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“It just doesn't get any better....”

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Turneffe Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Certificate of Excellence
Huntington Beach, California, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“It just doesn't get any better....”
Reviewed September 20, 2012

Just back from my 5th trip to the resort and every trip is as enjoyable and fun as the 1st was. The island is gorgeous, the staff warm and friendly, the accomodations spacious, beautiful and comfortable, the food is excellent and the diving fantastic! It is small and intimate, 40 guests max and no TV, radio, telephones, cars to distract you. You are truely off-the-grid, which I find unique and welcome.The family style dining encourages lots of interaction between and among the guests which just adds to the rich experience. It is true what they say...Arrive as strangers, leave as friends. You are catered to as a guest, yet feel like family. Alain and Maya are great hosts and manage the island well taking exceptional care of the guests. Daniel and John, as dive master and boat captain, take excellent care of the divers keeping them safe and taking them to the best spots each day. The valet style diving with quickly spoil you and the sites are only 10 minutes from the island allowing for surface intervals back on shore giving you a potty break and the opportunity for sampling the days fresh cookies delivered to the dive shop. Your gear is kept clean, safe and ready on the boat for each and every one of the 15 dives. Both Daniel and John have worked together as a team for years and it shows! I always request to dive on their boat...not to take anything away from Brad and Marcel, who are also excellent at their jobs. Both Sheryl and George behind the bar keep you happy and hydrated with delicious cocktails, as well as the many games and tricks George will entertain you with. The ladies on staff in the kitchen, spa and caring for the rooms include Orsel, Violet, Marcella, Mary, Beverly, Tiffany, Delvorine, Bertha and the others (whose names I am embarrassed to say escape me) deliver excellence in every category and at every turn. Their contributions are numerous and should not go unnoticed since they greatly enrich the overall enjoyment and experience. They cater to any and all food needs, specialties or limits making sure each guest gets exactly what they need and want whether they are vegetarian, gluten free, lactose intolerant or just have certain special preferences. Just let them know when you book and it is all taken care of for you when you arrive. Eddie and Jose run the office and are great at what they do, not to mention enjoyable people. I could go on and on, but let's just wrap things up by saying Turneffe Island Resort is a true vacation filled with fun, relaxation, great people and a great experience....one you will want to repeat over and over and over again.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Teri T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Livermore, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2012

We spend our 4th of July holiday at the beautiful Turneffe Island Resort. If you enjoy 1st class diving and accommodations, this is the best place to stay. TIR is one of the closest resorts to Blue Hole (about an hour boat ride) and has outstanding dive spots (e.g., The Elbow, Fabian's Shallows, Billy Bob's, etc.) right off the resort, about a 5-minute boat ride. It was convenient to have our surface interavals back at the resort rather than killing time on a boat.
We arrived at the airport and was greeted by the driver for the resort. We were scammed by a guy who wanted to load our luggage onto a cart and take it to the van, which was right across the walkway. I got the impression this guy and the driver knew each other, so if you don't want to be reminded from this guy that he accepts tips separate from the driver, hold on to your luggage and wheel it the 50 feet to the van yourself. The van ride through Belize City to get to the dock is about 30 minutes. Belize City itself is run down, a stark contrast to TIR. There is a quick bathroom break before boarding at a decent hotel at the dock before the 90-minute boat ride to the resort. The boat is beautiful and whether you sit below or above with the captain, every seat is a good seat. It's well taken care of and looks new. Of all the dive boats we saw on the water, TIR had the nicest boat -- lots of room. We were offered a tropical punch, 'with' or virgin, as a welcome drink from one of the resort managers, Maya, a lovely young woman who provides outstanding service to her guests.
The resort is managed by a young couple who recently celebrated their 1st year anniversary. Alain and Maya are exceptional managers, making sure the guests have everything they need, and motivating the staff in allowing them to do their best work. Conversations with different staff members indicated Alain & Maya have been the best managers they've had in years, respecting their knowledge of how best to manage and implement ideas that continue to make this a high-end resort. The grounds are well-maintained, the rooms are very clean and spacious, and the food is delicious and abundant. The dive crew are very professional and knowledgeable as well as extremely likeable. We had rooms closest to the dive shop and loved the location. They started work around the same time we had our coffee/tea/hot chocolate delivered to our enclosed porch every morning, but they weren't loud. I think other guests were envious of our location since we could gear-up on our porch and walk over without having to combat horse flies at the dive shop or overheat walking to the boat.
Our daughter, who was 14, was with us and in an adjoining room. The access door was on the porch, which is enclosed to keep flying bugs out of your room. We've stayed in other places where the cleaning staff leave the doors open while cleaning and mosquitoes are in your room all night, but that is not the case here. There is an outside shower, which we used exclusively, and never turned the water on in the inside shower. There is also a small safe bolted to a shelf in the closet for valuables (watches, jewelry, money, etc.) and a mini-fridge. The water is desalinated and taste pretty good. Bottled water, soda, beer are for sale in the office, which is open 8am-5pm. All rooms have air-conditioners and hair dryers.
Every morning, the staff would deliver your choice of coffee, tea or hot chocolate to your porch by 6:30 am. On the tray would be a morning note with the weather, tides, sunset time, tips, spa info, and the most highly awaited information -- what's for lunch! Breakfast was at 7:30 am, and always had plenty of fruit, toast, eggs, breaskfast meats, pancakes and daily specials. Just enough time to eat, get geared up, and hop in the boat by 8:15 am. I may be off a little on the times, but there was plenty of time to eat and get ready. There are two smaller boats that hold 12 divers each, and we were assigned Brad and Marcel for the time we were there. Five minute ride, hour dive, back to resort for surface interval (snacks available all day), another great dive, then shower up for lunch - don't forget to check the board for the dinner menu. Rest, dive again, then shower up for appetizers in the bar. Jorge, the bartender, opens promptly at 4 pm, with daily specials, and appetizers arrive at 6 pm, with dinner at 7 pm. Every meal was outstanding and save room for dessert. Go to bed, sleep, repeat.
We did a night dive on Thursday, and if the blood worms are out, you may want to opt for another day dive instead. Our highlight was, of course, Blue Hole, which was a 60-minute boat ride on the big boat. We were one of the first people out there because TIR is located so close, and it was everything we hoped for. We spent the rest of the day on two other cayes, Half Moon Caye with the booby bird sanctuary, and Long Caye Wall. The most amazing dive spots, with swim-throughs and small caves. Lunch was on Half Moon with enough time to walk the island and see the boobies. On Friday, look forward to an outstanding BBQ dinner followed by hermit crab racing.
If you want to stay at an exclusive resort with outstanding diving, fabulous food, great staff, awesome managers and entertaining guests with interesting stories to tell, this is the place to be. It was worth every penny. We were told the weather is best in June because the sun shines every day and the bugs aren't bad, but our trip was just fine. We did have a few showers now and then, but the temps averaged highs 88 F and lows 78 F, with winds 5-15 knots to keep the bugs away. The few showers we had were when we weren't diving, though I do remember sprinkles a few times on the way back once. We had plenty of sun and was nice not having the sun beating down on us all the time. Bring sunscreen and bug spray. We never used our mesh bags or dry bags since surface intervals were back at the resort. Dive light would be a good idea, and any clean jokes or bar tricks to share with Jorge to expand his arsenal. The staff prefer cash tips at the end of your stay, but you can put it on your tab and specify how to break it out or deliver it via envelopes provided in the office. Be prepared to give 12-15% of your package price in tips -- they are definitely worth it. There are postcards, cookbooks and shirts for sale, and limited handmade jewelry. Any other trinkets would be at the airport. The only negative thing I can say about the place is many of the hammocks are too low and you scrape bottom when you get in one -- that's an easy fix!! We lived without WiFi for 10 days and it wasn't a problem. No need for electricity adapters -- we brought our own iPhone and speakers which worked great for music in our room.

Room Tip: Every room is a great choice. We loved staying closer to the dive shop. The double unit, I think...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank RosebudRose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison
Level Contributor
44 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2012

If you want to really get away from it all and you have some adventure in your soul then you should try Turneffe Island Resort. We’ve been to the resort six times now and enjoyed it thoroughly, as always. My husband dives and fishes, I snorkel, so we sample all the main activities. The diving here is better than anywhere else in Belize, being right on the reef, minutes from loads of excellent dive sites. It’s the same for snorkeling. The sites are amazing and the sea life plentiful and varied. The fishing is great. Again – the flats are minutes away, so you can fish all day with a nicely packed lunch from the kitchen, or come back for a break and go out again later. My husband caught a lot of bonefish and a few small permit, along with barracuda, snook and others.
The biggest asset at the resort is the staff and management. They are attentive and do a marvelous job of making a guest feel at home. The guest count on any week is 40 or less, the grounds are well groomed, the food is fresh and nicely prepared. There are no phones or TV. It all adds up to a comfortable and relaxing vacation experience. Somehow, they blend a feeling of camaraderie among the guests, with the feeling of being on your own private island.
The bar is manned by Jorge (George) most weeks. He makes a great drink and his magic tricks keep the bar laughing and engaged.
The dive masters, snorkel guides and fishing guides do a fabulous job of gauging the experience level of guests and making sure everyone has the best possible dive/fishing trip/snorkel adventure.
Food is great, including Belizean cuisine, made to order breakfast, and local seafood. Morning coffee service is lovely. Housekeeping supplies plenty of fresh, fluffy towels and nightly turn-down service.
We normally come to Turneffe Island Resort in March/April. August was better for fishing, and the water was very warm. We had rain a few times but mainly at night, so it didn’t restrict any activities. Also, it was lobster season so we had lobster at several meals.
In our opinion, it’s a great place to relax and de-stress.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ELEMENTALMadison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Padua, Italy
Level Contributor
99 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2012

Very expensive . Food poor. Friendly people host you, but in a sort of <boy-scout> style. There are not free boats to go around: you must follow the group. Snorkeling almost impossible. We cannot suggest this resort to normal turists. It is worth only for appassionate skuba-diving

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Torzog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island, NY
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2012

Turneffe Island Resort was our top choice for our scuba diving honeymoon. Overall, it was everything people raved about and more-we couldn't have been more pleased! Although a bit pricey and not completely an “all inclusive” resort (no alcohol or tips included), the experiences were one of a kind and the people we met were unforgettable.

We landed in Belize City, transportation took us to the Radisson Hotel which is the departure point for the boat to go to the resort. There, we had drinks and lunch before climbing aboard. The water was a bit rough-we were fine but of course you may want to considered bonine or Dramamine before any long excursions. Once on the island, our baggage was carried to our room, we were given time to settle in and enjoy the property then we were to meet for dinner to have an orientation of the resort. We arrived on a Saturday- you could also arrive on a Wednesday, however due to the nature of the Blue Hole dive, we wanted extra time between diving so deep and flying.

The food was amazing, in fact our meals were so good I purchased a Turneffe Island cookbook so I can prepare these delights for my husband to remind us both of our amazing honeymoon. Water, lemonade and iced tea are complimentary however any soda or alcohol is charged on a bar tab. The only downfall regarding food is that there was little flexibility regarding meal time. Meals are served family style, which we enjoyed especially after diving. It gave us time to reflect on our dives and share other adventures with those staying at the resort. However, it was our honeymoon and we would have liked to spend a few dinners alone or perhaps arrive later in the morning around 10 am for breakfast. The schedule is this way due to the activities: Diving typically begins around 8 am therefore breakfast is early. The kitchen crew provides delicious snacks through the day though, usually a hot snack and then plantain chips and cookies. We certainly didn’t go hungry (nor thirsty! Thanks George!) and enjoyed the daily drink specials each afternoon by the pool. George, the bar tender makes sure everyone, young and old, are taken care of whether you want a cocktail and a few good jokes or a sprite and a mind boggling bar-game. He even helped my husband turn a fallen coconut into a delicious drink in the late morning!

Service was outstanding, each morning we were brought either tea, coffee or hot chocolate along with a weather report and a wellness tip of the day. Our beds were turned down with a little poem enclosed with a wax seal which I saved as a momento from our honeymoon. Crabtree and Evelyn products are included for soap, lotion and shampoo. A spa is available for those who want a massage or mani-pedi.. I did not have a massage but another woman did who said it was fantastic. Eddie in the office was extremely helpful and he is the dog whisperer to Gator (cute, but he bites if you surprise him!) and Cashew. The other dog is very shy and rarely comes over but it was nice seeing the dogs here- it made us not miss our own pup as much. If you have any questions with your bill, Eddie is very knowledgeable and helped us. The entire staff was excellent, there were even staff and guest volleyball games taking place during some afternoons:)

The dive shop crew was very helpful and professional. I felt spoiled, as they made sure everything was set up for us each dive after our first “check out” dive. They ask that you take care of your mask, fins, snorkel and any wetsuit/booties you may have and they take care of your tank, bcd and regulator. Each diver is required to wear a computer which I had never used before my stay at Turneffe (I am about 33 dives in now) but Daniel assisted us and it helped us maximize our dive time while still being safe. My husband and I took the Nitrox course, did the coursework and test on our time and had to watch a dvd to pass. I am glad we did this, as our no decompression time was never an issue. We were given about 32% O2 for dives and between 3000-4000 psi so most dives were ~60 min 60 feet or less. They helped us into our gear, sprayed antifog for us, helped us when getting back in the boat and we all looked forward to oranges after each dive as a nice treat to rid our mouths of the salt water taste. Dive masters pointed out organisms daily and we saw different things on each dive. Brad-dive boat captain and dive master, hunted lion fish and fed them to grouper for us to witness. Marcel - dive master, knowledgeable and gives lots of tips and reminders making dives safe and enjoyable. Daniel- helped us with the Nitrox course along with Eddie, writes down the name of creatures he sees on a tablet. One really nice thing about diving here is that at the end of your stay, they print out a table of each dive, the depth and length of time (we gave this after each dive from our computers), a description of the organisms we saw and the date. It was so nice and helpful for filling out our dive logs, especially since on the days we did 3 dives (including night dives!) we just wanted to relax afterward and not record.

Certainly the Blue Hole Trip was special for us, as we saw multiple sharks swimming close and the structures of the underwater caves were breathtaking. The other dive spots that we hit on the same day were very good, we saw a wide variety of life including turtles, rays (eagle and southern sting rays), eels and of course many fish. Even the docks that had been ruined by the hurricanes out in front of the resort had a plethora of life underneath-urchins, shrimp, and a nurse shark! We even saw Caiman Crocodiles and a manatee swimming –very cool!

The night before we left, there was a Belizean barbeque complete with delicious meat and lobster, side salads of all kinds and even a hermit crab race! The sort of fun you will have here revolves around nature and being in the company of good friends. There were only around 20 guests or so on the island when we stayed, it can accommodate just above 40. Do not come here if you want a club-nightlife scene or casino or super kid friendly resort. Kids could have fun here if they are able to entertain themselves a bit and enjoy nature- no cartoons or stores to buy trinkets (although if you need a souvenir t-shirt or sunscreen the office has some). Even the typical honeymooner may not be over-enthusiastic if they are not willing to hang out with people other than their spouse or want a lot of meal-time flexibility.

Tipping was a bit confusing for most, in fact a group of four of us tried figuring out what we would do over some drinks the last night of the stay. It is suggested that you tip almost everyone including the maintenance crew and such. We used our discretion and tipped as if it were not all-inclusive to whom we thought we should. Beware that the diving does run the tab pretty high due to renting equipment and tanks, especially nitrox which is more expensive (although by taking the course we had some free nitrox dives). We were sad to leave but are excited to perhaps one day come back again! Go here if you are a serious diver, snorkeler or fisher-person. You will not be sorry.

Room Tip: We stayed in a Superior Guest room room D- it was upstairs, had a screened in porch with two chairs...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Apneawaverider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2012

TIR is a great SCUBA location. It is fairly remote (~1.5 hr boat ride from Belize City), but that is part of the charm. No cruise ships, no traffic, no city noise. This resort is all about diving and fishing. If you want to sit in your room and watch TV or update your Facebook status, then this is the wrong place. But honestly, who goes out to the middle of the Caribbean and expects to be checking their work e-mail?

The rooms are clean and well appointed, the food is first rate (the kitchen staff are quite accommodating of dietary needs), the staff are courteous and the scenery is great. The diving is excellent, with most all the dive sites within 15 min of the resort. The reefs are very healthy, though there was a curious lack of larger fish. One suggestion I would make, though, is that the Blue Hole dive day be moved to Monday, rather than Tuesday. Since the weekly guest rotations are Saturday-to-Saturday and Wednesday-to-Wednesday, Monday allows the W-to-W divers get a full 3-dive day without worrying about flying in less than 24 hrs.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Gopal N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aransas Pass, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2012

I just returned from a relaxing week long dive trip at Turneffe Island Resort and cannot wait to go back! My room was spacious, clean and comfortable with lovely interior wood floors, walls and ceiling. My room had a king size bed, indoor and outdoor showers with hot water, a refrigerator, ceiling fan and AC. The island was simply gorgeous, quiet and well kept. The food was delicious and plentiful. We did 15 total dives averaging about 60 minutes each. I would have gladly dove more if given the option. The dive sites were impressive although we did not see very many large animals. Our dive guide was fantastic as was the rest of the staff. This is a special place and I will look forward to visiting TIR again soon!

Room Tip: Make sure to bring something to read as you will have lots of time to relax.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Shannon J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Turneffe Island Resort

Property: Turneffe Island Resort
Address: Turneffe Atoll, Turneffe Island, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Turneffe Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Turneffe Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Turneffe Island Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Turneffe Island Resort is a secluded 14-acre private island located 35 miles off the coast of Belize. We offer 7 night, 4-night, and 3-night Diving, Fishing and Resort packages. Packages include airport transfers, deluxe lodge accommodations, scheduled activities, all meals and hors d’oeuvres served throughout the day. All accommodations are located on white sandy beaches. All rooms include indoor and outdoor showers and spectacular ocean views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Turneffe Island Hotel Turneffe Islands
Turneffe Island Lodge

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