An aerial view of Turneffe Island Resort

Resort Profile: Turneffe Island Resort

For anyone who has dreamed of traveling to a remote tropical atoll, but can't spend weeks getting there, this might be the answer. A two-hour flight from Miami or Houston, followed by a boat ride or helicopter hop, puts you on one of the only coral reef atolls in the Caribbean. Here, you can walk barefoot on the beach, be wined and dined like royalty, and welcomed like a favorite relative. And for divers, it gets even better, as some of the best underwater sites in the western Caribbean are just a short boat ride away.

An aerial view of Turneffe Island Resort
An aerial view of Turneffe Island Resort

The Resort

Turneffe Island Resort sits on a 14-acre private island located on the southeastern rim of its namesake atoll. Arriving guests are met on the mainland at the Philip Goldson International Airport, and from that point on, the resort staff handles all logistics of baggage and transfers. Depending on their schedule, guests may be taken to the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City to relax and grab bite to eat, or directly to the Bellevue Marina for a 90-minute boat ride to the resort. Caradonna Adventures can also arrange scenic helicopter flights directly from the airport to island.

Palm trees line the deck of the resort's pool, which is filled with clean fresh water created by an on-site purification system.
Palm trees line the deck of the resort's pool, which is filled with clean fresh water created by an on-site purification system.

As guests arrive at the dock, the resort staff is there to offer personal greetings. This sets the tone for a vacation experience that combines five-star personal service with opportunities for private relaxation. Ashore, a collection of red-roofed, Caribbean-Colonial buildings set amid palm trees, overlooking the white sand beach. Accommodation choices include Deluxe and Superior rooms, or private waterfront Villas. All are air-conditioned, fitted with ceiling fans and provide standard 110-volt electricity and ample supplies of pure fresh water. Interiors are finished entirely in rich mahogany and teak woods that create a warm, authentic alternative to cookie-cutter hotel decors.

Rich mahogany and teak woodwork add a warm ambiance to a Deluxe Room. Guests have the option of twin beds or a single king.
Rich mahogany and teak woodwork add a warm ambiance to a Deluxe Room. Guests have the option of twin beds or a single king.

Each of the eight deluxe rooms includes screen front porches with ocean views and direct beach access. Another nice touch added to each of these rooms are the outdoor showers, which are screened and walled for privacy, and accessed from the indoor bathroom. Couples can choose from a king bedroom, while dive buddies have the option of two twins. Upstairs are four superior rooms, which have elevated views from the porch, and vaulted ceilings finished in the same rich woodwork. Families or couples looking for a more space have the option of a private Villa. These stand-alone cottages are spaced along the beach but are just a short walk away from all resort amenities. For the ultimate indulgence, there is the two-bedroom Presidential Villa, which has its own private plunge pool on a beachside porch.

Many guests remark on the diverse and outstanding quality of the food at Turneffe Island Resort. Meals are included in all packages, with family-style breakfast, lunch and dinner seating supplemented by all-day snacks in the dining room, afternoon hors-d'oeuvres served poolside, and weekly special dinners such as the Friday night BBQ dinner and Sunday night traditional Belizean dinner. Other noteworthy amenities include a thatch-roofed beach bar, a multi-media lounge with movie and book library, a climate-controlled freshwater pool and a full-service spa. In addition to daily diving and fishing trips, guests have the use of Hobie Cat sailboats, kayaks and paddleboards. There is complimentary WiFi, satellite and land-line telephone service.

The Diving

The PADI-affiliated dive center is located at the foot of the dock and includes expected amenities such as a guest equipment storage room, rinse tank, camera table with dedicated rinse tank, and a shower. Full or partial sets of scuba equipment are available for rental, and Nitrox is available. In keeping with Turneffe Island Resort's five-star service attitude, the dive staff provides valet-level assistance, handling all setup, transport and rinsing of equipment. The staff includes six professional Dive Masters, two Master Instructors and a Master Trainer. The center offers programs from DSD experiences and open water referrals to advanced courses.

At the southern end of Turneffe Atoll, the site known as The Elbow is a spawning ground for many species of fish, including black grouper.
At the southern end of Turneffe Atoll, the site known as The Elbow is a spawning ground for many species of fish, including black grouper.
French angelfish patrol the reefs of Turneffe Atoll. These fish form monogamous bonds, and often travel and hunt in pairs.
French angelfish patrol the reefs of Turneffe Atoll. These fish form monogamous bonds, and often travel and hunt in pairs.

The resort operates a fleet of three 26-foot open dive launches that can cruise at 30 mph. This puts most local sites within a 5 to 15 minute run of the dock and allows divers to return and refresh after each dive excursion. These boats carry a maximum of eight divers and are fitted with dry boxes for personal items and sturdy dive ladders for easy entry. Also at the docks is a pair of custom-built Pro 42 dive boats for longer excursions such as day trips to Lighthouse Reef and the Blue Hole. Each can accommodate up to 20 divers and includes creature comforts such as bathroom facilities, refreshments, shaded decks, rinse tanks and dual ladders.

The dive center is located at the base of the resort's main dock, where it is just a short walk away from guest rooms.
The dive center is located at the base of the resort's main dock, where it is just a short walk away from guest rooms.
Small, fast dive launches are used for trips to sites within 5 to 15 minutes of the resort. The boats return to the resort after each dive to allow time to regroup and refresh.
Small, fast dive launches are used for trips to sites within 5 to 15 minutes of the resort. The boats return to the resort after each dive to allow time to regroup and refresh.

Weekly packages include 15 dives at the 30-plus sites found around the southern end of the atoll. This area offers many of Turneffe's best wall dives, and there are also numerous shallow to mid-depth sites that showcase intricate formations of staghorn, elkhorn, brain and lettuce leaf corals. Among the signature sites are the Sayonara wreck and the Elbow, which is considered by many to be the best dive site on Turneffe Atoll. Each Tuesday, weather permitting, all-day excursions are made to Lighthouse Reef to dive the Blue Hole and visit Half Moon Caye bird sanctuary and Long Caye. Measuring 1,00 feet across and dropping to depths of more than 400 feet, the Blue Hole is one of the most iconic dive sites in the Caribbean. Divers can descend on the vertical walls of this hole in the seabed to depths of 130 feet to view huge stalactites and possibly catch a glimpse of the gray reef sharks that frequent the site.

Day trips to the Blue Hole are made aboard one of the resort's two Pro 42 inboard dive boats.
Day trips to the Blue Hole are made aboard one of the resort's two Pro 42 inboard dive boats.

Turneffe Island Resort consistently earns top marks from guests and remains one of the most desirable diving destinations in the western Caribbean. Caradonna works with the resort to offer special itineraries and pricing, including special rates on a seven-night/15 dive package. If you want to know more, give us a call at 800-330-6611or send a note at sales@caradonna.com. We'd love to tell you more and help you start planning a trip to this unique destination.

Take a closer look among the crevices and coral heads of Turneffe Atoll and you may be rewarded with intriguing finds such as these hermit crabs.
Take a closer look among the crevices and coral heads of Turneffe Atoll and you may be rewarded with intriguing finds such as these hermit crabs.
An eagle ray glides across the sandy shallows of Turneffe Atoll.
An eagle ray glides across the sandy shallows of Turneffe Atoll.