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Dive Review of Turneffe Flats in
Belize/Turneffe Atoll

Turneffe Flats, Oct, 2011,

by Susan Titus, VA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports). Report 6376.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Dominica, Honduras, Cozumel, Belize, St. Vincent, Bequia, Oahu, Tobago, Roatan, Utila...
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas choppy
Water Temp 76 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Group time limit stated for dive - varied by location and conditions
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments On the small boat (6-7 divers or less go out in a smaller boat) there is not a good set-up for cameras. On the large boat, there is a large freshwater tank and a table..and lots of space.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We went to Turneffe Flats to scuba dive the atoll (no fishing). From some reviews we read, we didn't have high expectations for the resort itself. I can say that TF was quite a wonderful surprise. Our 3BR villa was very comfortable, the food was excellent, and the staff were very accommodating and social. The grounds are perfectly kept, there is a great deal of privacy in the lodging, and the 'great room' for dining, internet, etc. is the hub that connects all the guests and the staff. The owners were off-site during our stay - the managing couple ran the operation flawlessly.

Our villa had a lot of space in the bedrooms and great little storage touches such as shelves in the bathroom and closet, hanging hooks and dressers. The shower took a little finessing at times to hold a constant temperature - remember that water is barreled rainwater and the power is from generators. Given this, the shower was always ideal! Coffee is set-up daily in your suite so it's ready to brew each morning. We opted to have our morning coffee over at the lodge with our breakfast - for those that need a faster caffeine hit, the in-room set up is perfect.

The food really surpassed our expectations - quite the variety, excellent quality, and enough to satisfy everyone at every meal. Each guest picks their lunch in the evening, and it is sent off with the boats in the morning. Snacks and drinks are packed as well - it's a great system. During our stay, everyone 'swapped' seats at the shared tables several evenings so we could enjoy the diverse company of fishers and divers. Many staff members dine with the guests, so your daily adventures can continue over a great meal.

We had the misfortune to have tropical storm/pending hurricane Rene affect the visibility, wind, waves and accessibility of the usual dive sites for the bulk or our week- including one whole day spent hunkered down with all the fishing guests in the great room. Even with these adverse conditions, we still found great sites to dive every day we hit the water. The fish were not as plentiful as expected - also could have been due to water conditions. A day dive at Lighthouse Reef and the Blue Hole was a real adventure trip with big wind and waves - more fish were at this reef.

Lionfish have arrived in force; a portion of each dive time is spent by the dive guides eradicating these invasive fish. They are quite tough and seem to survive even severe injuries. (We were fortunate enough to bag a good number of larger specimens which were cooked up as an appetizer. They were simply delicious!) The sheer number of lionfish may also be affecting the counts of smaller fish on the reefs. There were some wonderful large schools of chromis and creole wrasse that enveloped us on a few sites. It's hard to really rate the diving from our trip - the conditions were really less than ideal. We give kudos to our guides for getting us to sites each day that offered about the best conditions we could hope for.

It is best to have 6 (7?) or more divers at the resort, in order to support the use of the larger dive boat. The smaller boat is less sheltered and a bit tighter on space. We totaled 5 divers with another set of guests, and opted to pay a bit extra to cover the fuel to use the larger boat (due to the wind, waves, etc, it was far more comfortable). The dive staff took care of rinsing dive gear, set-up and changing tanks between dives - they did a perfect job and were careful with diver's gear.

What did we wish we knew before we went? Bring a few layers, a light jacket, or a T with long-sleeves. Even without the storm, the wind can be high and it gets chilly. If you can shop for wine in Belize City before catching the transfer boat, it can save you a few dollars if you drink quickly. Great wine is available at the lodge; not unreasonable prices but higher than packing your own. Bring a warmer wetsuit layer than you normally use in the Caribbean the water can get very cool from currents!
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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