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Dive Review of Itza Lodge in
Belize/Lighthouse Reef

Itza Lodge: "Life on the edge of the reef", Feb, 2017,

by Gail Feldman, CA, US ( 1 report with 1 Helpful vote). Report 9647 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 2 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This was my first trip diving the Great Barrier Reef in Belize (I snorkeled many years ago). Lighthouse reef is one of farthest out inhabited reefs in this area. There are a lot of live aboard boat visits out to this area (The Aggressor and from San Pedro). Also it is not in the protected Marine Reserve, so fisherman do come through and I think it is impacting the marine life despite Fisheries monitoring. I was impressed though that the corals, especially sponges were healthy and large.

During the week long stay (14 dives over 6 days), I saw green and loggerhead turtles close by on most dives. Reef and Black tip sharks were also common and curious enough to check out the divers. Our wonderful dive master Arthur, a Belizian, has worked in this area for a long while and really knew how to find those retiring Nurse sharks, lobsters, scorpion fish and neck crabs. We went eye to eye with several morays and swam with some black groupers who followed us along the reef wall. We had a few eagle ray citings and plenty of sting rays swirling up the sand. Some other fish I noted were yellow jawfish, arrow bennies, hogfish, peacock flounder, barracudas, indigo hamlet, stoplight parrot fish, yellow garden eels, christmas tree worms, burr fish. Some of the days were much better than others for seeing a lot of variety. There was a strong breeze most days which kept bugs away on land but also created some chop. The current was mild. The day we went to the Blue Hole, it was very calm. The lodge is within 20 minutes of the Blue Hole so they always aim to be the first boat there. I did not particularly like diving the Blue Hole but since you are there, you do it and can check that one off your list. We did see a shark in the murkiness around 100 ft.

A wonderful above water activity nearby is the Half Moon Caye Red Footed Boobie rookery. This is maintained by National Audubon. We were allowed to climb up in a viewing tower and watch the baby boobies feeding in the nests. Frigate birds also inhabit the rookery and freely show off their red gullets.

While maintaining a feeling of remoteness, Itza lodge made a huge and successful effort to provide a comfortable and enjoyable stay. They have wifi that usually works well enough for email and small uploads/downloads. The meals are home style, fresh seafood a couple times and they'll address special dietary needs with advance notice. There is an open air bar with a friendly hostess and a library of books. They also have kayaks to use around the caye. Don't come looking for entertainment though. I came alone and had no problem meeting and talking with people. Every night the Dive Master talks about the dives for the next day (Wed. & Sat they don't do dives because they drop off or pick up people in Belize City with the boat). If staying the week, the day off from diving can be used to kayak, snorkel, walk around or just relax.

The beautiful wood buildings fit well with the natural environment of the caye. The rooms are very large and the beds were comfortable. The breeze was strong enough at night that I didn't need the fan, however in spring and summer the fan may be needed (No A/C). I had a large porch with a hammock to relax between dives and meals. My only complaint is that there was not a lot of water for showering and it was rarely warm. This may have to do with the current drought but I also think they are figuring out how to address this. I'm from California so I don't use a lot of water and I'm conservation minded. When we all complained, they did provide hot water. Be aware that the boat ride out to Long Caye is long (up to 2 hours) and it can be very wet (waves coming over the boat depending on the wind). I suggest wearing a raincoat and your wet suit to stay warm. Returning to Belize City was dry,shorter and delightful.

Overall I can highly recommend a stay at Itza Lodge, especially if you don't have a lot of time to travel for diving.
Websites Itza Lodge   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Bali, Fiji, Vanuatu, Red Sea, Galapagos, Roatan, Grand Turk, Belize.
Closest Airport Belize City Getting There Direct flights to Belize City are available. Lodge arranges boat transfer (2 hour boat ride)

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 79-81°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80-100 Ft/ 24-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Depends on certification. Most dives were around 70ft max.
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 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 4 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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