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“A very rare jewel!”

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Turtle Bay Eco Resort
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed February 23, 2013

We just came back from spending our honeymoon there and could not have been more happy. The location is breathtaking, unique, pristine and private. Additionally to having the most beautiful location, the service was incredible. Mike (the owner) and his entire team were constantly going out of their way from the beginning to make the stay as pleasant and relaxing as possible. The accomodations and food are great...and the diving and snorkelling is some of the best we've ever seen. We will definitely be returning to Turtle Bay soon...it's a must see!

Stayed: February 2013
1  Thank Ashraf H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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139 - 145 of 159 reviews

Reviewed February 16, 2013

If getting back to nature is your thing -- you will love Turtle Bay Eco Resort. From the flora and fauna of a wild tropical island - to bugs, snakes, spiders and other living creatures above and below the deep blue sea-Turtle Bay Eco Resort has it all. If you are lucky, you will have a chance to see it. It's a bit like camping -- only better! The new owners and staff are working diligently to bring back the former Plantation Beach Resort to a new glory and a new authenticity as Turtle Bay Eco Resort. Remodeling and restoration of services takes time, money and a great deal of effort. This group can certainly be proud of all its accomplished since the new ownership took place in late 2012. Work is still ongoing. Accommodations include premium rooms (hot and cold running water) with more plush room decor OR standard rooms with no hot water and less interior decorating. The ceiling fans and great beds make this vacation destination much better than camping, but the entire resort has a rustic camping, outdoors vibe to it. There is no nail spa or salon to be found here -- only excellent diving, snorkeling and other water sports. The all inclusive package includes 3 meals a day -- but it is furnished in limited quantities and consisits of mostly Honduran fare. If you are a cruise ship foodie type -- Turtle Bay is NOT for you. Usually meals are served buffet style and put out for guests and staff to eat together in the dining hall. Beans and tortillas are served 3 times daily - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fruit slices and occasional rice dishes with pork short ribs are thrown in for good measure. All food is freshly prepared in limited quantities and if you tend to be an active diver, hiker, snorkeler, etc., daily caloric intake might not be enough. Be sure to pack a few snack bars, nuts and other healthy items to fill the tummy in between the daily meals served at 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Occasionally there are shortages of even the most common things - like ice. Remember this is an outer island in a Third World Country. There are no corner groceries or markets to stock up at a moment's notice and-- electricity comes at the whim of the big generator. When it goes down, so does your hairdryer, hot water, lights and other amenities we all take for granted. When I first arrived at Turtle Bay I had my doubts about whether I had made the right vacation choice, but after just one day of hammock time, I KNEW this was a place I was desperate for. I hope you find it meets your needs as well. Kudos to Michael Wall and his staff for going out of their way to make sure I felt welcomed and important as a solo traveler. I urge all outdoor folks- divers or not- to give this resort a try. I can't wait to return and see what's next for this new Honduran resort.

Room Tip: Ask for the Premium Room - it's worth the upgrade to get hot and cold running water in your show...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank AlabamaAnita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

I just returned home from a 2-week diving/meditation retreat held at the Turtle Bay Eco Resort. It was a trip of a lifetime!

I was part of a small group that came to Turtle Bay to combine diving and meditation. Our little group arrived the day after the worst storm the area has experienced in more than 5 years. It had pummeled the resort and its beach, so the resort team was hard at work at cleaning up all the debris that the storm had left in its aftermath. Yet, the team got the job done in record time, which was a testament to their overall approach: Hard-working, service-minded to a fault, while taking great pride in keeping the resort in top-notch condition. Mike, who took over as Resort Manager relatively recently, has hand-picked his team. The result is a TEAM with capital T, which goes for both the expats and local staff. I was deeply impressed by the level of commitment the team displayed vis-à-vis the guests and their intricate knowledge of the marine life. While being a warm, easy-going and fun-loving bunch, Mike and his team are hard-core divers, who take their trade very seriously. So safety and comfort was never compromised while diving and the rental dive gear is maintained meticulously.

They are also brilliant instructors. I was re-certified after having been ‘on the surface’ for 13 years and I felt in such good and caring hands. The team helped me overcome a fear of the dark and claustrophobia by literally taking me by the hand and guiding me through a mind-blowing night dive. I truly re-kindled my earlier love of diving and I want MORE. I had to be dragged out of the water on my last dive, before I teeth-grindingly had to leave to return home. It was also beautiful to watch how Clement, Kerry, Phil and Courtney helped a few people from my group overcome a fear of the water by not only getting them to snorkel, but even got them underwater, diving. The resulting transformation that happened for these people was astounding – but this was possible only thanks to the gentle, knowledgeable guidance provided by the team.

A final word about the diving: I used to design protected areas for a living and I can honestly say that the quality and diversity of the reefs that I experienced in Cayos beats everything I have seen to date. There was no coral bleaching in sight, the reefs were teeming with life and the health of the ecosystems was outstanding. The diversity of the reefs will ensure that there won’t be such a thing as a ‘boring’ dive in Cayos and the TB team works hard to help preserve the pristine conditions of the reefs by ensuring that guests are taken to different reefs during their stay, which helps prevent over-visitation. I can’t wait to return to Cayos. The sooner the better.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank TineVancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2013

It is difficult to really explain how special Turtle Bay is. I booked in for a week, and after extending my trip for another week, then extended it for one more week. Three weeks later, I am finally home, and feel more relaxed and renewed than I have in years.

The most important thing about the resort is the location. As the only place to stay in a protected marine preserve, it is the closest to untouched wilderness that most of us will get in our lives. It is one thing to know that there are no roads and few people on the island, but it is a whole nother level of relaxation to sit out on the dock and contemplate an island across the bay that is protected from humans all together.

In normal life we are so inundated by the demands of other people that a place like this is healing. Certainly, at times it is not luxurious, and if you are the type of traveller who demands a hair dryer and room service, you might be more suited to one of the bigger islands. It is a very remote location, and the cost of that remoteness might be some modern convinience. In my expereince, however, every member of the staff went out of their way to make sure I was happy, comfortable and wanted for nothing, going so far as to share private stashes of chocolate and giving me dry clothes off their back when I had none. The service at Turtle Bay is of a calibur not often experienced anymore. The staff is so friendly, welcoming and comfortable, that the visitor immidiately feels part of a family, but is not so at the cost of pride or professionalism. I have a frustrating, severe and difficult allergy to gluten, but the kitchen worked hard to make sure I never had anything that would make me sick. I know this is not easy to accomodate, but no one ever made me feel like I was a difficult guest.

The room I stayed in was beautiful, clean and private; and boasts a shower with an incredible view.

I can't overstate how beautiful and healthy the reef is, nor how kind and patient the dive staff. I did not plan to dive on this trip. I thought I would try it, and now I am hooked for life. I learned so much in my three weeks of diving, but I know that I was only able to learn and grow as a diver because the instructor was such a good teacher. It was an amazing place to learn to dive, and if anyone is ever thinking about trying it, this is the place. As the resort is so intimate, the classes will never feel big, and the attention will never feel rushed or careless. The beauty under the water will take your breath away.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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5  Thank Jessica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

Sorry, but we are not able to give a good review for this resort. We had a look at their website and came there with the expectation, to have a clean and nice place to relax. And all this with many extras included.
Well, the place was not clean and we asked to clean it again. The next day (not immediately), it was cleaned again, but still there where hairs and open shampoo packages from the former room user.
We did not feel comfortable at the resort because we did not want to spend our time complaining, but wanted to relax. But we think it is our right to receive the advertised goodies without having to ask for them.
The welcome drink we did not receive, even after having a discussion with an employee and telling him why we were not happy. Even after the discussion, nobody did mind to provide us with all the extras that should have been included.
We are traveling now for more than 6 weeks through Central America. Comparing with all the other places we stayed, this place was the worst in terms of price and quality.
Sorry for this bad review, however, we mentioned several times what we did not like and nothing was done about it.
The nature around is beautiful! And for a hostal, this would be a really great place. But then, please do not advertise as almost a "luxury resort".

Room Tip: When you book, have it in written that you receive exactly the room shown on the website.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Michael I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2013

Our family, two adults and two sons, ages 16 and 20, spent 5 nights on Cayos Cochinos at the Turtle Bay Eco Resort and highly recommend it to those who are looking for a wonderful low-key diving resort. The rooms were large, nicely decorated, with comfortable beds complete with mosquito nets. The resort itself is small and self-contained with colorful hammocks strung from palm trees everywhere. The staff is extremely welcoming and friendly, consisting of both expats and native Hondurans. The Dive team was excellent and very knowledgeable, accommodating our need for two different types of PADI certifications.

We quickly fell into the routine of rising in time for a delicious breakfast at 7:30, boarding the boat by 9 to head out for two dives before lunch, which was served promptly at 12:30. Back on the boat by 2 for one more afternoon dive. One of our party who was not diving but rather snorkeling came out to the dive sites and snorkeled above the others very happily. Dinner was served at 6:30 followed by some congenial games, drinks and story-telling at the bar with the staff. Bedtime was early since the sunshine, diving and swimming were satisfyingly exhausting. The meals were delicious, simple straight-forward local cuisine to all the guests and expat staff together. No need to hunt for a restaurant or even choose from a menu—it just came out of the kitchen and was devoured. We loved the opportunity to get to know the staff and hang with them all day and evening.

The colors and beauty of the reef and marine life were excellent. The area is protected from commercial fisherman by its designation as a Marine National Monument. As a result the diving and snorkeling was extraordinary. All the dive sites we visited were within a 10 minute boatride from the resort so no time was wasted in transit. There is a fun hike over the island to a small village on the other side for those who want to do something on land. Pink boa constrictors and other native wildlife are interesting sights.

It’s clear that Mike and his team have a terrific plan to operate the resort and continuously improve the facility. Divers and diving students are their priority and they are who should make this their destination. We didn't understand until we arrived how small the resort is – we were thrilled to be four of the five guests each night but one when a family of four joined us. How fun it would be to have another family join us so that we would fully occupy the resort - Necker Island style but within a reasonable budget and located in a diving paradise!

Room Tip: The blue room and the adjacent two rooms are the best appointed and located with a sunset water view...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Adam B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2013

First and most importantly- this is a special destination that will thrill some people and turn off others. These islands are relatively remote and have minimal development. There are few interactions with people outside of Turtle Bay and few luxuries. HOWEVER, there is/are: natural environment, bright starry skies, interesting animals, quiet places to listen to nature, and some of the best diving in the Caribbean. Trips to the Garifuna village and into the jungle to looks for boas and other critter can be arranged at no cost. The overall attitude is that the guest can decide what to do as long the weather/resources permit.

Mike, the new owner of the re-flagged Turtle Bay Resort, is a diligent and hard working manager who went way out of his way to ensure my visit was positive. He started as a dive guide there and knows the area brilliantly and is enthusiastic about conservation.

The transfer to the island is by panga, so rough seas make a rough ride. However, Mike makes every effort to protect gear and arrange alternate routes if necessary.

All of the staff were excellent. Courtney, Phil, and Clement are friendly and patient instructor/ guides, so inexperienced divers, and even non-divers, should not hesitate. This is easy diving and a great place to learn. Special thanks to Phil and Clement for the long hours spent scouring the reef for rare microfauna to photograph. BTW- we found rare pipefish, torpedo ray, many uncommon crabs, sea robin, abundant toadfish, squid, octopus, flatworms, juvenile trunkfish, juvenile high hats, mating behavior, and cleaning behavior galore- all within a short distance from the dock. This was some of the best macro photography to be found in the Caribbean. There are walls, pinnacles, and swimthroughs in abundance as well.

The rooms are cleaned upon request, and the refurbished rooms were unexpectedly posh. I really appreciated the hammock with a perfect view of the sun setting behind Cayo Menor. The nights are quiet with brilliant stars overhead.

Turtle Bay has a bar/restaurant. Food is served three times a day at fixed times and a fixed menu. I felt the need for more protein, so some folks might want to bring canned meat or protein supplements for longer stays. All people should bring any items they want as nothing is for sale aside from alcoholic beverages and some shirts. Mike will bring in items at cost upon request when there are runs to the mainland.

As this is a remote area with very poor people on neighboring keys, so make sure to keep your room door locked and valuables secured. Most of all- have fun, explore this vibrant area and let loose.

Room Tip: Select the refurbished rooms for a slightly higher fee. Longer stays are better value.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank DiveXplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Turtle Bay Eco Resort

Address: Cayos Cochinos, Cayos Cochinos, Honduras
Location: Honduras > Bay Islands > Cayos Cochinos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Cayos Cochinos
Price Range: $80 - $199 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the untouched, tropical island of Isla Major in the Cayos Cochinos archipelago, Turtle Bay Eco Resort is situated on a 10 acre site hugging the shoreline of the Caribbean Sea. The crystal clear waters off the coast of the island are enhanced by the world's second largest barrier reef providing a stunning backdrop to your relaxing vacation. Turtle Bay Eco Resort was grandfathered into the Cayos Cochinos Marine Park and to this day, remains the exclusive resort or hotel in the area. This exclusivity remains one of the sole reasons that Cayos Cochinos has preserved its pristine waters, lush tropical forests and it's completely unique experience. Staying at the Turtle Bay Eco Resort is more than just a vacation at a Caribbean hotel, it is the feeling you get upon arrival, the complete relaxation of your body throughout your stay and it's the feeling of leaving more as friends than guests. As a resort with only 5 rooms, our small and intimate feel allows you to get to know our staff and let them guide you through the wonders that this incredible location can offer. We offer private diving, dining, hiking, kayaking, island touring and much more. After a long day of exploring the Cayos Cochinos, why not settle down with a delicious cocktail to enjoy watching the sun as it sets right in front of our bay. Even though we are only 24 miles from Roatan or Utila, our island paradise separates the hustle and bustle to give you what you are really searching for. ... more   less 

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