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Dive Review of Itza Lodge in
Belize/Lighthouse Atoll

Itza Lodge: "ITZA Lodge", Feb, 2017,

by richard s mcgowan, CT, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 9481 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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 $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We found this gem from Undercurrents' Eight Great Dive Resorts put out last fall. That review was from Feb 2016 so it is a little outdated - though underwater parts are pretty much spot on so I won't repeat much of it.

In Dec 2016, Arthur (former DI at Hurrican) and Selina took over management of Itza, bringing along Elta the fabulous cook - more on that later. We dove there 9 weeks later and the place is still undergoing some positive upgrades - see below.

The "lodge" is beachfront and the website photos are accurate. The rooms, especially upstairs, are wonderful with hammocked balconies overlooking the sea. As of now they only offer 12 rooms so at tops about 30 guests if you jam them in (some rooms have 2 beds and there are cots); they have another 6 rooms they are holding off letting out until they upgrade. We had 6 divers for 3 days (plus 3 fishermen and a wife) and 3 divers for the last 3 days with the fisherman and his wife. Everything but fish and coconuts come by boat from the mainland. Solar panels provide electric with a night/backup generator. You are off the grid except for satellite wifi which is sketchy - emails and low bandwith stuff only - forget the cat videos. Non drinking water is rain collected but they have occasional droughts so they ask you to conserve.

HOT WATER - solar heated. The day we left they started upgrading the system from 12 rooms to 6 rooms per unit so expect better water than we got - mostly maybe lukewarm at best - didn't help that everyone tried taking a shower at same time after the last dive.

From the Belize City airport, it's a 20 minute cab ($25 set rate) to the dock behind the Ramada Princess Hotel where you catch the boat that the lodge runs on Weds and Sat. The ride is between 1-2 hours depending on sea conditions. We rode in an open boat but they are scheduled to have a new enclosed boat making the run by the end of the month, which means in Belize boatyard time, March.

What makes this place great for diving is its location. The only caye east of it is the Audubon Sanctuary and Marine Preserve on and around Half Moon Caye. The Blue Hole is 10-25 minutes away, and Itza is almost always the first to dive it. We were alone when we went down and surfaced to 4 boats tying up. The Blue Hole is the furthest site; with the other sites ranging from 5-15 minutes. The Aggressor III was anchored around our dive sites all week. They no longer feed the fish per prior review.

On Monday mornings, they usually do 2 dives off Half Moon Caye, about 10 minutes, then have lunch on the caye before taking a tour / nature walk through the preserve. There is an observation tower in the middle of the booby nesting area that puts you 20 feet up and 10 feet away from some nests. Then you dive again.

The general schedule is 2 a.m. dives and 1 afternoon or night dive - see the website. They usually return to dock after each dive, but we got them to do back to backs in the a.m., staying on the boat for interval, then return, which we prefer.

The night dive was cancelled due to wind so we dove the afternoon instead. Diving is limited on Weds and Sat as it is travel day- though if there are enough divers staying they will dive. We were the only 2 divers on Wednesday so we did a dive in the afternoon - we needed the shore time as we do 3 dives a day and it was nice to walk around the nature paths a bit - before enjoying the hammocks.

Aside from the Blue Hole (140 ft) most dives are at 60-70 foot depth. None of them was difficult.

Diving - This ranks top of our favorite spots with Bonaire and Cozumel following. We ended up doing 16 dives - walls, flats, coral heads. In terms of large creatures, we saw multiple reef sharks (no nurse this time) - a group of 4 spent about 10 minutes in our area, multiple types of rays and morays almost every time. 3 different types of turtles - at least one, sometimes more, almost every dive and of course lots of barracudas. Groupers followed us and came to be petted. We back entered into a large school of chubs that completely ignored us as they swam around us. Multiple types of large and small crabs and lobster. Flamingo tongue, scorpion fish, octopus, squid, sea cucumber, and other small to mid size creatures. I would say Roatan has more small creatures, but Itza puts up a good fight.

The coral is abundant and seems in good shape -colorful and lots of growth.

We sometimes had some slight currents on some dives, nothing to talk about.

FOOD - Elta makes everything from scratch and it is delicious. From the bakery goods to plantain chips to fish fillet. What more can I say.

Dive Boat, etc. With our small group they used 24 & 34 ft boats with backroll entry. For larger groups they bring on another DI and dive boat. They are working on getting a brand new dive boat from Mexico, but it won't happen before the end of the year. As of now they only have 80 cf tanks - they are getting some 100s.
We had our own gear; the rental gear we saw on other divers looked fairly standard. for pickup you surface and signal and the boat comes to you.

NEED to Bring - bug spray and small flashlight. We didn't have any sandfly issues, but it was windy all but one day (Feb and March are the windiest and the lodge faces east). You need a small flashlight at night to find the bathroom without putting the light on (assuming you have company) as can be pitch black.

Arthur was DM and Rodel drove the boat for all our dives. Non dives tips are included in the bill. We gave Arthur (as DM not owner) and Rodel a total of $5 per tank as a gratuity.

Marine Park Fees - you need $40 per person cash for the Blue Hole $30 and Audubon $10 fees.
Websites Itza Lodge   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Roatan, Cozumel, Caymans, Bahamas, Key West, Bonaire
Closest Airport Belize City Getting There Many arilines

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 80-120 Ft/ 24-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth and time limits loosely
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A 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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