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Dive Review of Blackbird Caye Resort in
Belize/Turneffe atoll

Blackbird Caye Resort: "Great resort but dive op not as good as last year", Apr, 2015,

by Jill Rain, WA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 8192 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
This was our second trip to Blackbird which we booked after the great experience we had last year. While the resort itself is wonderful, dive op has changed since then, and we won't be returning unless we hear policies shift back toward accommodating serious divers.

First, the good. The resort and setting are wonderful. A quiet private island, 18 bungalows, a duplex and a triplex right on the beach, sea breezes. Excellent ample food. Superior infrastructure: constant electricity, lots of safe RO water, reliable plumbing, AC, boats well-maintained, a wifi spot. If you are looking for a quiet relaxing vacation spot with no rowdy parties, this is for you. About a third of the 40 or so guests when we were there were diving, a third snorkeling and a third lounging.

Diving. The reef life is in great condition, far offshore mainland Belize, outside the barrier reef, at Turneffe atoll. The dive sites are mostly close enough to spend surface intervals at your bungalow, with no other dive ops to be seen. Once a week there's an all-day excursion to Lighthouse Reef atoll. So far so good. However, the impression we got about the dive op is that it is focused on maximizing profit at the expense of providing a great diving experience, and catering to inexperienced divers. Specifically, often divers were overcrowded on one boat rather than running two boats. Theoretically there were 8 divers to a DM, operating in shifts, but sometimes we had 10 divers in a group (perhaps it averaged out with another smaller group). The numbers led to crowding in the boat, some confusion in tracking people, gear, etc, sending groups down with wide range of experience. A bigger problem was that the resort appears to have become a PADI certification mill. There were classes going on constantly, OW, AOW etc, pulling DMs away for that. Many of our dives had some students learning/testing skills with the DM while the rest of us milled around waiting. More often than not our dives were short, including those out at Lighthouse reef, perhaps to keep us on a schedule. The Blue Hole dive is short by necessity but the other two are highlights of the trip, and we were shortchanged. The only dives an hour long during our 10 days diving were those led by the veteran DM, with no classes going on. Blue Hole trip: we paid the extra for that and had been expecting to dive the BH, but were informed we couldn't because we weren't AOW - even though we did that dive the year before with Blackbird, and previously with TIL. The manager said we could buy an AOW course (some OW divers did that; their description of the skills tests sounded pretty perfunctory). Since we couldn't dive the BH we lost one dive of our prepaid package, since no replacement dive was available. Divemasters varied from superior to average. One concern we had was that some DMs handled critters and fed fish from a squeeze bottle, even though the resort portrays itself as ecofriendly. Altogether, our impression was that the resort is focused more on quantity than quality in its dive operation these days.

Blackbird is a wonderful destination for a vacation, being a remote site with all the creature comforts, and among the very best reef ecosystems in the Caribbean. When/if they get their dive op sorted out, we will return.
Websites Blackbird Caye Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving E and W Pacific, Caribbean, PNW
Closest Airport Belize City Getting There flight + 1.5 hr boat ride

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25-60 Ft/ 8-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions stay with DM
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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