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Dive Review of Itza Lodge in
Belize/Long Caye

Itza Lodge: "Good Diving at a Disappointing Resort", Feb, 2018,

by Gary & Robin Schiendelman, PA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 26 reports with 41 Helpful votes). Report 10154 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We booked this trip after reading the Undercurrent review in April 2016 and other reviews since. We were mostly interested in the diving and had no problem with a "rustic" resort with no A/C, limited hot water and bugs.

Generally we keep these reports short and concentrate on the diving, however this time we think it's important to do the opposite.

We were the only 2 people at the resort from the time we arrived on Saturday afternoon until Wednesday when a family of 5 and another couple arrived. The day we left, they were expecting a group of 34 students (joining the family of 5) as well as 4 or 5 other guests.

Happy to report the diving is still good (by Caribbean standards). We mainly dove at close by sites on Long Caye where the vis wasn't great. But we saw eagle rays, turtles, all the usual fish (and there are still lots of fish there) and healthy coral. Also lots of small stuff pointed out by our excellent dive guide Mario. A Belizian native, Mario, had previously worked at Itza and is there temporarily. We dove 2 days at Half Moon Caye which was definitely worth the visit. The vis was great and in addition to the healthy coral, we saw many, many large grouper, sharks and lots of rays. In our opinion, one of the best dive areas we've seen in the Caribbean in many years.

Although we did 15 dives through the week, we often repeated dive sites. Perhaps it was the weather (it was blowing all week but surface water wasn't too rough) or because they didn't want to go far. Fortunately, the dive sites were generally good enough that it didn't matter.

So now the bad. The resort has no manager. If you read reviews over the past couple of years you will see the names of a couple of different managers who apparently were doing a pretty good job. There was NO manager when we were there and it showed. While there are some staff members who are clearly good and know their jobs, there is a total lack of communication and it shows in many ways. Jim, the owner was there when we arrived and gave a basic, here is your room, this is meal time, the island is great to walk around when you are not diving (it wasn't). After a day, Jim disappeared without telling anyone. Seems like he got a ride to the mainland and just left. He didn't even have us fill out the government mandated forms for everyone visiting Belize. He also neglected to tell us that we would not be able to dive on Wednesday because the one boat they have had to go pick up the arriving guests. We never found out until Tuesday night so could not even go to the other resort to see if we could get on their boat for the day. On Wednesday, when the new guests (and Jim came back with his wife) we also had a change of captain. Capt. Renee was a fill in and he was replaced by the dive manager, Elvis. Elvis was the boat captain for the rest of the week and he was not as good as Capt Renee, often bumping the boat into the dock. He did comp us one dive because of the "mis-communication" about diving on Wednesday. He seemed put off by the fact that we didn't treat him as a "dive god" and were not sufficiently impressed when he told us he has been diving all over the world. Since the shop was surprised that we arrived with all of our own gear, I guess Elvis is used to new divers who are in awe of their dive guide.

We could go on about all the examples but don't want to seem like we are making this a rant. We do however, want to let everyone know the current boat situation. All week, we were in a small, completely open boat with only one engine. In addition, they only carry a marine radio that will not even reach the resort if you are more than a few miles away. (And the transport from Belize City is 50+ miles). We had engine issues (they said water in the gas) when we were returning from Half Moon Caye. Fortunately, although it took a really long time, we were able to make it back. The morning of the Blue Hole trip there were also problems but they were fixed with just a delay of about 45 minutes in leaving the dock. We had seen previous management mentions that they are getting new boats for the crossing but that doesn't seem to be happening. At this point, it seems they are chartering boats if they need to for a large group.
We were fortunate that we didn't have a problem while doing the crossing upon our arrival. We were also fortunate that they put us on the boat from another resort on the island for the return trip. Their boat had 2 motors and some shelter.

We do want to say that Mary (waitress, bartender, etc), Mario (dive guide), Stone (1st Mate), Capt Renee (our first Captain)and the maintenance guy (don't remember his name) were really good and trying really hard to keep things going. Our low ratings don't apply to them!

So...will we dive Belize again? Definitely! Will we return to Itza? Definitely NOT. For $5300 (for 2 divers not including bar tab, park fees & dive crew gratuities) we can find a whole lot of other places in Belize. It's also worth noting that if you google "Itza Lodge Belize for sale" you will find the resort is for sale on a website called ""

So how about someone buy this place and bring it up to it's potential! It could be an awesome place with some pretty minor changes (boats and gear room) and better management!

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, PNG, Solomon Isl, Red Sea, Maldives, South Africa, Mozambique, Cocos Isl, Galapagos, Socorro, Var Caribbean locations, New Jersey, Florida, No Carolina, Philippines
Closest Airport Belize City Getting There Flew direct from Newark to Belize City, then Hour & 45 minute boat ride to Long Caye

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy, no currents
Water Temp 77-78°F / 25-26°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility - Ft/ - M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Hour plus dives, 60' depth encouraged (except for the Blue Hole)
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments They put a small fresh water bucket on the boat once we requested it. There is no place on land to rinse your camera. There is one rinse tank with a couple inches of dirty water at the bottom and they add a bucket or 2 of fresh water daily. If you have a big rig, be forewarned. The water pressure in the shower isn't enough and you won't be able to fit your camera in the bathroom sink.
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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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