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“Great location, average resort”

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Turtle Bay Dive Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Hong Kong
Level 6 Contributor
96 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
“Great location, average resort”
Reviewed December 2, 2011

Reservations were smooth and easy. The owner responded quickly and accurately which is very helpful. It is 2.5-3 hours from Cebu and the ride is not too bad. The arranged van was ok but, not particularly comfortable. Reception was easy and fast - the ladies there are very friendly but, not very knowledgable. For several questions, they would open the book and read the answer.

The rooms are very basic, no TV (which is probably a plus). There is a small refrigerator with a couple of bottles of water, which you can refill at the dining area. Wifi is available but only really in the dining area. There were mosquitoes in the room, most of the time. Each evening we would battle a few of them. The pool is very nice - good for a refeshing swim in the evening.

Food is ok but, nothing remarkable. Even though we had full board, we did ride to town a couple of times and thought there was much more variety and lower prices in town. I especially thought the drink prices were excessive at the resort.

Location is terrific for snorkeling and diving. You can easily snorkel out 100m from shore and see plenty of turtles. We usually snorkeled twice a day in the morning and afternoon. There is however no beach area - you walk straight off the pier into rocky area, in between dive boats.

Diving was ok. There are approximately 10 dive sites along the shoreline (they start to look the same after a few of them). Then, Pescador Island, which is the main attraction. Very simple summary here: http://www.moalboal.org.uk/diveshop/divesite.html
The dive operation is very simple in Turtle Bay. If diving is your prime motivation, you should consider the more professional dive shops in town.

Our feeling was that a week is too long to stay here. Probably good for 3-4 day Holiday. If you want a location that is very convenient for snorkeling, this is the place in Moalboal.

Skip

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SkipG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
turtlebaydiveresort, Owner at Turtle Bay Dive Resort, responded to this review, February 3, 2012
Thanks for the feedback. A couple of comments:
1. The owners are nearly always on site and welcome on the spot feedback on problems which we will do our best to fix. e.g. if we had known that mosquitoes were a problem for the guest we would have put a bug killer on their terrace or in their room.
2. To ensure, that our Dive centre standards are maintained as first class we recently hired a new British manager who is also a PADI instructor. Our Dive Centre is PADI registered, our safety arrangements are approved by DAN and our gear is in top condition as we are an Aqua Lung partner Center,
3. Our drink prices are normal resort prices plus we have a good selection of well priced wines that will not be found in the open air bars in Panagsama Beach
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Grand Cayman
Level 6 Contributor
209 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 224 helpful votes
Reviewed November 15, 2011

Any review of a dive lodge has to be divided into two: the diving side, and the accommodation. On both, Turtle Bay Dive Resort comes out pretty well.

ACCOMMODATION: First arrival is a bit scary, because the lodge is at the end of a loooong dirt road (hint: use the lodge's pickup service - taxis from Cebu can never find the place). Once you get inside though, the landscaping is absolutely immaculate. It feels like an extremely grand hotel, but it is actually very small, and only had 25 or so rooms.

It is a little bit rustic - no TV in rooms, and wireless is only at reception and in the main eating area (hesitate to call it a dining room). But everything is spotlessly clean and well maintained, and the staff are very friendly to the point of being perpetually apologetic. The dining area is communal, and most people elect the full board option, which means buffet style. The proprietors, Chris and Fei White, often sit with the guests and chat amiably through dinner.

The rooms are comfortable but not lavish. The pool was salt water which for some reason tends to bother me, but I get past it. No one else seemed to mind.

I met a Singaporean group who said that they thought the food wasn't very good, but I disagreed. It certainly wasn't overly fancy, but it tasted good and there was plenty of it. There was usually a wide enough selection that you can always find something that sounded good.

Overall, pretty good way to spend your time above water.

DIVING: The lodge's diving operation was also spotlessly clean and well maintained. I don't know why, but I am always impressed when the stickers on the nitrox tanks look like they have just been put on. It really gives me a sense that nothing is so small that repairing and replacing it would be overlooked. I had my own gear, so I can't comment on the quality of the stuff available for rent.

The guides were Filipino, and highly knowledgable. They took care of the newer divers without being overbearing. They had an amazing knack of spotting hidden fauna. The boats were typical SE Asian skiffs with outriggers, but were roomy and comfortable, with covered awnings for shade and cleverly designed steps which came down to assist you clambering back on board.

You can do up to three dives during the day and a night dive. I thought that was quite small for a dive lodge (I expected the usual five-a-day) but in the afternoons I was almost always the only one diving. Go figure.

The quality of diving in Moalboal was good but I wouldn't say spectacular (not like, say, Fiji or Palua). It is much more geared towards the macro stuff and turtles. Very little current, usually extremely good viz. If you like small colourful critters it is great. If like me, you prefer bigger stuff, it did get a little bit same-old same-old by dive number six or so (although there are turtles - lots and lots of turtles). It would be a very good place for newer divers though - not very challenging conditions (calm, clear, warm, no current) and impossible to get lost.

Overall, very well run dive operation. If I had two niggles it was (i) be nicer to do a bit more diving whilst on a dive vacation, and (ii) the diving generally is Moalboal seemed a bit too macro focused.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms #1 and #2. They are right down on the water, and whilst that sounds great, they face di...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rhone_Man
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
calgary
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2011

My stay at this resort was for 3 weeks. I was uncertain about what the weather would be like as October is the tail end of the rainy season. With the exception of one day, however, the weather was very good to excellent.

Turtle Bay Dive Resort is family owned, hosted by Chris and Fe White. Located in the deep south of Moalboal, Cebu, it fosters a very intimate and relaxing environment, providing everything you need on site. The property is exquisitely maintained by very pleasant staff. There are many things to do at and outside the resort. Divers and snorkelers will be very pleased with the many dive sites. Pescador Island is nearby and frequented by the resort's onsite dive facility. This site will satisfy all divers and snorkeler's equally. Shore diving is very good as well and the resort's house reef is filled with a variety of life. Be aware that there are jellyfish in these waters, so its best to wear a full wetsuit whether you dive or snorkel. However, the jellyfish are not dangerous, only an irritant to the skin. If you are stung, the diveshop and their boats have plenty of vinegar onhand to alleviate any stings. Turtle Bay is a very fitting name for this resort. If you are looking for turtle encounters, you won't be disappointed. They are plentiful and used to divers so taking pictures/video is easy. Both Green and Hawksbill occupy these waters. While on Cebu, try to arrange a trip to Apo Island, south of Negros, which is next to Cebu. The diving is pristine, but advanced skills may be necessary for some sites, since currents can be strong and unpredictable. I did some outrigger canoeing on my last day at the resort and enjoyed it very much. They can't tip over, so ask to give one a try.

Outside of diving, we enjoyed a couple of trips to Kawasan Falls. Its about a half hour to 45 minute drive south. The resort can make all the arrangements for you. There is a nice 20 minute to half an hour walk to the first level of the falls upon arrival. There is a well defined walking path and all around is lush jungle. The first level of the falls is nice, but its best to walk up the path leading to the upper falls. Make sure to ask your tourguide about this, as there are less people. The water in the falls is chilly, and the falling water comes down HARD, so be ready. The ambient temperature will warm you up nicely afterwards, however. We also visited the orchard, in the town of Moalboal, which has a variety of flora to enjoy, as well as some caged monkeys and birds. The Horn Bill birds are fascinating. A visit to the rice fields was educational and fun. There you'll see how they irrigate the land to water the rice, and all around are the local Carabao, a type of ox, used to work the fields. Getting there is a bit of a bumpy ride, as the fields are up in the mountains. The town of Moalboal is about half hour walk from the resort. In the town are pharmacies, fruit stands, restaurants, police, schools, government buildings, etc.

The resort itself has plenty to offer to the diver and non-diver alike. They have a games room, a double swimming pool, a gift shop, massage therapy, a two level restaurant with living areas, complete with a large TV, DVD's, WiFi, books, magazines, water dispensers, washrooms, and a computer, if you need one (its really for office use, so probably best to bring your own, if possible). The layout of the eating/living areas is inviting, done in a Filippino/ Indonesian theme. The landscaping is intricate and garden-like, with a myriad of plants and trees (even grass) with pathways by which to enjoy them. There is an nice area for sunning yourself near the sea, but no beach per se. If you would like to lay and play on a white sand beach, Panagsama Beach is a 15 minute drive away. The food was delicious and always different, especially at lunch and dinner, with large portions, variety and fresh ingredients being the norm. If you have a food preference, they will provide it, and the fish is always wonderful. When dining, Chris and or Fe would join us and the other guests, which we all enjoyed.

The rooms are colonial style and very clean, comfortable and beautifully decorated, with AC, fans, fridges, etc. They provide bottled water in the room fridges everyday. The cleaning staff is thorough and friendly. Rooms are available for families, couples and singles. I stayed in a seaside room with a lovely view. There are garden rooms available as well if you prefer.

Overall, the staff at this resort really works closely with Chris and Fe, to ensure that the guests are always taken care of. I've stayed at many resorts over the years, but this one is exceptional and in a class by itself.

Room Tip: Rooms next to the dive facility may be noisy since they open early and run a compressor for the air...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank beenthere_10_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Level 6 Contributor
331 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
Reviewed September 10, 2011

Very quiet resort outside the village (it takes just ten minutes drive to get there), set in the nature and facing the sea with a private beach and a fully equipped diving center. Some bungalows have the sea view so I would recommend them instead of the bungalows close to the swimming pool. This resort must be amongst the most expensive in that area but the comfort has a price (hot water anytime, guarded property with security patrolling in the resort at night etc). The owner is British so he tried to he probably tried to provide European standards to his guests.
The food is good but there is similar food in the vilage nearby for half the price. The service is very friendly and all the staff does its best to make you a nice stay but it is a bit disappointing that you have to share large tables with other guests if you travel as a couple.
The dive center is well equipped, also with Nitrox, and the boat leaves from the resort's pier so no need to travel to a remote center like in other places. The staff is very friendly and knows of course the dive spots quite well.
Overall I would say that it is a nice place but slightly too expensive considering the local prices.
If I would travel back to Moalboal I would probably look for a resort closer to White Sand Beach (there are two or three next to it that I saw from the sea on my way back from diving) but their prices would be similar.

Room Tip: book a bungalow with seaview
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank LuneLune
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2011

We stayed at Turtle Bay during the low season so there were just a few other guests and really we had the resort almost just for us! The place is really well maintained and the lush garden is beautiful! The dining room is decorated with great taste and the whole place is cozy and warm. The swimming pool is nice and the spa construction will soon be finished.
The food was a good mix of western and local dishes in generous portions and the mangos are delicious!!

The dive center is very nice and we had great dives on Pescador Island. All the crew of the boat made it a great time and our dive instructor was really good too.

All the staff is very helpful and friendly. The owners, Fe and Chris, are very welcoming and make you feel at home. We mentioned it was our anniversary during our stay and Fe offered us a wooden turtle as a gift which was very sweet.

Just one comment regarding the choice of rooms: we stayed in a king sea view, which was nice and spacious but don't expect to actually see the sea from the room windows. The sea view is only from the small terrace in front of the room and can be seen through the trees so not directly. Therefore we thought this room was over slightly priced compared to what we thought it would be.

Overall a great stay and worth coming back.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Linda-Damien
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo, Japan
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed August 1, 2011

we stayed there during rainy season but the weather was occasionally good for snorkeling so we spent a nice time and there were not many guests and quite.
The Resort is lovely but some noisy renovations were taken place during our stay,
however staff was very nice and there is cozy atmosphere.
If food is improved in the future, we would love to visit there sometime again.

Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank tantanyj8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lyon, France
Level 6 Contributor
616 reviews
146 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 426 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2011

Though not diver,I really enjoyed this boutique resort with well-maintained grounds,comfy rooms,helpful and friendly staff
.Due to its location,I recommend strongly full board:you get :a tasty,affordable, fresh and healthy food.Short but good cheap winelist.
NO BEACH but a lovely pool with jacuzzi,a spa is under construction.
All guests sit at the big table and it was a great opportunity to meet really interesting people and the owner Chris White,a great guy.
Don't miss the Pescador island tour with impressive "walls" of sardines,the snorkeling in front of the resort is interesting but after a bad weather,we got plenty of jellyfish for a day.

Only a negative point:the drive to Cebu Mactan is boring(it took for us around 3 hours and half)

We'll be back!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank bernard69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Turtle Bay Dive Resort

Property: Turtle Bay Dive Resort
Address: Tongo, Moalboal 6000, Philippines
Phone Number:
Location: Philippines > Visayas > Cebu Island > Moalboal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 35 Specialty Lodging in Moalboal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Turtle Bay Dive Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Boutique family run hotel and dive resort with 27 well equipped air-conditioned rooms. Choice of villa room of 2-story hotel block. Set in landscaped tropical grounds giving onto the shore front. Reclaimed beach and great coral house reef. Easy access to over 20 dive sites. Restaurant serves buffet meals and a la carte snacks and meals. Food comes highly recommended by guests. Free Breakfast and Free WiFi. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Turtle Bay Dive Hotel Moalboal
Turtle Bay Dive Resort Moalboal, Cebu Island

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