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“"A true Heaven on Earth"”

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Turtle Bay Eco Resort
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Newton Abbot, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“"A true Heaven on Earth"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 9, 2014

I have just returned home from an absolutely amazing stay at Turtle Bay Eco Resort, Cayos Cochinos. I travelled solo from the UK on my first trip overseas, flying via Miami and then onto San Pedro Sula. Although the journey was long, the arrangements made by Mike at Turtle Bay were well executed, and my connections to the island went very smoothly.
On arrival at Turtle Bay, I was very warmly welcomed by the staff, all of which are very friendly and look after you throughout your stay. There really is a 'family feel' to this place, with everyone working very hard to ensure your visit is just what you want. Never in your face, but always there if needed. In fact, after a few days I stopped thinking of them as staff, and have come home with many new friends.
The island is stunning and brimming with natural beauty, and the calm surrounding clear waters full of wonderful things to see. I took hikes, visited local villages, was introduced to various wildlife, snorkelled, and enjoyed various boat outings, including a sunset cruise around the bay. I truly found it an idyllic place to relax, but you could equally take advantage of the diving packages and have a much more energetic stay. Whatever you choose, you are very well looked after, by very professional and knowledgeable people.
My accommodation was very comfortable and clean. A large room with good facilities, stunning views and more than adequate insect protection. Sleeping came easy every night.
The food was excellent, all made from local produce and prepared to a high standard. I found all the dishes to my liking, including many I'd never tried before! The evenings I spent in the bar area after dinner, enjoying the company of other guests and staff alike.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, it really had quite a profound effect on me. From the stunning beauty of the islands and the friendliness of all I met, to the humbling experience of visiting local people in their own villages, this will stay with me forever :-)
I would like to end by saying a massive thank you to Mike & Cortney and all the guys and girls that looked after me so well during my stay. They all made it so enjoyable and very memorable.
My only regret is not taking time to learn to dive, but that gives me a perfect reason to return next year :-)

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled solo
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1 Thank Chris W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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sidmouth
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2014 via mobile

We have just come back from a fantastic week as part of a wedding blessing group.
What a beautiful place!
Travelled from the uk and it was a long journey to get there, but so worth it for the peace and tranquility of a paradise island.
The staff are all amazingly friendly and went out of there way to make us welcome, and we were treated to some snake and iguana searching and also hiking up to the lighthouse and to the village across the island.
If you are going and have room in your case may I suggest you take some kids stuff for the school, pens paper small clothes etc, we would have if we had known.
The island is unspoilt by tourism, it is an island, there are no shops, nightlife, bars or clubs, but the friendliness of the staff more then make up for that, the whole point being 'a get away from it all' place.
Eating together as a family and spending evenings together in the bar or around the campfire is idyllic.
We were the first residents of room 14, a large airy room, with an enormous bed and a view to die for from the bed, the toilet and the shower! Hot water was plentiful, our boiler flame did go out one windy night but was sorted out immediately next day. Towels were changed regularly. Screen mesh in the windows meant we had no mosquito problem, however we did have the odd uninvited guest, by way of iguana, gheko, and cricket, our own fault for leaving the door open! Privacy was no problem unless you are naked and stood in front of the window, as the height of the rooms from the path leads to it's own privacy. A torch is an idea for the path to the new rooms, as leaving your porch light on would invite bugs.
Food was tasty and served hot. The dogs are super friendly and are there as an early warning signal for strangers that may appear, when we walked off for a walk they often followed us, but most days would be seen laying in the shade out of the way.
All in all it was a magical time spent in a beautiful place, with top class staff doing a great job!!

  • Stayed February 2014
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Helpful?
Thank zimbaSidmouth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auburn, Maine
Level Contributor
218 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 192 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2014

We stayed for a week in early February, we booked the prosnorkeler packages and stayed in a hillside deluxe room. Here are some of my thoughts:

Food--The food situation is probably the biggest factor making me rate our stay 4 stars rather than 5. There are no breakfast or lunch choices. Breakfasts were often very carby and/or sweet, which isn't my thing--pancakes, crepes, cinnamon rolls, french toast, etc. Lunches were typically a bowl of rice with some meat and veggies, although we did have sandwiches on at least two occasions. Dinners were "served off a menu" (really a whiteboard with the day's choices). There would be only one appetizer and one dessert offered, although on two occasions when we didn't care for the app choice (sushi, tuna dip), we were offered a salad instead. The entree choices were usually variations on a theme. For example, on taco night, you could have beef, chicken, or veggie tacos. On chicken night, you could have baked, fried, or BBQ. On lasagna night, you could have beef or veggie. On paella night, you could have shrimp or veggie. To me, the three biggest strikes against the food were: 1. The lack of choice became a bit grating by the end of a week. 2. A lack of fresh fruits. We had fresh fruit juice served on one occasion, and an occasional breakfast would include a slice or two of oranges or pineapple, but otherwise we didn't have any other fresh fruit. This seems odd to me as Honduras is a major producer of pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon, and bananas at the time of year we were there, all of which were fantastic when we had them on the mainland. I know they are working on developing their own gardens and fruit trees, but it seems it could take a while for that to start generating much fruit. 3. A lack of seafood choices. In our entire week at the resort, for dinner we were only offered fish on two occasions, and shrimp paella was offered once. I figure when I visit a tropical island I want seafood, since I can always have chicken back home. Of our dinners, I thought the tacos and blackened wahoo were really quite good, while everything else was sort of average home cooking at best.

Rooms--We stayed in a hillside deluxe room. The room has beautiful views out over the ocean. In fact, while we were there, they cut down another large tree and took out some vegetation, so the views became even more open, but unfortunately it let a lot more sun into the room in the afternoon, and I found the room became much warmer, and the privacy was also decreased. We had plenty of privacy since the room next to us wasn't completed yet, but I imagine once both hillside deluxe rooms are in use, there will be less privacy to the room closer to the resort (where we stayed). I would recommend staying at the further away HSD room (if you are booking at that level), since it will have a private outdoor area of its own, and it will be more private since it's on the end of the walkway. I found the actual room to be very plain. There was no art work or other decoration. It was a relatively large room, but included only a bed, two night tables, a dresser, a chest, and a wardrobe type thing in the bathroom area. There was otherwise no seating in the room (chairs, etc). Because of the high ceiling, there aren't bed nets like the other rooms have, and we were quite harassed by the mosquitos, especially at night. (I suspect this may having something to do with the maid leaving the door to the room wide open while she was inside cleaning.) We also had a few occasions of finding larger roaches and insects in the room. There also aren't ceiling fans, but there are upright fans on the nightstands. The bathroom is open to the main room, with no door, which I heard is true of all their rooms, which I found a bit odd, and would certainly not be for people who like their privacy. The shower is in a screened in area with a privacy grill at the front of the unit, so there are ocean views. Our package said "biodegradable soaps and shampoos" would be included, but the shampoos were just little individual packets of Pantene and Head and Shoulders, so you might prefer to bring your own. There was plenty of hot water, although fairly consistently it would go cold for a minute or two in the middle of a shower, although it always went hot again eventually. I think our towels were only swapped out for fresh ones on one occasion all week. Bring a flashlight, since it can be dark walking between the room and the public areas. They don't recommend using the water out of the taps for consumption, so they provide clean water in jugs in the rooms instead.

Snorkeling--We booked the prosnorkeler package, and so went out on the boat several mornings and afternoons. They basically take you to wherever the divers are going, and the divers would go one direction off the boat to some of the walls and deeper sites, and the snorkelers would go the other direction into the more shallow waters to snorkel over the reefs. The first few times out on the boat I was fine, but then the last two mornings I got quite sea sick as the rocking motion of the boat was much greater, not sure if it had to do with the weather/oceans globally, or just the sites that were chosen (I suspect this, as the seas appeared much calmer elsewhere). In fact, the chop was so bad one day at a morning site that I found it quite difficult to snorkel. There is a house reef you can snorkel on from the resort, which actually was just as nice (if not nicer) than anything we saw from the boat. If I had to do it over again, I probably would not book the snorkeling package and instead just do it a la carte for 2-3 days depending on the weather, the quality of the sites for snorkeling (vs diving), and my mood. I did find the quality of the snorkeling overall to be in the upper echelon of that you'll find elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Staff--The staff were fantastic and really make the resort what it is. Clement is the assistant manager (and since Mike was away most of our week there, he was really running the place), and he really goes above and beyond to make sure you have the best stay possible. Jason and Ariel were the ones on the dive boat with us, and they also did a great job. Allie is working on their food growing capacity.

Pricing--If you are price conscious, you might want to keep an eye on their Facebook page and other advertising, since they do frequent contests and deals for 20-50% off their regular rates. For example, all bookings made in October were 20% off, and in the run up between Thanksgiving and X-mas they had a new deal every few days, with the day before X-mas being 50% off bookings. Just an FYI, the "suggested gratuity" added to the package prices on check out is 20%, but you can choose your final amount. Also, I found it confusing that dinners were listed under both the inclusions and exclusions for our package, apparently "the choice" is free and "the actual dinner" is extra. (The dinners were generally between $9-13, so not a huge deal, but a good thing to know.)

Exclusivity--The resort is the only one on Cayos Cochinos, although there are some private vacation homes and time shares elsewhere on the island. Since there are only 8 rooms, which are generally doubles, the max occupancy is about 16, although they can acommodate a few more if needed. Most of the time we were there, it was just 6 of us guests. I really enjoyed the quiet and peace of such a small group. The first 2-3 nights we were there, a few folks came in from elsewhere on their dinghies, and stayed for a few drinks around happy hour time, then left. The last 2-3 nights we were there, quite a few yachters came in off their boats and stayed for drinks and dinner, which made the restaurant/bar area quite busy and loud and destroyed some of the quieter ambiance I had come to enjoy. I haven't had that experience at similar resorts of "off resort" people coming in to avail themselves of the food and drink without staying. It was a similar thing with the dive boat, in that some of the "off resort" folks also joined in for some diving excursions.

Weather--We were lucky in that we had all sunny days. If you hit a bad few days of weather, that could really make for a different experience, as there is not much to do on the island if the weather isn't good for water sports and sunning. I think that's the main reason why it's a little chancy to book a package-- you are essentially prepaying for the diving and snorkeling, but sometimes they can go for days at a time without being able to take the boats out. It seems their weather is becoming less predictable in terms of when the dry weather reliably starts.

Dogs--There are three large breed dogs that run loose on the resort--a pit bull, boxer, and Siberian husky (now just a puppy). I'm a dog lover and found them delightful, but I imagine some people might find them less so, so just something to be aware of.

Other activities--One afternoon we took a boat trip to the Garifuna village. Not much to see there, just a lot of shacks packed onto a small island, quite a poverty stricken area, although there is some fishing activity, and you will be offered trinkets to buy. Another afternoon we went to a sandy caye and snorkeled on those reefs and had a picnic lunch, which was a nice enough change of pace. One morning we hiked to a lighthouse at the top of the island, about a 30 min hike each way on fairly nice, easy to follow trails. Another morning we hiked to the East End, that is a steeper somewhat more difficult trail. That town also looked quite poverty stricken, although there is a nice environmental center with signage describing some of the wildlife on the islands.

Wifi--The wifi is only available by the restaurant/bar area, and is very, very, very slow, and would seem to stop working on occasion. It's good enough for a quick email or Facebook check, but I wouldn't try to do much more with it.

Room Tip: If you go with the hillside deluxe, ask for the room further away from the public areas--it will hav...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank CourtneyMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Polson, Montana
Level Contributor
42 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2014

Although we did not stay at the lodge we moored our boat in front of the lodge for a week. Mike the owner of the lodge was very accommodating as well as all of his staff. It is a lovely lodge on a small beautiful island with crystal clear water. The grounds were very clean as well as the restaurant bar area. If you are on a boat you can use the bar and eat there anytime. You just need to give Mike a few hours notice if you are planning to come and eat. The food was good and reasonable for being so far from the mainland. While we were there we went scuba diving with the lodges dive master. They have good new rental equipment and Jason the dive mater was very patient and helpful. It was a little more expensive than diving in Roatan but we enjoyed the experience much more than we did at the dive places on Roatan. We enjoyed the lodge and island so much we are planning on going back in a week or so.

If you are arriving on a boat you can take anyone of the mooring buoys that are in the harbor in front of the lodge. The moorings are in very good shape. Just a word of caution if you are on a mooring and a guy named Hank says it is his private mooring please just ignore him and please do not move. park Ranger and lodge personnel told us there are no private moorings at Cayos Cochino and they are all first come first serve.

Enjoy paradise and say hello to Mike and Jason. M/V JASDIP

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jafa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2014

I had an excellent time at Turtle Bay! The team running the resort is friendly, professional and knowledgable! They accommodated my dairy allergy seamlessly and the food was so healthy and delicious.
I had the most amazing time diving in Cayos. The terrain is beautiful, there are fantastic soft corals, caves and the vis is amazing. I never once questioned the ability or knowledge of any of the divemasters and felt fully comfortable and impressed with their professional dive organization. I haven't been diving on a boat with more than just a few other guests on it in years and if that's an ethic of yours, Turtle bay won't disappoint.
I was also surprised and delighted that in our lovely cottage/cabins there was hot water in the natural stone showers! The cabins were spacious, decorated with lovely local hard woods, super clean and I really enjoyed having a large comfortable king bed!
Overall, I could not want for any better of a new years week and when I decide to get my master cert I will no doubt come back to Turtle Bay to learn from their team of lovely instructors! Thanks to Mike, Courtney, Jason, Clement, Arielle, Allyee, Rebecca and the rest of the amazing team for making my stay so wonderful!

Room Tip: I had the Tiburon room which was at the top of the hill. If you don't fancy a small hike then a...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Lindsey E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2014

Cayos Cochinos is a little piece of paradise and if that alone isn’t enough to convince you the Turtle Bay Eco Resort certainly should be. From first contact by email, to waving you off at the dock when you leave, Mike and his staff couldn’t try harder to make sure your time on the island is perfect. Friendly, helpful, up-front and personal the consistent service throughout really makes the Turtle Bay experience. The cabins are nicely furnished, clean with comfortable beds, hot showers, outside space and some with ocean views. The food is good, varied and reasonably priced served in the communal bar/restaurant where you can hang out with the other guests and staff or sit outside on the patio watching the sunset over the sea.
If you dive already then the reefs here will be a real treat for you. If like us you don’t then you will find an excellent introduction with personal, careful, patient and safe tuition followed by incredible experience where you are truly looked after taking your first breaths under the sea. Turtle Bay isn’t only for divers though, the snorkeling is just as good, you can hang out on the beach just enjoying the peace and tranquility or take a hike through the jungle guided by the resident dogs.
A stay on the Cayos is truly fantastic, do yourself a favour and go there, soon!

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Amy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2014

Combined a secluded, charming island getaway with a professional dive shop to create the exact experience we were looking for - off-the-beaten-track and private, yet a social and fun scene at night when we were keen for a drink. Whilst the accommodation is reasonably basic, each cabin has its own private setting a short walk up the hill, its own bathroom, was clean, large and and has an incredible view through the canopy to the ocean and island across the channel. The resort staff and divemasters were extremely professional and diligent with the reef's protected status. In addition the distance from Roatan and the coast meant we had all the dive sites to ourselves. Finally Mike Wall, the manager, was the consummate host. If I go back to Honduras, 5-6 days at Turtle Bay will be on the itinerary.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Calvin O
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
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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