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All reviewsbreakfast and lunchblue holebelize citydive masterdive sitesbig birdfishlaid backother guestsdive staffserved buffet styleturneffe atollgreat divingthe managersscreened in porchoff the beaten pathbug spray
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Reviewed July 9, 2017

We recently visited Blackbird Caye Dive Resort. We were greeted at the airport by staff that took us to the Radison in Belize City to have lunch (about 2 hours) while waiting for the remaining guests' flights to arrive. The boat ride to the resort was about 1.5 hours. During this time, we got to know our fellow divers and enjoy the view.
Once we arrived at the resort, we were given a quick introduction and welcome rum punch. Again, the guests gathered to get to know each other. (There were less than 20 guests and a staff of about 10 at the resort during our week there.)
Our room was part of the triplex. (We were a group of 6.) We shared a common screened in porch. The rooms were clean and like most dive resorts adequate but not really fancy. There are no TVs or radios at the resort. Guests are asked to not wear shoes inside any of the buildings; therefore, I did not wear shoes from the time I got there until I got on the boat the next Saturday to return home. There are no locks on any of the rooms. There is a small safe in which you can leave valuables, passports, and money. Since the island consisted of only divers and the staff, we felt very safe.
For those who need internet, the only internet is at the office area. I actually found it refreshing to be disconnected for the week.
The restaurant was accommodating for food preferences. Breakfast (7a) and lunch (1p) were served buffet style. Breakfast always had eggs and meat, breads, fruit, coffee, and juice. Lunch offered 2 entrees and deli meat, salad, and cookies. Dinner was always a choice of 2 entrees. The staff quickly met the dietary likes of a member of our group that did not eat seafood or pork. All meals were filling and delicious for such a small resort.
At the bar, Oscar and Jose, the bartenders, became fast friends of our group. (They not only served at the bar, but they served meals in the restaurant.) The bar offered interesting drinks, including the Belize "Panty Ripper"--yummy! The local Belize beer, Belikan, was $3 US per bottle. Mixed drinks were $6-$12 US each. About 5p, appetizers were brought to the bar from the kitchen. Again, our friend's dietary likes were met with an appetizer just for her if pork or seafood was in the dish. Oscar and Jose made our trip very special. These 2 gentlemen could teach many a US bartender how to relate to customers. We looked forward to spending our evenings with them, laughing and sharing stories.
The diving was superb! Our dives were led by Ed and Ralph ( aka Tuff Love). After our initial checkout dive, we were separated into 2 groups--nitrox ($14 tank) and air. We were allowed to dive our computers, which is important to us. Since we were the nitrox group, we dove mostly with Ed. He pointed out interesting things that we might have missed otherwise. He also did a lot of lionfish culling which the resort served as an appetizer in the bar on one of the nights. The dive boat returned to the resort after each dive so we were able to meet up with the nondivers and share what we saw. The dives went out at 8a, 11a, and 2:30p. Snorkeling was scheduled, if desired, usually once in the morning and at 2:30p. The last dive returned about 4p. Ed and Ralph joined us every late afternoon and evening at the bar to talk. Again, these guys became fast friends as we laughed and shared our lives.
The water temperature was 83*-85*F. I wore only a rash guard for all dives.
The trip to the Blue Hole was an all day, $240, excursion. Note: You MUST be advanced certified to dive the Blue Hole with this resort. I am only OW (with over 400 dives, excellent skills, and experiences throughout the Caribbean) and was not allowed to make this dive. I snorkeled the top which was beautiful. (Jose led this snorkel as yet another of his many talents.) The 2 dives afterwards, Half Moon Caye and Aquarium, made this trip for everyone! At HMC, we were circled by 4 sharks for about 10 minutes! The eagle rays were right there, also!
You will be asked to pay out on Thursday so the resort can make sure credit cards go through before you leave the island. You may want to take more than one credit card because we had someone whose card was denied. Any expenses from Thursday night and Friday are paid Saturday before leaving. You can tip by leaving a resort tip or tipping individuals. This can also go on your credit card. (I would call your credit card company before visiting even if not required.)
Leaving Blackbird Caye was sad. We met so many great people, exchanged emails, and cell numbers, and became FaceBook friends. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the staff at this resort. Kurt, Ed, Ralph, Oscar, and Jose--Thank you from all of us!
Note: Beware of the "doctor flies!" That is what the Belize people call yellow flies. If you are prone to mosquito bites, they will love you! I have never experienced such intense itching! The bites don't show up for a few days and I didn't feel them biting me.

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Sherry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlackbirdCayeResort, Guest Relations Manager at Blackbird Caye Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 13, 2017

Thank you for spending some time with us at Blackbird Caye. We think that our dive resort is one of those few and far between places where we redefine “luxury.” Opulence is easy to find, on land and on sea. But it’s not so easy to find seclusion, privacy, community, raw nature, low-impact living all in one place. In today’s modern world of ultra-speed and convenience, we feel we offer a different kind of luxury, and we think you defined it well in your review. We truly look forward to you coming back again.

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Reviewed July 6, 2017

Cardinal has moved up in the management chain and does not go in the water much. His replacement is Ed and Robert and frankly neither one can carry Cardinal's jock strap. They can change equipment between dives and help you in and out of the boat, but they don't find any critters during the dive. And if you want a cup of water or a towel after a dive, you have to get it yourself.
The water was really warm (87F), visibility 60-80 feet, very mild currents and some chop due to a strong east wind. Spotted a turtle and a Spotted Eagle Ray, but they were at some distance and you really could not see much. We did see a sleeping nurse shark and a large Green Moray Ell along with all the normal area fish. The Lionfish population seems to have declined over the past few years, so I guess the spearing thing is working.
Electricity was only off one morning and about an hour one afternoon. Hot water in the shower was a hit or miss proportion. They were out of Belikins for about 2 hours at the bar, but for $3 a bottle you can wait. The food was excellent. The cook had flour tortillas one day and I'm from Texas, so I know good flour tortillas and these were the best I've ever had.
The two managers left on vacation Wednesday before a huge crowd was coming in on Saturday. Seems a little fishy to me.
In full disclosure, I must admit diving with Cardinal over the years has spoiled me.

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Olddiver36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlackbirdCayeResort, Guest Relations Manager at Blackbird Caye Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 10, 2017

Thank you for your return trip to Blackbird Caye. In the hospitality business people move to new opportunities and others replace them. In some cases, we’re lucky enough to promote from within and all new positions take some time to get adjusted to. Ed and Robert have a vast amount of experience, but not even they have control over where marine life may move from day to day. There are always challenges to operating a resort, especially when you’re on a remote island, but we are diligent in correcting any issues that arise and hope for the understanding of our guests. We will pass along your kind words to our chef and hope to see you again someday soon.

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Reviewed July 4, 2017

We booked this resort MAINLY because of the great reviews in TripAdvisor. However, the reviews are not at par with the resort.

This is the ONLY resort in the island. It has around 10 oceanfront "villas", a restaurant, a bar, a pool with pool bar and an office. That's it. The island has no phone service.

The hotel has no nice beach, just sand. The whole coast was dirty and muddy.

Villas were basic, nothing fancy. They did not have TVs or Wifi. Wifi was available only in the office, and slow.

Our plan included meals: a basic breakfast and lunch "buffet" and a dinner with just two entree options. All drinks were extras and expensive (average USD 10 per drink).

The resort charges for EVERYTHING and at a high price: drinks, snorkelling, diving, masks, fins, sodas, etc. Since there was no alternative, you are forced to buy everything there (e.g., a disposable camera at USD 30).

We thought that boat rides would have been included, but not. At check out, the extra bill was around the same that we paid for the overall stay.

We would not go back.


Regards

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank Fernando-Botargues
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlackbirdCayeResort, Guest Relations Manager at Blackbird Caye Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 10, 2017

Thank you for your recent stay. There are in fact three resorts on Turneffe Atoll. We are a premier dive resort, and the pictures and descriptions of what we offer, from our accommodations, to our pool, to our amenities are well outlined on our website. We don’t pretend to be anything we aren’t, and we’re proud of what we offer to divers from all over the world. We are on a sand bar, so it doesn’t get much beachier than this! Our guests tend to enjoy the natural magic that they find here: peace and quiet without the trappings of mainland resort existence. While we do charge for the use of some equipment (unless it’s part of a package deal) We trust you enjoyed free use of our paddle boards, kayaks and of course the complimentary 1.5 hr. boat trip to the island from Belize City. We hope your future travels are pleasurable

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Reviewed July 3, 2017

We selected Blackbird Caye 15 years ago for our 25th anniversary. It set the bar so high I really doubted it could possibly be as good as the last time. Blackbird Cave was the top of our list for snorkeling, service, and overall experience from 2002 so for our 40th we decided we'd waited long enough. We booked the southern most cabana, used to be #10, now #14. The cabana is spacious, with a living room, bath, bedroom and a screened porch. Blackbird is blessed to be located about 5-30 minutes from so many excellent snorkeling spots that in our 2 weeks total time we haven't seen all of them. The reefs are healthy and the aquatic life is varied and plentiful. The snorkel package includes 2 trips per day. The usual schedule: eat breakfast at 7:00, boat leaves at 9:00, return for lunch at 1:00, boat leaves for second trip at 3:00, return for snacks around 5:30, dinner at 7:00, bar and bed afterward. The food was always excellent with either a choice of 2 items for breakfast and lunch or a buffet. It's usually a buffet but part of the time there were too few guests and it was easier to offer the choice. They always had fresh fruit in addition which doesn't taste the same as home. Fresh picked and sweet. The dinners were always a seafood or non-seafood choice. (Pork, beef or chicken). We usually got one of each so we could try both. Louis, the chef really outdid himself. Fabulous entrees and delicious deserts (even a cake for our anniversary!). Oh and they have a pool bar and snacks to order if you're still hungry. The pool is new since our first visit and was a nice addition. The resort also have a private airstrip if you're not interested in the 1 1/2 hr. boat ride from Belize City. We missed one snorkel trip because of weather. Chris, the snorkel captain who was the only staff member who was still there from 15 years ago seems to know the area like the back of his hand. As an added bonus for us, the Thursday we were there was the opening day of lobster season. I got to spear lobsters! We ate them that evening. I could go on and on! We did an earth hour on a particularly clear evening where all the electricity was shut off to star-gaze. A big hats off to co-managers Brandon and Bernie and the entire staff, Louis the chef, Oscar the bartender, Kirk, the restaurant manager, Chris the snorkel captain, Aldo the dive captain, Maria in housekeeping and everyone else. You all make the magic happed and have it appear effortless. (We know it isn't!) Once again we arrived and met total strangers and left as friends. This is not Sandals or Club Med! It's a dive resort in a perfect location. All cabana's come with complimentary barking geckos!

Room Tip: Original cabanas are smaller and less expensive. We stayed in a deluxe cabana last time and a superior cabana this time.
  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Dan-Carol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 25, 2017

Not a 5-star luxury French Riviera resort, but a truly 5-star diver's resort! It is a remote tropical paradise away from crowds, tourists and congestion where amenities are not plentiful but more than sufficient and accommodations are picturesque with cottages with thatched roofs, screen porches, and hammocks right on the beach and steps from the water's edge. It does, however, come with the trials and tribulations of being a sustainable remote island 1½+ hours from the mainland.

Diving is incredible and I am told the snorkeling is as well. It's situated on the edge of the 2nd largest barrier reef system in the world, but #1 in terms of it being the largest living barrier reef with colorful, abundant and varied sea life and coral. We saw three types of turtles, manatees, stingrays, spotted eagle rays, and manta rays (with a viewing of five swimming in formation!), spotted moray eels, green Morays swimming in the open, dolphins, a variety of sharks, remora, scorpion fish, drumfish, trunkfish, trumpet fish, parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, crab, lobster, octopus, squid, flounder, tarpin, grouper, barracuda, filefish, jawfish, garden eels and of course lionfish.

The food was incredible as well with special and extraordinary efforts devoted to meeting the varied dietary needs of group members by having provided a special additional chef just to attend to that issue.

it wasn't just incredible diving that make this place a go to destination, but managers Bernie and Brandon that are so incredibly dedicated and genuinely warm, friendly and expert in knowing what it takes and what to do to meet the demands and challenges of running a remote all-inclusive dive resort with attention to safety, satisfaction, satiation, and fun.

And let's not forget the exceptional staff from dive masters and boat captains Ed, Jody, Aldo, Cardinal, and Ralph; wait staff Curt, Oscar, José, Ian, and Samara; to bartenders and grounds crew (who'll be happy to show you where to find the crocodiles in the lake on the other side of the island/resort with the best viewing being at sunset or sunrise). They all have your back in terms of hospitality, education, information and safety. From the moment we landed at the airstrip on the island to send off at the boat dock for the ride back to the mainland we were taken care of and treated like extended family. My only regret was not going home with one of the gorgeous mahogany wood carvings which added further native ambience to the dining room and Palapa bar.

Main drawback … getting bitten alive by bugs … so bring powerful repellent. I was with a large group that booked the entire resort so it made for a bit of coziness on the dive boats, rinse basin (of which there was just 1), competition for hot showers and water pressure, and high demands on AC.

Being a remote island, be aware that the internet is very limited - OK for checking email, but not much else.

If I were to recommend anything, I would say to have 1- 2 more rinse basins at the dock, keep juice and water dispensers filled throughout the day, and have bug spray in each room as well as commercial sized bottles centrally relocated around the resort for guests' use.

Stayed: May 2017, travelled with friends
Thank Michelle W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlackbirdCayeResort, Guest Relations Manager at Blackbird Caye Resort, responded to this reviewResponded June 28, 2017

Thank you for your very thorough review of Blackbird Caye on TripAdvisor – we appreciate it! You’ve done a great job of outlining the many attributes and amenities that guests enjoy and we’re glad you enjoyed them. We have an exceptional team at Blackbird and they are indeed able to ensure everything on shore runs smoothly, and things are safe and appropriate on the water. We will take note of your feedback and hope that we will have a chance to show you even more magnificent areas here on a return stay.

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