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Turtle Bay Eco Resort
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Reviewed March 14, 2013

Turquoise warm water? Check. Pristine diving and snorkeling with abundant sea-life? Check. Coconuts and hammocks? Check. Exclusive seclusion and relaxation? Check. For me this is the perfect island paradise equation. Cayos Cochinos the small island group and marine reserve off of Honduras fulfills all these criteria perfectly.

Turtle Bay Eco Resort is in a transition phase. You can stay in their renovated rooms with hot water or the more basic rooms with only cold water. All the rooms are tucked into the natural surroundings of the island.

The vibe on the resort is one of family more than guests and staff. Personally after years of working in hospitality I really enjoy properties like this. While this might not be ideal for all clientele as someone who backpacks a lot I enjoy the communal approach. I would have liked a bit more variety and some dessert but than again we were in the middle of nowhere.

I think it is important to note that the islands off of Honduras are known to have some of the best diving in the world. The bay islands as a group consist of Utila, Roatan, Gauanaja and the Cayos Cochinos. Since the Cayos is protected the diving at Turtle Bay Resort is arguably the best in Honduras and some of the best in the Caribbean. If you are interested in getting certified or moving up a level with PADI the Turtle Bay offers great hands on instruction. Unlike the major tourist destination of Utila and Roatan you can be assured that your instructors at Turtle Bay have time to give you one on one instruction.

OVERALL
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Turtle Bay Eco Resort. Its location in the marine reserve of Cayos Cochinos offers up untouched nature that is hard to find these days. I happily spent my days frolicking in the warm waters and hunting for illusive seahorses. While my evenings were spent watching lazy sunsets and conversing with the rest of the folks on the property. In the end I think the magic of Turtle Bay Eco Resort is all about the location, Location, LOCATION!

Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
3  Thank FluentInFrolicking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2013

There's lots to say about our recent stay for a little over a week,
but I'll try to keep it brief. We stayed with Turtle Bay because we
wanted to dive someplace away from the crowds. We wanted someplace
where they don't load twelve brand new open water divers onto a boat
and watch them kick coral for 40 minutes. We were looking for
someplace remote, protected, and friendly. In that respect we were
very satisfied.

The remote location of Turtle Bay may pose some challenges. It is
quite literally the only place to stay in Cayos Cochinos and
accessible only by boat from La Ceiba, which isn't all that easy to
get to. Mike, the general manager, was incredibly helpful in booking
travel from San Pedro Sula airport to La Ceiba, getting a hotel in La
Ceiba, and even restaurant recommendations before our morning boat
ride across the twenty mile of the Caribbean to Turtle Bay.

The boat ride is your first indication of what you're in for. If
you're expecting a forty foot luxury speedboat that's about the
opposite of what arrives. The transfer skiff, at about 25 feet long,
is the first part of the adventure. On a good day you'll get a little
wet on the twenty mile boat ride from La Ceiba to Cayos Cochinos, on a
bad day you'll get really wet. Fortunately, the boat is fast enough
that it typically rides on the crest of waves, greatly lessening the
risk of seasickness. If you're the type that gets a little upset from
boat rides they'll have a drink waiting for you when you arrive.

We stayed in the newly remodeled Del Mar room. This room was nicely
apportioned with a ceiling fan, a queen size bed, mosquito net, small
table, and a private bathroom with hot shower, sink, and toilet. The
room, which is up the hill a little bit, has a great view of the ocean
and the sunsets. It was certainly a bit rustic, but you could do a lot
worse for Honduras.

Meals were surprisingly good and varied given the remote location. Yes,
there is a lot of beans, cabbage, and tortillas, but we had spaghetti, tacos, and
even pizza. Best of all was the deserts - chocolate cake, pineapple
upside down cake, rice krispie bars. All were delicious and went well
with the drink of the day at the bar at the end of a night. Although
you really should avoid the giffertini. No matter how much they try, I
don't think it's possible to make gifferti, the local fire water,
drinkable.

The real reason we went was the diving, and in that sense we weren't
disappointed. The remote location of Turtle Bay means that most days
there aren't any other divers. When we stayed at the resort we were
the only divers during most of our stay and only once did we see
another boat with divers in the water. The locations around Cayos
Cochinos are extremely well preserved and present some pretty striking
coral structures. Some of the sites hadn't seen divers in six or more
months. The wall at Pelican is very nice and pinnacles that
can be found all around the area provide ample hiding spots for all
sorts of sea life. Be sure to dive Pelican, Lionshead, and Jena's
Cove, which are all great sites. The house reef at Turtle Bay is also quite
good. It's shallow enough that you can easily do 90 minute dives, and
varied enough that you won't get bored on longer dives.

The dive staff is very experienced and more than
willing to help out and provide advice to make you a better
diver. Plus, they provide a gear valet service. On the first day you
show the dive staff how you want the gear set up for your checkout
dive and then the rest of your stay they'll set up your gear and rinse
it out afterwards. It's wonderful to just walk onto the boat and not
worry about anything. I also can't give enough praise to Captain
Danny. Whatever the weather he knew the best spots to take the boat to
avoid heavy surf. This turned a couple of bad diving days into great
diving days.

The biggest downside of Turtle Bay isn't entirely Turtle Bay's
fault. It's just that it's in Honduras, which is a very poor
country. When something goes wrong with a generator or a boat prop,
it's not a trivial matter to fix it, which could lead to a bit of a
degraded experience. For example, we couldn't make it out to the sea
mounts because of prop damage. However, if you're not uptight and
you're willing to roll with things it's all part of the
experience. The staff at Turtle Bay goes out of their way to make you
feel welcomed, address your needs, and ensure you have a relaxing
vacation, and that's what makes Turtle Bay really special.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank pridkett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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 shower! Don't forget, there is NO airconditioning in any of the rooms, just ceiling fans.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
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
    • Value
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2  Thank TineVancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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