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Dive Review of Turneffe Island Private Resort in
Belize/Turneffe Island Private Resort

Turneffe Island Private Resort, Dec, 2013,

by David L Maislen, CA, US ( 2 reports). Report 7466.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Some days you only did a one tank morning and one tank afternoon dive...other days you did two tanks in the morning and one in the afternoon. There is supposed to be one night dive on Thursday nights, but there were a thousand excuses why the conditions weren't right for our one night dive during the week I was at the resort. Thursday night was very calm with a full noon out...a perfect night for a night dive, but we were offered a dive at 3:00 PM in the afternoon.

About 70% of the coral is dead. There are lots of lionfish and the dive guide I was with, Daniel, would spear them and feed them to groupers or green moray eels. The eels have been fed so often that they are all out free swimming during the day. On a couple of occasions I was taking a picture of a lobster in a hole and a large green moray swam up into the hole with the lobster right through my legs...surprising to say the least!!

Trigger fish, groupers of all sorts and the green morays seem to follow divers...it appears to feed on lionfish that are killed. We also had lionfish cevichy which was much better than conch cevichy.

On Wednesday there's an hour and a half boat ride to The Blue Hole where the first dive is to about 135' to see the stalagmites that were formed long ago when this blue hole was a cave. This is truly a wasted dive...a macho dive for those who need an excuse to go deep. I did see a three legged turtle during this dive...probably lost the rear left leg to a shark. The turtle seemed just fine and had fully recovered from the accident. After this dive there's a surface interval and another dive followed by lunch on Half Moon Cay which is an island owned by the Audibon Society and has Red Footed Boobies and Frigate Bird nesting to see from a raised platform. We also had a BBQ lunch there before heading back to Turneffe Island and a third dive enroute.

We were in Cabin #8 which is really close to the dive shop. I'd suggest requesting Cabin 7 or 8 as this is a great location for divers.

Meals are varied and quite good. Belize is famous for their hot sauces and there are 4 types on every table in the dining room and they were all terrific. There's always coffee and tea available. Sodas are $4.00, beer is $6.00 and hard liquor drinks can be up to $12.00 US. The currency is Belizean Dollars which convert easily to U.S. at a ratio of 2 of these to 1 of ours.

They had stand up paddleboards, kayaks, and a small sailboat available for use (included).

Tipping is a real pain...they suggest tipping at the back of the book in each room. It breaks down tipping for each and every person you come into contact with. The suggestions offer a minimum and a generous tip. They even have a tipping category for maintenance people on the island. They expect divers to leave from $180 to $380 per couple per week. I thought that based on the price of the trip...over $3,000 for the week including just 15 dives for your 7 day stay that $180 was a lot of money to leave as a tip.

Attitude of the dive and resort people couldn't be better...they are very helpful and with a great positive attitude all week long. You have to set up your gear for the first dive (just to show them that you can)...C cards are required. Nitrox is available for $14 a dive or $149 for the week. It's toxic at 135 feet for the blue hole dive. The other dives are usually only to 60 or 70 feet. I did not use Nitrox and simply dove based on my non-nitrox computer limits. Most dives were a full hour in length. I had a wonderful time, but there are much better dive opportunities around the globe.
Websites Turneffe Island Private Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Andros, Little Cayman, Cayman, Grenada, Florida, Hawaii, California, Fiji, Tahiti, Dominica, Papau New Guinea, Australia,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas calm, choppy, surge, no currents
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40-70 Ft/ 12-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Follow the divemaster...it wasn't too strict, but in small groups we were expected to stay reasonably together.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments No fresh water container on the dive boats, but only about 5 to 15 minutes to shore where all surface intervals took place.
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Subscriber's Comments

By kim riedererin CA, US at Dec 29, 2013 10:29 EST  
Thank you for your honest opinion, family of 3, trip will be over 10,000.00$, I would cry & cry !!! Kim from California
By report author: David L Maislen in CA, US at Dec 29, 2013 10:36 EST  
Hi Kim, If you haven't gone yet please feel free to call me and I can discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly with you...there's plenty of good so don't cry. David Maislen 805-474-4010
By kim riedererin CA, US at Dec 29, 2013 11:09 EST  
There is nothing like horrible feeling, after all that planning & hard earn money get wasted on bitter dive trip. We just came back from Bonaire Divi Flamingo 2 boat dive, & 2 shore dive everyday for seven days ( very hard but sooo worth it!! You know it,right? !! Do you think it is better than Bonaire as far as diving go? I read somewhere bad shape of corals even outer side & over rated Blue Hole.We are not fancy resort type but must have AC. What do you think? I sure will keep your phone # safe will ring you if we consider Belize. Thank you again David !! kim work to DIVE
By report author: David L Maislen in CA, US at Dec 29, 2013 11:41 EST  
I've been to Bonaire 4 times, but not in the last 10 years or so. I went when you could safely leave a rental vehicle at the side of the road while you dived and your pants with wallet were still there when you got back. The first two times we stay at Captain Don's and then we found Holiday Homes between the airport and the salt flats. Then we would rent a Sazuki van and purchase unlimited diving from Captain Dons...pull in around 7 PM and take about 10 tanks for the next day's diving. Shore dive all day long then come back at 7:00 PM and drop off the empties and get full ones. It was wonderful. The coral at Belize is about 70% dead and there are fewer fish than I remember in Bonaire...Yellow tailed damselfish are not common in Belize as an example. However, I never saw a spotted eagle ray in Bonaire and saw 4 of them in Belize. The Blue Hole dive is a complete waste of time. Don't waste the time to get there.
By Laura A. Sonnenmarkin VA, US at Jan 03, 2014 11:34 EST  
It's difficult to compare Bonaire and Belize, isn't it? I mean, rays, nurse sharks, green morays, and turtles are much more common in Belize(as I remember it, a dozen years ago)but Bonaire has lots of fishy sites and beautiful coral sites and quasi-mucky sites. And the freedom of shore diving, IMHO, is just wonderful. I also think Bonaire is a better bet for those of us who must travel during Christmas break. I've tried Roatan & Cayman during this time, and ended up stuck at the hotel as the boats couldn't get out. It's hard to find places in the Pacific that are good at this time of year (Palau and Lembeh were good for us.) 5 times we've been to Bonaire for Christmas week, and have always been able to dive every day. The petty thievery is a nuisance, but it's not that big a deal not to leave anything of value in your truck. Five times, and we've never had a problem, for what it's worth.
By Laura A. Sonnenmarkin VA, US at Jan 03, 2014 11:37 EST  
I have been wanting to go back to Belize for some time now--it's been over a decade since we were there--and am saddened to read your report. Turneffe Lodge was always considered one of the best locations (we were at Caye Caulker.)
By Laura A. Sonnenmarkin VA, US at Jan 03, 2014 11:37 EST  
I have been wanting to go back to Belize for some time now, and am saddened to read your report. Turneffe Lodge was always considered one of the best locations
By Laura A. Sonnenmarkin VA, US at Jan 03, 2014 11:39 EST  
Sorry for the double posting! Not sure what happened there.
By report author: David L Maislen in CA, US at Jan 03, 2014 11:53 EST  
The lodge was wonderful...the food very good, the people terrific and cottage more than adequate...but the diving just wasn't that great.
By Kurt Oheimin TX, US at Feb 20, 2014 18:14 EST  
I've enjoyed over 50 dives in Belize waters. Most off of Liveaboards (Lighthouse Atoll), many off of the barrier reef off St. George's Caye and Ambergris Caye. The reefs that I have observed are actually in very good shape, and I have discussed this with marine biologists who I have had the opportunity to share in some of these diving experiences. Perhaps you observed unhealthy eco conditions, but I believe that Belize is rigorously protecting its reefs and this has been paying off. It is regretful that you didn't have as good an experience as expected. Perhaps your next trip might be on a liveaboard as they spend most of their time at Lighthouse Atoll, and they cater wonderfully to divers. When I add up the investment in a trip, the liveaboard experience seems to be the best bang for the buck, at least for one who has diving as a priority.
By Laura A. Sonnenmarkin VA, US at Feb 20, 2014 19:14 EST  
That's good advice, Kurt, and I think we can safely assume that anyone who subscribes to Undercurrent has diving as a priority!
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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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