.

There is no cell phone service on the island

Hair dryers are not provided

The water temperature is VERY hot so watch out!

Down the beach away from the resort there is a lot of garbage and plastic washed up on the beach. Sad to think that even this remote place can't escape our polluting ways.

Doors are not lockable and we never had any problems at all

The maids clean your room twice a day

The resort is about 20 years old and the bathrooms are beginning to show their age, although every works perfectly.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Okavanga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
70 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013

I traveled here with a group from my local dive shop. Our group rented out the entire resort, so in the interest of full disclosure, the leader of our group handled all the reservations for lodging, travel and dive arrangements, problems, etc., so we didn't have to deal with any of that. We stayed in a deluxe cabana and it was exactly as advertised, quiet and clean with plenty of space for two people and lots of dive gear. The cleaning staff did a great job everyday mopping up all the sand and dirt we dragged in after diving and walking the beach. The meals were varied and there was plenty of food. The resort staff was very friendly and knew us all by name by the second day. The dive staff was awesome and took care of all our gear and were very safe. The location can't be beat and the dive sites are so close given that the resort is on an island. It is worth the trip from the mainland to stay there. We did get quite a few bug bites even when coated with deet, but it is the tropics and was expected. I will say that we did not notice any bugs in our room, however a member of our group who was in a standard room got eaten alive every night while sleeping. I couldn't given this resort an excellent rating because our group did have a problem with security. The resort does not give keys so your room is unlocked all day when you are away (you can lock the door at night but not when you are out). A couple items were stolen, including bathing suit bottoms and an iPad. We were not warned when we arrived that security had been a problem recently. Blackbird is the only resort on the island, but there is also a research station and nothing from stopping anyone with a boat from landing and wandering around. Check-out was a hassle for some members of our group, particularly those with a tab, but we didn't have any issues. Overall I would recommend the resort, particularly for divers, but use the safe for important items and don't leave expensive items on the porch or in plain sight in your room.

Room Tip: Quieter rooms are the Deluxe and Standard cabanas which are on the south and north ends of the resor...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank nessren13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2013

When I arrived at Blackbird Caye Resort and saw thatched cabanas without phones and TV’s, I wondered how I would make it through the week. Three dives a day, three meals and two books later, the week was over and I couldn’t believe I had to go home! All staff, without exception, were friendly and willing to make the extra effort to make my stay even more comfortable. The accommodations were not fancy but had all that I needed. Each day, I returned from the morning dives to find the bed made, bathroom cleaned and towels exchanged. Meals were good and our wait staff attentive. We were there to scuba dive and had some great underwater experiences with our dive masters Cardinal, Eli and John. The Playground dive site on the Blue Hole trip was one of the best and not to be missed. In fact, Blackbird Caye Resort is not to be missed!

Room Tip: Opt for one of the newly renovated cabanas.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank slwtravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waverly, Iowa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 25, 2013

I have traveled all over the world and I can say Blackbird Resort is now my favorite place on earth!A beautiful,untouched island with plenty to do or just to relax.I was traveling with my 16 year old son so wanted a safe place to go.There is no crime there.Nobody locked their doors and many a time I left my camera or Ipad out somewhere and nothing was taken.In fact,my son left $20 in his pocket which housekeeping returned after doing our laundry.Rubin and other staff entertained my son by playing volley ball and soccer.Ran(bartender)went to get me 2 of his own bottles of sun screen for me to have when I ran out.Aixa was very attentive in the dining area.Ian(bartender) was off for the day and when he heard we wanted to have a pool party for our last night came over to bartend and play music for us.Cardinal(dive master)kept a close attention to detail and was very concious about safety.Nothing seemed to pass by him.Chris would take us out on trips and knew just where to go see things based on the weather etc.He would dive down and bring up things for us to see.He knew alot about aquatic life.If you want to experience a tropical area that is untouched and has a wonderful staff that you have a hard time saying good by to,try Blackbird!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Martha1961
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

Property: 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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