Turneffe Flats Lodge


Overview


Turneffe Flats Lodge – Overview

Turneffe Flats Lodge is located approximately 30 miles off the coast of Belize on the Turneffe Atoll. This unique system of islands surrounded by a reef has some of the most diverse fishing in all of Belize. Basically the atoll is an oblong reef about 30 miles long and ten miles wide. Inside this reef there is a chain of long narrow islands with an inner lagoon of about 200 square miles. Within this lagoon are hundreds of other islands creating a perfect environment for growing bonefish, permit and tarpon.

Between the outer reef and the first ring of islands there are flats that tem with bonefish. All of these flats are taylor made for wading making it the only true wade friendly bonefishing destination in Belize. The ocean side flats are hard sand and coral with some turtle grass ( but firm below) as well. The inner lagoon is almost always fished from a boat and is famous for it’s permit population with schools of 20-50 fish common.

For years Turneffe Flats has been known as one of the Caribbean’s premier saltwater fly fishing destinations. The diversity of our saltwater flats fishing sets us apart from other destinations and the opportunity to catch bonefish, permit and tarpon on a given day makes Turneffe Flats one of the rare spots to pursue a ‘Flats Grand Slam’.

Read More about Turneffe Flats Lodge

Your trip starts in Belize City International airport where you will greeted by our driver who will take you to the boat dock in Belize City for the 1 hour and thirty minute ride to the lodge. The boat ride is smooth in our 48 foot dive boat which doubles as our passenger ferry inn and out of Belize City.

As you arrive at the lodge you will head to your room and your luggage will be delivered as well. Get a quick tour of the facility and have a welcome to paradise drink at the Turneffe Flats Bar. If you look out the front door of your room you will see a flat that extends off to the south ( left) – try to find a bonefish tail flashing in the setting sun. The reef is about 200 feet from your room with the Caribbean waves crashing in, but between you and the reef is 1-3 feet of flat water, this is the kind of bonefish flats you will find to the north and south of the lodge. We are ideally located to enjoy all of Turneffe’s 250 square miles of expansive flats, healthy coral reef and remarkably rich marine habitat.

Read a little bit more!

A Typical TF Bonefish

Although the spin fishing at Turneffe is exceptional, we are primarily a fly fishing destination. We are privileged to have a large repeat customer base with anglers from the finest fly shops and outfitters around the world making Turneffe Flats their annual saltwater fly fishing destination.

Each day you will be fed breakfast tin the dining room early enough to be out on the flats early. ( some tarpon hunters will go out before breakfast and come back to the lodge a few hours later for breakfast with the rest of the guests) Lunches are packed for the boat or you may return to the lodge as most of the fishing is quite close. Dinners are served in several courses in a family style with 4-8 people sharing a table. You will not go hungry. There is a full bar at your disposal as well. A tab for all drinks from the bar, and flies or other fishing gear at out fly shop, and other extras is kept for you until your departure


Lodging


Turneffe Flats Lodge – Lodging


The Main Lodge at Turneffe

The social center for Turneffe Flats is our air-conditioned ‘Lodge ‘. A pre-dinner gathering for hors d’oeuvres and refreshments is customary, and our screened verandah is a wonderful place to enjoy the tropical evening with new and old friends. There is a full dining room, bar, gift shop, fly shop, fly tying bench and a large sitting area in the main room.

Our spacious, air-conditioned guest rooms are all located on the beach with panoramic views of Turneffe’s coral reef. All rooms are furnished with a queen size bed and an extra-long single bed. Each room has a large private bath with two sinks and a shower.

Meals
Meals are a tasty combination of Belizean and American dishes served family-style. Fresh seafood, local produce and home-baked pastries are standard fare. You will awaken each morning to fresh coffee or tea served on your verandah. Three delicious meals are part of our vacation packages.

Depending upon your plans and your preference,you will have the option to take a packed lunch or return to the lodge for lunch. Following hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, dinner is the big meal of the day comprised of soup or salad, entree and homemade dessert. Entrees vary among seafood, chicken, pork and beef. If you have special dietary needs, we will do our best to accommodate them.

Our bar is well stocked with Scotch, Bourbon, Gin, Rum, Vodka, Tequila and several liqueurs. In addition, we offer a variety of wines as well as local Belikin beer. Cuban and Dominican cigars are available as well.

The Cabanas

The Cabanas:

Our eight spacious, air-conditioned cabanas are located on the beach with a panoramic view of Turneffe’s coral reef.

Each cabana has two queen sized beds, built in dresser and desk and an incredible view of the reef.  Each room has a large private bath with two sinks and a large walkin shower.

Reef Villa

Reef Villa

The Reef Villa is a three bedroom villa with common area.  This option offers a large beach area in front as perhaps the best view of all. The common area includes a sitting area with satellite television and a small kitchenette without cooking facilities.

The common area includes a sitting area with satellite television and a small kitchenette without cooking facilities. The common area includes a sitting area with satellite television and a small kitchenette without cooking facilities.

Garden Villa

Garden Villa

The Garden Villa is also a three bedroom villa with a larger common area. This building is set slightly back from the beach but has wonderful views of the manicured grounds and the Caribbean. The Garden Villa’s spacious common area is a great gathering area for friends and family. Satellite television and a small kitchen area, without cooking facilities, compliments this room.

The Garden Villa has three nicely appointed guest rooms, each with a private bathroom.

Lodging photo gallery

Packing List

Tropical Packing List

Packing ItemPacking Item
PassportCamera & media
Photocopy of Passport (packed separately)Computer
Airline ticketsCell Phone
Itinerary with contact numbersReading & writing materials
Emergency Medical insurance docs ( if purchased)Rod repair (tip top and glue)
Major credit cardSun gloves
Cash for tips (there are a couple ATMs in San Pedro but they may not be working))Face Sun protection (buff)
2 Hats with brim and neck guard (or sun hat for non anglers)Sunburn relief spray
2-4 long sleeve shirts for fishing (SPF fabric)Sunscreens SPF 30 or above
2 quick dry pant for fishing (SPF fabric)Sun block for lips and nose
2 quick dry shorts for fishing (SPF fabric)Toiletries
White socks (tops of feet get burned in the boats or wear under wading shoes)Prescription meds
UnderwearNon-prescription Meds
Casual pants or shortsEyeglasses (and spare)
Casual shirts, short sleeveFly Rods
SandalsReels
BeltFanny or other small fishing pack
Light sweater or fleeceWater bottle ( Holster optional)
SocksWaterproof boat bag
Wading shoesLines
Bathing suits,Leaders
T- ShirtsTippet
Sandals or walking shoes ( Barefoot is good)Flies
Rain jacket (an occasional cold squall will roll though or the boat spray may chill you to the bone!)Nippers
Bug repellent (for dead clam days or evenings)Pliers/forceps
Sunglasses (polarized with lanyard)


Fishing


Turneffe Flats Lodge – Fishing

For more than two decades, Turneffe Flats has been known as one of the world’s premier flats fishing destinations combining a remarkable fishery with excellent English-speaking guides, top-notch equipment and superior service. The ability to sight-fish for BONEFISH, PERMIT and TARPON on any given day makes Turneffe one of the few places where a Grand Slam is always a possibility.

Turneffe Atoll is the largest of only four coral atolls in the Western Hemisphere, and is best-known for its variety of saltwater fishing. Turneffe Flats is located on a picturesque point with white sand beach and coconut palms. The coral reef is a stone’s throw away and a large bonefish flat is right outside the front door.

Species

Bonefish have been a primary target of Turneffe Flats’ anglers for more than 20 years.  While wading the expansive

A Typical TF Bonefish

flats on the seaward side of Turneffe, you will regularly see large schools of bonefish providing an unequaled opportunity for new saltwater anglers to learn the basics of the sport. There is also plenty of challenging fishing for those who enjoy stalking larger fish (some in excess of 10 pounds) in skinny water.

Our ocean side flats, some only 5 to 15 minutes from the lodge, are some of the most picturesque flats anywhere. While wading the flats at Turneffe you will cast to large schools of bonefish averaging 2-3 pounds, with 4-8 pound fish common and some fish as large as 10-12 pounds.

The ocean side flats also offer the opportunity to pursue small schools, singles and doubles. This fishing requires casting accuracy and provides the added challenge many seasoned saltwater anglers relish.

Bonefish are present in equal numbers throughout the year and they are on the flats most of the time. This differentiates Turneffe’s bonefish from those in other areas, such as the Florida Keys, where bonefish only enter the flats in search of a meal. These are very lush flats full of crabs, shrimp and other bonefish foods. As a result, these fish can become selective. This can make for challenging fishing and the right tackle, flies, presentation and fishing techniques are all important.

Bonefish also inhabit the mangrove-lined lagoons and flats on the interior of the Atoll. These bonefish are generally larger and take flies more readily than the ocean side fish; although they tend to be on the move, making casting accuracy more crucial. Fishing for these fish is mostly done from the bow of our 16-foot Dolphin Superskiffs.

There is a wadeable flat immediately in front of the lodge, allowing you extra fishing in the early morning or evening.

Dick Brown, author of Fly Fishing for Bonefish, has named Turneffe Flats “One of The World’s Seven Best for Bonefish.”

A Lagoon Side Permit

Permit are the prime objective of many saltwater anglers these days and with Turneffe Flats leading the way, Belize has gained a reputation as the permit capital of the world.  As much hunting as it is fishing, permit present a unique challenge and many guests have celebrated their first ever permit with us.  At Turneffe Flats you may have a better chance to land a permit than anywhere else.

Most permit are found a singles or in small groups on the flats and bars throughout the Turneffe Atoll, although we also frequently see larger schools of permit tailing in shallow water. Most of our permit fishing is done from a poled skiff but we also see permit on the wadeable ocean-side flats.  Many saltwater anglers have landed their first permit with Turneffe Flats.

In 2007,  Fly Fishing in Saltwater magazine named Turneffe Atoll as one of the 10 best permit destinations in the world.

A Migratory Tarpon

Tarpon are perhaps the ultimate challenge of saltwater fly-fishing.  Although there are always some resident tarpon to be found, our migratory tarpon season extends from mid-April to October.  Tarpon inhabit the creeks, channels and lagoons of the Atoll and most tarpon jumped are 60-90 pounds, with some fish in the 100-150 pound range and occasional monsters approaching 200 pounds.

More About the Fishing

Our Skiffs

We fish from 16-foot Dolphin Superskiffs custom built in the U.S. These are comfortable skiffs that cut the chop when running and pole well in skinny water. They have large casting decks and rod holders for six rods. All skiffs are equipped with VHF radios and safety gear.

Daily Fishing Schedule

Our fishing schedule is as flexible as possible. A standard day’s fishing is about 8 hours. Generally the fishing day begins after breakfast and ends around 5 p.m. although it is adjusted depending on the tides and other factors.

Each day you will have the option to take a delicious packed lunch or return to the lodge for the noon meal. Our Managers will coordinate your fishing each evening for the following day.
Early morning fishing, particularly for tarpon, can be exceptional, and arrangements to go tarpon fishing before breakfast are easily made.

Catch and Release: We believe strongly in protecting the fishery at Turneffe. With rare exception, all fish at Turneffe Flats are released.

Tackle & Gear

Buy your gear at Pro guide direct and help your local guide - Me!!Here is a list of the basics you will need for your trip. I have organized this list on Pro Guide Direct where you can actually purchase the brands and items that I have found to be the best of the best. Any Items that you purchase from Pro Guide Direct will help us earn a living and help you by being ensuring that you have the right gear for the trip. Many of our destinations are pretty remote with no chance to buy things on site.
Bonefish

Rods:  9 foot 8-9 weight(maybe a 10 on a windy day)

Lines: Floating tropical line

Reel: Large Arbor Disc drag reel with 200 yards of backing

Leaders:  9 ft-12 ft leaders with 10-12 lb. flourocarbon tippet

 

Permit

Rods: 9 foot  10 weight

Lines: Floating tropical line

Reel: Large Arbor Disc drag reel with 200 yards of backing

Leaders: 9-12 ft leaders with 12-15 lb. flourocarbon tippet

 

Baby Tarpon

Rods: 9 foot  10 weight

Lines: #1 Floating tropical line  #2 Floating with clear sink tip

Reel: Large Arbor Disc drag reel with 300 yards of  20 pound backing

Leaders: 10-12 ft leaders with 25 lb. flourocarbon and 60 lb shock tippet

 

Big Tarpon

Rods: 9 foot 12 weight

Lines: #1 Floating tropical line  #2 Intermediate full sinking  #3 Floating with clear sink tip

Reel: Large Arbor Disc drag reel with 300 yards of  45  pound backing

Leaders: 10-12 ft leaders with 30 lb. flourocarbon and 80 lb shock tippet

 

Barracuda/Sharks

bring the wire bite guards!!

 

The Fly List:

Go a little smaller than you might think,  better to have too many 8’s than 4’s for the bonefish.  Tie a few patterns with just the weight of the eyes as a variable 1 with lead eyes, 1 with chain, 1 with small chain, and 1 with no weight or mono eyes just to make sure you have flies for very skinny water all the way to waist deep water.  Presentation seems to be much more important than fly selection.  Weed guards will be a plus on the grass flats.

Fly NameColorsSizesQty for a 1
Week Trip
Toad Flychatreuse, olive, tan, purple/black1, 1/012
Cockroachstandard 1/0, 2/04
Black Deathwhite, tan1/0, 2/04
Purple Demonpurple/black1/0, 2/04
Layup tarpon fly brown, chatreuse ,yellow1, 1/06
Enrico's Tarpon StreamerPurple & Black2/04
Enrico's Tarpon PinfishOlive/white3/04
Del's Merkin tan/brown 1/0, 2, 46
Turneffe CrabCream, olive2, 4, 64
Clouser minnowchatr/white 1/0-2/06
Bonefish CLouserassorted4-612
Crazy Charlie
bead eye
pink,white,tan,brw 4, 6, 812
Moe bonefish amber, pink 46
Christmas Island Specialspink, orange6, 818
Gotchastandard4, 6, 812

Packing List

Tropical Packing List

Packing ItemPacking Item
PassportCamera & media
Photocopy of Passport (packed separately)Computer
Airline ticketsCell Phone
Itinerary with contact numbersReading & writing materials
Emergency Medical insurance docs ( if purchased)Rod repair (tip top and glue)
Major credit cardSun gloves
Cash for tips (there are a couple ATMs in San Pedro but they may not be working))Face Sun protection (buff)
2 Hats with brim and neck guard (or sun hat for non anglers)Sunburn relief spray
2-4 long sleeve shirts for fishing (SPF fabric)Sunscreens SPF 30 or above
2 quick dry pant for fishing (SPF fabric)Sun block for lips and nose
2 quick dry shorts for fishing (SPF fabric)Toiletries
White socks (tops of feet get burned in the boats or wear under wading shoes)Prescription meds
UnderwearNon-prescription Meds
Casual pants or shortsEyeglasses (and spare)
Casual shirts, short sleeveFly Rods
SandalsReels
BeltFanny or other small fishing pack
Light sweater or fleeceWater bottle ( Holster optional)
SocksWaterproof boat bag
Wading shoesLines
Bathing suits,Leaders
T- ShirtsTippet
Sandals or walking shoes ( Barefoot is good)Flies
Rain jacket (an occasional cold squall will roll though or the boat spray may chill you to the bone!)Nippers
Bug repellent (for dead clam days or evenings)Pliers/forceps
Sunglasses (polarized with lanyard)

Fishing Photo Gallery


Rates


 7 Night/ 6 Day Packages 
(Sat.-Sat.)
Dec 16- JUNE 24 

 

 June 24 – Dec 16
 Fishing (2 anglers per boat & guide)
 $4390 $3790
 Diving 
 $2790 $2590
 Atoll Adventure $2590  $2390
 Fish/Dive Combination 
 $4490 $3990
 Single Fishing (Single Boat & Private Room) $6390 $5690
 Rest & Relaxation (use of on-site amenities only)
$2490  $22290

4 Night /3 Day Packages
 Fishing (2 anglers per boat & guide) $2590 $2590
 Diving $1690 $1690
 Atoll Adventure $1590 $1590
 Fish/Dive Combination $2790 $2,595 
 Single  Fishing (Single Boat & Private Room) $3490 $3490
 Rest & Relaxation (use of on-site amenities only) $1490 $1490

3 Night / 2 Day Packages
 Fishing  (2 anglers per boat & guide) $1690  $1690
 Diving  $1090  $1090
 Atoll Adventure $990 $990
 Fish/Dive Combination $1890 $1,745
 Single Fishing (Single Boat & Private Room) $2390  $2390
 Rest & Relaxation (use of on-site amenities only) $950 $990
Other Combinations available on request

Prices Include: round trip transportation from Belize City to the lodge, three meals a day, guided fishing-diving-touring (as booked) each day. Prices quoted are in US dollars.


Prices do not include: Belize taxes, Bar Tab or soft drinks, fishing license or gratuities for your guide and resort staff, Fishing License, Gear and equipment rentals

Why Book Through Flyfishingheaven.com?

Why book through flyfishingheaven.com?

1. Unbiased Advice:


Most people recognize the advantage of our unbiased advice, there are hundreds of destinations to choose from and our job is to know the ones that are right for your needs. We offer the real story you can't get from a lodge owner. Would the outfitter in questions tell you are booking in a less than stellar part of the year? Remember our unbiased advice is 100% free!



2. We Can Book Anywhere:


Our website highlights many of our favorite destinations but we have access to hundreds more. If there are fish there, we can book it. In fact, we will give you 5% back if you book a trip through us that is not on our website! We enjoy learning about new spots!



3. Loyalty Discounts:


2017 Special: You are automatically enrolled in our loyalty program before your first trip and will get the 5% cash back on your very first trip. This offer is good until December 31, 2017. In January you will ear your loyalty discount on the second trip and every trip thereafter. This discount applies to all your friends who are going with you as well. f you organize a group of 8 or more we will give you 10% off! All you have to do is book the first trip and you are a flyfishingheaven.com frequent fisher!



4. Price Guarantee:


If you find a price lower than ours we will beat that price by 5% if you book through flyfishingheaven.com!

Our Pledge

We promise to work for you, not a lodge, outfitter or resort. We pledge to get you you to a destination that will live up to your expectations at the best possible price. You will never be charged more than booking directly (in fact most of our clients are paying less - *see below). We will make sure you are well prepared for your trip with specific knowledge about the gear, the flies, the rods, packing lists, travel documents, connecting information everything. Since we are not tied to a particular destination we promise honest pros and cons of any destination at the time of year you are traveling.

We do earn a small commission when we book a trip as all lodges and outfitters offer this as they depend on agencies like ours for much of their business. This fee is paid by the lodge not you, and they do not keep different prices for direct bookings vs agency bookings, it is bad business.


Payment and Cancelation Polices

A 10% deposit is required if you are booking more than 6 months in advance, 50% deposit is required when less than 6 months until departure date with the balance due 60 days prior to departure. If you are forced to cancel with more than 60 days notice, you may keep full credit towards another trip or receive a refund less a 10% service charge. Deposits on cancellations with less than 60 days notice are not refundable unless your spot can be filled. MC, Visa, and checks are accepted. We recommend travel and or medical emergency insurance for all our trips.



Seasons


Turneffe Fishing Calendar

MonthBonefishPermitTarponReef Fish
JanuaryGoodGoodPoorExcellent/Good
FebruaryGood/ExcellentGood/ExcellentPoorExcellent/Good
MarchGood/ExcellentExcellentPoorExcellent/Good
AprilGood/ExcellentExcellentGoodExcellent
MayExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
JuneExcellentGood/ExcellentExcellentExcellent
JulyExcellentGood/ExcellentExcellentExcellent
AugustExcellentGood/ExcellentExcellentExcellent/Good
SeptemberExcellentGoodGoodE/Good
OctoberExcellentGoodPoorGood/Fair
NovemberGood/ExcellentGoodPoorGood/Fair
DecemberGoodFairPoorExcellent

Gallery


Photo Gallery

Please take a look at the photo and video galleries related to Turneffe Flats Lodge.


Activities


Turneffe Flats Lodge – Activities

The atolls of Belize are consistently rated amongst the world’s best dive destinations as well as the worlds best fishing destinations. With pristine coral reefs, abundant marine life and warm Caribbean seas, it’s easy to see why.

Small dive groups are our norm (6 to 12 divers) with our excellent Instructors and Dive Masters emphasizing personalized service and maximum flexibility. PADI Dive Instruction is available on-site and we offer a range of courses including Discover SCUBA Diving, Open Water Referral, Advanced SCUBA Diver Certification and various Specialty Courses.

For the non Diver or non fisher we have developed a diversified marine ecotourism vacation combining our world-class snorkeling with several other activities which we call our Atoll Adventure.

Incredible snorkeling is a mainstay of this package with a wide variety of snorkeling choices. Observe manatees and dolphins in their natural habitats or look for more than 60 bird species identified at Turneffe. This unique program is exciting, educational and fun. Learn the fascinating history of the Turneffe Atoll beginning with the Maya, who fished and traded on the Turneffe Atoll as far back as 400 A.D., to the Pirates of the Caribbean who used Turneffe as a favored hideout. Join a Belizean cooking class or just relax in a hammock under the coconut palms.

Diving

Dive Turneffe Atoll and Lighthouse Reef

Belize’s Atolls consistently ranks among the World’s top dive locations and Turneffe Flats is ideally located to take advantage of Belize’s very best Scuba diving. Our extaordinary dive program offers 18 dives each week including a day of diving at Lighthouse Reef and the Blue Hole, weather permitting.

We easily access more than 60 dive sites around the Turneffe Atoll; and are within an hour’s boat ride to the Blue Hole. At Turneffe Flats, we offer true valet dive service. After putting your dive gear on your porch the first morning, it is washed and set up on the dive boat the remainder of the week. All you need to do is walk to the dive boat after a delicious breakfast and head for one of our exceptional dive sites.

We emphasize personalized service for a limited number of divers, generally no more that twelve on our Pro 48. Our superb dive team is led by Belize’s Tour Guide of the Year, Alex Edwards, and they make every effort to ensure that your stay at our tropical paradise is as comfortable and carefree as possible.

We recognize that a dive vacation is more than just diving, and we do our best to make your entire experience is something special. While diving throughout the Turneffe Atoll, you will see a variety of hard and soft corals as well as all of the Caribbean tropicals, eagle rays, sharks, turtles, dolphins, moray eels, and occasionally a whale shark in addition to large schools of permit, horse eye jacks and dog snapper.

A Typical Days Diving

Following a great breakfast, a typical dive day begins at 8:00 and includes three boat dives. Depending on our dive location, we either return to the resort for lunch or pack a lunch. Travel to our dive sites takes from ten minutes to an hour with our longest trip to the Blue Hole. On Blue Hole day we leave between 7:00 and 7:30 AM which oftern makes us the first boat at the site. Our weekly night dive is usually on Wednesday evening; and we generally dive the Elbow, at the Southern tip of Turneffe, later in the week. OnFridays, we do two or three dives depending on divers flights the following day.

Our Dive Locations

As the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Caribbean, Turneffe offers spectacular underwater terrain including spur and groove formations, sandy ledges and sheer walls providing spectacular dive sites suited for every level of diver. Our location, near the middle of the seaward side of the Atoll, allows us good access to all of Turneffe’s dive sites allowing our dive guests the opportunity to dive the best possible sites each day regardless of weather.

The Eastern side of Turneffe is protected by 35 miles of reef. It shelves gradually to about 60 feet where spur and groove formations meet the wall. Nutrients from the mangroves are dispersed to the reef by the tides causing large concentrations of feeding fish to congregate.

On the West side of the Atoll, large mangroves stands provide shelter from the trade winds and heavy seas. A gently sloping bottom lies at 30-50 feet with large coral formations covering the white sand bottom. The reduced wave action allows sponges and soft corals to grow magnificently and sea feathers of 5 feet are common.

The North side of Turneffe is sometimes effected by trade wind swells but on the calmer days we can explore these mostly untouched dive sites. Schools of mutton snapper, Atlantic spadefish and permit hover 80 feet above the sea floor and blue runners make close passes, apparently attracted by the bubbles of the strange “Neoprene-clad creatures”.

Turneffe’s Southern point offers a variety of popular dive sites featured in many of the Belize dive guides. The Elbow is probably the best know site here with the ocean current sweeping over the deep reef to attract schools of pelagic fish. As you travel up the Southwest or Southeast sides of the atoll, dive sites vary from patch reef nurseries with dramatic coral formations to steep drop-offs.

Personalized Service

We specialize in providing personalized service for small dive groups and try to be as flexible as possible with our diving. New divers can gain experience with the individual attention they may require and experienced divers can enjoy the freedom of spectacular wall diving, drift diving and underwater photography opportunities.

On the dive boat, we provide towels, cold drinks and fresh fruit as well as a fresh water rinse tank for camera equipment. Unless you request otherwise, you do not have to handle your dive equipment during your stay. Our staff will change all tanks and rinse your dive gear daily before storing it.

The Blue Hole and Lighthouse Reef
A hightlight of any dive vaction in Belize is a trip to the Blue Hole and Lighthouse Atoll. Our location offers excellent access to the Blue Hole; and, weather permitting, a weekly trip to the Blue Hole is a standard part of our Dive Program. This is a full day trip with the the initial dive at the Blue Hole generally followed by Half Moon Hall and the Aquarium. A mid-day stop at Half Moon Caye for a picnic lunch and a visit to the Red Footed Boobie Bird Sancturary is a hightlight.

Dive Safety

Your dive safety is of the utmost importance to Turneffe Flats. For this reason, and to ensure that you see the best of the marine life, a qualified Divemaster and/or Instructor is in the water at all times. We use the buddy system, conduct safety stops on every dive and plan adequate surface intervals between dives. Our staff is First Aid & Oxygen First Aid trained and we are affiliated with Subaquatic Safety Services which operates the Hyperbaric Chamber in Belize.

Nitrox

Nitrox is available as is Nitrox Certification.

Atoll Adventure

Marine Eco-Adventure

Explore the wonders and the beauty of the Turneffe Atoll. This is unique marine eco-adventure experience featuring snorkeling, birding or one of several other fun and informative activities. Or, if you are so-inclined, you can stay at the resort and lounge on our beach. Every day offers a great new adventure and a perfect opportunity to relax – that’s what our Atoll Adventure is all about.

Atoll Adventurers choose from a variety of daily guided activities led by one of our experienced Atoll Adventure guides (Abel Coe pictured), all of whom are informative and fun. Our 25 foot canopied boat is at your guide’s disposal for exploring the reefs, mangroves, creeks and lagoons that make Turneffe the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean. Snorkeling is one activity that you will want to experience with Turneffe’s world-class snorkeling featuring warm Caribbean waters, a myriad of tropical reef creatures and incredible coral structures. Our guides are masters at helping everyone feel comfortable in the water and beginners can learn to snorkel on our sandy shore before visiting the reef. With at least 60 species of birds at Turneffe, birding is another highlight. You may also want to tour the atoll looking for manatees and dolphins or enjoy an afternoon kayaking. Our Atoll Adventure Program is a very flexible and is tailored to fit the particular interests of each group.

Turneffe has a fascinating history, including Mayan fishing and trading settlements dating to 400 A.D. Turneffe was also a favored hideout for the notorious pirate, Blackbeard. For most guests, learning about the history of Turneffe as well as the fascinating history of Belize is one of the more enjoyable parts of their visit.

Our top Atoll Adventure guide, Abelino “Abel” Coe, was born and raised in a Mayan community in Southern Belize and his first language was Maya. Abel is an avid student of Mayan history and he is well-versed Belize’s history. Days with Abel are informative and fun. He knows the flora and fauna of Turneffe intimately and is very adept and finding all of the interesting things. Abel is an excellent snorkeler and makes his guests feel comfortable visiting the underwater wonders at Turneffe.

There are several Atoll Adventure tours for the group to enjoy including those listed below. Please see Activity Options on the drop down menu under Atoll Adventure for the details of each tour.

Snorkeling Tours
Manatee & Dophin Tours
Flats Walking Tour
Turneffe Birding Tour
Sea Shell & Starfish Tour
The Maya and Turneffe
Sea Kayaking
Mainland Tours
Crocodile Tour
Lighthouse Atoll – Snorkeling and Birding Tour
Evening Island Tour
Belizean Cooking Class
Discover SCUBA Diving Course

Snorkeling

Turneffe Atoll offers several world-class snorkeling sites and our guides know them all. You can expect to see a wide variety of tropical reef fishes, rays, sea turtles, lobsters, dolphins and possibly occasionally manatees.

While snorkeling, you will always be accompanied by one of our experienced Atoll Adventure Guides who are masters at helping even novice snorkelers feel comfortable in the water.

They will make sure that your equipment fits and will teach you the best snorkeling techniques. They know where to find all of the interesting creatures and will ensure that you make the most of your snorkeling adventure.

Manatees and Dolphins

Enjoy touring the Atoll in search of bottlenose and spotted dolphins. Numerous pods cruise the shallow water throughout the Atoll using their sonar system to hunt for fish and crustaceans buried in the sand. Often, they attracted by the sound of an engine and will suddenly pop up near the boat to have a look.

Turneffe is home to a population of West Indian Manatees which grow to 1,300 pounds and trundle along the sea grass beds browsing on sea grass. Their only living relative is the elephant and they have remnants of toenails on their front flippers. These shy creatures can be seen in several of the creeks and channels around Turneffe Atoll.

Birding


More than 60 species of birds have been identified on the Turneffe Atoll with the following commonly seen: the snowy egret, little blue heron, great blue heron, tricolored heron, yellow-crowned night heron, clapper rail, mangrove swallow, brown pelican, magnificent frigatebird, double-crested cormorant, osprey, mangrove warbler, great tailed grackle, goldenfronted woodpecker, tropical mockingbird, cinnamon hummingbird, great breasted mango, hooded oriole, white crowned pigeon and royal tern.

Seen on occasion are: the belted kingfisher, white-eyed vireo, northern waterthrush, barn swallow, perigrine falcon, merlin, common yellowthroat, bay breasted warbler, red-eyed vireo, palm warbler, cape may warbler, eastern wood pewee, summer tanager, brown booby, yucatan vireo, american redstart, least tern and the roseate tern.

Sea Shell & Starfish Tour

At several sandy areas around the atoll, you can snorkel above huge cushion sea stars, varying in color from pale yellow to burgundy red. If you wish to add to your seashell collection, there are opportunities to walk the shores of the many small cayes on the Atoll to search for a variety of shells that wash up with each tide. Conch fishing is a vital part of the commercial fishing economy at Turneffe and there are thousands of discarded queen conch shells to choose from. In addition, you may find exoskeletons of long spined sea urchins and intact West Indian sea eggs.

Crocodile Tour

Turneffe Atoll is one of the largest remaining nesting areas in the Caribbean for the docile and threatened American Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus ). Join our Adventure Guide for a leisurely boat ride around the mangrove islands for the opportunity to see these crocodiles in their natural habitat. You are likely to see crocs sunning themselves or swimming in isolated lagoons. Additionally, you will see crocodile nests and possibly baby crocodiles.TF-Atoll-Croc

Unlike the Australian and African crocodiles, American Crocodiles are fish eaters and they are very timid. When approached while sunning on the shore, they run for the safety of the water and submerge. One evening during the week our guides conduct a “Crocodile Tour” in which they slowly motor through the lagoons looking for the red glow of crocodile eyes.

Flats Walking Tour

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Just inside the fringe reef along the seaward side of the atoll are miles of shallow, gin clear flats. This is the area where fly fishing anglers search for bonefish and permit, and the “flats” are alive with sea creatures of all sorts. With a discerning eye and the aid of your guide, you will likely see schools of bonefish, permit, trunk (box) fish, barracuda, small rays, snappers and even small sharks. In the surf you can sometimes see large parrot fish or trigger fish with their backs half out of the water.

The flats are covered with turtle grass, which is a key habitat for many species of juvenile fish, and the flats are also vital in protecting the coral reef by acting as a sediment filter.

Atoll Eco-Tour

To some extent, this is the culmination of several tours. Its combination of healthy coral reef, back reef flats, extensive sea grass beds and mangroves make Turneffe the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean.

The Turneffe Atoll is one of only three coral atolls in the Caribbean. Two others (Lighthouse Atoll and Glover’s Atoll) are located in Belize and the fourth is in Southern Mexico. Formation of these coral atolls was accomplished through years of coral buildup rather than by volcanic activity – the more common mechanism of atoll formation. The entire Atoll is surrounded by a fringe coral reef with waters inside the reef varying from less than a foot deep to 30 feet in depth. Ocean depths around the atoll are thought to reach 10,000 feet.

Approximately 30 miles long and 10 miles across, Turneffe has evolved as a model coastal marine ecosystem. This involves the following intimately interrelated habitats; the coral reef, the back reef flats, the sea grass beds, the mangroves and the littoral forest. During you visit you will learn how all of these varied habitats are interrelated and interdependent. You will learn what is required to sustain healthy coral reefs, the functions of the back reef flats, the importance of healthy sea grass beds and the reasons that mangroves are vital to the entire ecosystem.
In the end, we hope that you will agree that the unique and special environment of the Turneffe Atoll warrants protection from threats such as over-fishing, over-development and improper development that have decimated much of the coastal ecology in other parts of the world.

Kayaking

At most any time during your stay you may want to take one of our sea kayaks out for a better look at the surroundings and to enjoy the marine life close at hand. While getting some exercise, you can explore the creeks that wind amongst the mangrove islands, and the myriad of marine life inhabiting the “flats” including boxfish, stingrays and bonefish. Take your snorkeling gear with you and take a dip when you need to cool off or take a closer look at the marine life.

The Maya and Turneffe

Your Atoll Adventure guide, Abel Coe, is a Kek’chi Mayan who grew up in a Mayan village in Southern Belize. He will explain the history of the Maya in Belize as well as the traditions and beliefs of the Mayan culture. His knowledge and ability to share it is something special.Several Mayan fishing villages have been identified on the Turneffe Atoll dating to 400 A.D. Turneffe was clearly part of the intricate trade routes of the Maya and artifacts from Turneffe indicate that they traded goods with peoples as far away as Guatemala.
Belize is thought to have been at the center of the Maya civilization, which was at its peak from i 900 B.C. to 900 A.D. Today, Mayan people make up approximately 11% of the population of Belize with several villages still speaking one of the three Maya languages as their first language. Learn about the three Mayan groups inhabiting Belize – the Yucatec, the Mopan & the Kek’chi Maya. If you are lucky, you may run across a Maya artifact or two.

Belizean Cooking Class

Spend part of a day in the kitchen with one of our cooks learning how to prepare empanadas, tortillas or garnaches the Belizean way. This is more than a cooking class; it is a culture class. You will leave with fond memories as well as recipes.

Lighthouse Atoll

Weather conditions allowing, our Scuba Divers make a weekly trip to Lighthouse Atoll and you will have an opportunity join them for the day at the southern end of the the Atoll. Your first stop will be The Great Blue Hole. This amazing structure was formed millions of years ago when the roof an underground cave collapsed.

Now, the cave is filled with seawater and forms a circular hole 1000 feet in diameter and 480 feet deep. This is primarily a SCUBA diving attraction but the coral edges provide a unique and wonderful snorkeling experience. Next, you will visit Half Moon Caye. This small caye was established as a Crown Reserve in 1928 and became the first Marine Reserve in Belize. Here a colony of red-footed booby birds nest in the tops of the Zericote trees. Whereas the red-footed boobies in the Galapagos and other parts of the world have brown plumage, almost all of these 4000 birds display the rare white color phase.

The magnificent frigatebird, with a 7 foot wingspan also shares this rookery. Since they cannot land on water, they mostly feed by harassing the returning boobies until they drop their catch. Some 98 other species of birds have been documented on the caye including ospreys, great tailed grackles, cinnamon hummingbirds and white-crowned pigeons.

If you feel like some additional exercise, you can kayak a half mile to the shipwreck of the Ermlund. The wreckage of this vessel sits on the top of the reef where it was deposited during a storm in 1971.

After a picnic lunch under the shade of the palm trees we set off for Long Caye, to snorkel “The Aquarium”. Here you watch from above as divers feed thousands of bermuda chub, sergeant majors and yellowtail snappers with leftover bread.
If we are lucky, a large pod of bottlenose dolphin or spinner dolphin will escort us part of the way back to Turneffe Flats.

Mainland Tours

A mainland tour is optional. If you wish to do a mainland tour you will travel to Belize City on our supply day (usually Wednesday), meet with one of the best tour guides in Belize and visit a Mayan Ruin, the Belize Zoo, or the rain forest. The mainland tour is an additional expense, which is paid directly to the tour operator. Costs depend upon the tour chosen, but usually range from $50-$75/person.

Discover Scuba Course

Have you ever wondered about SCUBA Diving? During your stay, you may want to experience the excitement of SCUBA Diving with a Discover SCUBA Diving Course. Our PADI Dive Instructors offer this introductory diving course which consists of basic SCUBA instruction followed by two shallow dives of no more than 30 feet. There is an additional charge for this course.


Travel


Turneffe Flats Lodge – Travel Tips

Travel:

DO NOT FORGET YOUR PASSPORT. A valid passport is required to enter Belize. We recommend that you carry a change of clothing and your necessary personal items such as medications in your carry-on bag. Although we have not had a substantial problem with lost luggage, this can help prevent some major headaches. Keep the bottom portion of your Immigration Form, which you will fill out on your arriving flight. It will be used when you depart Belize.

Currency:

US currency is easily exchanged in Belize at a rate of $2 BLZ for $1 US, and you do not need to exchange money before leaving the U.S. Large US bills ($50’s and $100’s) are difficult to break, and we suggest that you bring smaller bills. Other currencies should be exchanged for Belizean dollars or US dollars prior to traveling to Belize. Turneffe Flats accepts MasterCard, VISA, and Discover as well as travelers checks or personal checks drawn on U.S. banks. Major Credit Cards are accepted in Belize City.

Arrival:

We ask that all flights arrive no later than 3:30 p.m. Upon arrival at Belize International Airport, you will pick up your luggage, clear Customs and exit the airport. In case you need assistance with your luggage (a very short distance), airport porters are available. As you exit Customs, a Turneffe Flats representative will meet you and transport you to the Radisson Hotel Marina. At the Marina, you will be notified of the boat’s scheduled departure time, which varies according to guest arrivals. There is a restaurant/bar at the Marina for lunch or a beverage while you wait to leave for Turneffe Flats. If for some reason you cannot find a representative of Turneffe Flats at the airport, please take a taxi to the Radisson Hotel.

If your flight is delayed and you miss our transfer boat, you will need to stay in Belize City on Saturday night and catch our guide boat fat 7:30 a.m. Sunday. If the guide boat is full, you will need to hire a charter to take you across. This will be at your own expense and Turneffe Flats can arrange this for you. If you need help with Saturday night arrangements, please contact the island (220-4046) or the reservation office (888-512-8812, option 1). Plan to be at boat with your luggage by 7:15 a.m. Sunday. We will contact you Saturday night to discuss the next day’s arrangements. The cost of meals and lodging, and/or the charter in Belize City is not covered in your Turneffe Flats package.

Boat Trip to Turneffe:

The boat trip to Turneffe Flats takes approximately 90 minutes. You will travel throught several off-shore cayes, the Barrier Reef, across open ocean and then through the Turnfffe Atoll to Turneffe Flats.

Meals:

We pride ourselves in providing quality dining complete with fresh fruits, fresh seafood and fresh baked pastries. Meals are served family-style in the main lodge, and are a tasty combination of Belizean and American dishes. The coffeepot in your room will be prepared and ready to go. A breakfast of fresh fruit, cereal, eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage and fresh baked goods is served from 7:00-8:00 a.m. Lunch at the lodge, is served between noon and 2:00. Guests will have the daily option of returning for lunch or taking a packed lunch. Hors d’ oeuvres and cocktails are served at 6:15. Dinner, at 7:00, is the big meal of the day. Entrees vary from seafood, chicken, pork and beef.

Dress:

Dress at the lodge is casual and there is no need for formal clothing.

Main Lodge:

The social center for Turneffe Flats is our centrally air-conditioned main lodge, which includes our dining area and bar. A pre-dinner gathering for hors d’oeuvres, drinks and conversation is customary. The large breezy verandah is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the evening. The gift shop is also located in this building.

Guest Rooms:

Our accommodations include eight large cabanas located on the beach plus two large three-bedroom villas.

Our sea-side cabanas have a panoramic view of the Caribbean and Turneffe Atoll reef. Our Reef Villa is located on the beach with a wonderful view of the reef. The Garden Villa, our newest and most deluxe accommodation, is set back from the beach but enjoys a fantastic view as well. All rooms are air-conditioned and most are furnished with twoqueen sized beds. All rooms have private bathrooms.

Power:

Turneffe Flats is operated with diesel generators, which supply 110V/220V AC. Generators run around the clock and are not within hearing distance of guest rooms.

Water:

Water is primarily supplied by rainwater collection and desalinization. Our fresh water supply is somewhat limited, and we ask that guests conserve water when possible.

Internet Access:

We do have wireless internet access in our Main Lodge and in some of the closer cabins. This services provides email and internet usage; however, our satellite- based bandwidth is limited and we are NOT able to support Skype or other VOIP protocols, instant messenger services, Youtube, video downloads, webcam, streaming video, IP TV, IP based mobile phones or other applications that requirelarge amounts of band width.

Bar:

Our bar is well stocked with at least scotch, bourbon, gin, rum, vodka, tequila, vermouth and several liqueurs. In addition, we have red and white wine as well as local Belikin beer. Liquor, beer and drink setups are not included in your package price. Individual tabs are kept, and you can check on your tab at any time during your stay.

Lodge Expenses:

At the end of your stay, you may pay your tab with cash, travelers’ check, personal check or credit card – Turneffe Flats accepts VISA, MasterCard & Discover. Tips are best paid with cash or travelers checks but if you wish to use your credit card, a 3% charge will be levied on that portion of your tab. Also, please remember we have a limited amount of change available at the resort.

Belize Tours:

We can help arrange tours of the many points of interest in Belize either before or after your stay at Turneffe Flats. These arrangements are best made prior to your departure with the reservation office or through your booking agent.

If your outgoing flight leaves you with a couple of hours, you might want to spend them touring the Maya ruins at Alta Hun, visiting the Belize Zoo or seeing the Museum of Belize.

Once “Her Majesty’s Prison,” the Museum now houses Maya artifacts and other relics. Other Belize City points of interest: the Swing Bridge, Supreme Court Building, Government House of Culture and St. John’s Anglican Church, constructed in 1812 from bricks brought as ballast from European Sailing ships.

About 30 miles from Belize City, Altun Ha is one of the easiest Maya site to reach and explore. Settlements here date back to about 200 B.C.

As for the zoo, it’s small, friendly and unique. It is home to Belize’s stunningly beautiful jaguar and other native species.

Tips:

As you are often asked about customary tipping practices, we offer the following suggestions for you convenience. Tips should be paid in cash or with traveler’s checks as the resort has a limited amount of change and we suggest that all tipping be done at the end of your visit. Suggestions below are in US dollars.

Fishing Guides: $10-$25 per angler per day for shared boat and $20-$50 per angler per day for private boat.
Dive Staff: $10-$20 per diver per day (this covers all dive staff)
Atoll Adventure Guides: $10-$20 per guest per day.
Lodge Staff: Kitchen staff, housekeepers, waitresses, luggage handlers, etc. $80-$100 per guest per week.
Emergencies: If you have an emergency, please call our reservation office at 888-512-8812. The phone number on the island is 011-501-232-9022 but it may be difficult to contact the island directly after 5:00.

Departure from Turneffe Flats:

After a light breakfast on Saturday, you will leave Turneffe Flats at approximately 7:30 A.M. After arrival in Belize City, you will be transferred to the airport in our van. We can accommodate any departing flight scheduled at 11:00 or later. Your airline MAY collect a departure tax at check-in of up to $40 U.S. per person depending on how your ticket was purchased. For guests with mid-late afternoon departures, we can arrange a half-day tour of a Mayan Ruin or The Belize Zoo with a local tour operator if you like.

Packing List

Tropical Packing List

Packing ItemPacking Item
PassportCamera & media
Photocopy of Passport (packed separately)Computer
Airline ticketsCell Phone
Itinerary with contact numbersReading & writing materials
Emergency Medical insurance docs ( if purchased)Rod repair (tip top and glue)
Major credit cardSun gloves
Cash for tips (there are a couple ATMs in San Pedro but they may not be working))Face Sun protection (buff)
2 Hats with brim and neck guard (or sun hat for non anglers)Sunburn relief spray
2-4 long sleeve shirts for fishing (SPF fabric)Sunscreens SPF 30 or above
2 quick dry pant for fishing (SPF fabric)Sun block for lips and nose
2 quick dry shorts for fishing (SPF fabric)Toiletries
White socks (tops of feet get burned in the boats or wear under wading shoes)Prescription meds
UnderwearNon-prescription Meds
Casual pants or shortsEyeglasses (and spare)
Casual shirts, short sleeveFly Rods
SandalsReels
BeltFanny or other small fishing pack
Light sweater or fleeceWater bottle ( Holster optional)
SocksWaterproof boat bag
Wading shoesLines
Bathing suits,Leaders
T- ShirtsTippet
Sandals or walking shoes ( Barefoot is good)Flies
Rain jacket (an occasional cold squall will roll though or the boat spray may chill you to the bone!)Nippers
Bug repellent (for dead clam days or evenings)Pliers/forceps
Sunglasses (polarized with lanyard)