Our family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids - 17, 15 & 9) just returned from a fabulous week at BCR. Wow. What a great vacation. The staff bent over backwards to make us feel welcome. Kudos to everyone. Everything went smoothly from start to finish. Mr. Moreno was waiting for us at the airport as promised and took us to the Radisson upon arrival. The Radisson held our bags (no charge) while we had lunch at the hotel (at our own expense) and waited for the rest of the BCR guests. We left the marina around 3:00 PM on Big Bird (the BCR boat) and arrived at the resort around 4:30 PM. Cokes & waters were provided for the ride over (note: on the way back they are not, so BYOB) Group check in was a breeze. James, the manager, went through quick introductions (along with a welcome cocktail - nice!) and the plan for the week (if you forgot it - it is written on the board in the office). We easily got into the routine. Plan to go barefoot all week and you will only need to wear shorts & t-shirts here. Very casual. We stayed in the BeachHouse. It is located at the far end of the resort. Simply furnished. Came with a golf cart and its own wi-fi connection. Wi-fi didn't always work but, hey, you are not in this gorgeous setting to sit on the wi-fi and you are on a remote island after all and, understandably, that comes with some minor inconveniences from time to time.
Breakfast was served at 7 AM (buffet); light snack and tea/coffee/juice available in dining room; lunch at 1 PM (hot buffet - such as Mexican, Chinese, or Italian selections and cold salad items); 5:30 PM appetizer in bar; Happy Hour at the bar (soft drinks were a couple bucks, cocktails around $6-$12 with intriguing names like the Dirty Banana, The Blue Hole, The Red Snapper & The Panty Ripper), dinner at 7PM (appetizer - the carrot ginger soup was my favorite, choice of 1 of 2 entrees, dessert- the bananas foster was too die for). The meals were delicious and plentiful. We had the choice of lobster and fresh caught fish for several evenings. Other choices included pork, chicken and beef prepared in a Belizean style. My husband and son both have food allergies and Kurt, the dining room manager was exceptional about accommodating them. The kitchen staff also made a cake for my husband's birthday - it made his day! I can't say enough about Jose, Ian & Oscar, our bartenders and serving staff, they were a pleasure to be with during the week and provided exceptional service.
As for the diving/snorkeling, the first dive of the day was at 8 AM, with a surface interval back at the resort, and out again around 11 AM and then back for lunch around 12:30. Snorkelers went out around 9:30 AM. After lunch, both divers and snorkelers go out again at 2:30 PM. Most sites were 10-20 minutes away from the resort. My husband and older kids dove with DM Jodie and really enjoyed their dives with him. My younger son & I dove with Chris, a 20 year veteran of the resort, who has an absolute "eagle eye" - he is a great spotter. What a great time we had with him! We swam with dolphin, rays, turtle, eels, sharks and all kinds of fish. Chris was always very eager to share something new about the reef with us.
We opted to splurge on the optional Blue Hole trip. It was worth every penny. My husband dove the Blue Hole with DM Ed and the rest of us snorkeled with Chris. An amazing experience we will never forget. Nice touch to have our own bartender Oscar along for the trip as well as our own chef to grill up our lunch on Half Moon Caye (note: I did not see any other boats that brought along their own bartender and chef)
We were so sad to leave BCR at the end of the week - it almost felt like we were leaving family. The transport back to Belize City on Big Bird was easy. 8 AM departure and arrival at the marina at 9:30 AM. At airport at 10 AM. Check-in at airline/customs/security took another 1.5 hrs - so give enough time for departing flights.
Simply put, BCR gets a 5 star rating because of its outstanding staff and unique location that lets you access all the incredible diving/snorkeling sites near the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. The accommodations at this low-impact resort on this idyllic remote atoll are simple, comfortable and clean. Btw, the stars at night are amazing.
Couple things to note: We did encounter the yellow/doctor flies while there when there was no wind - they were invincible to the coconut oil & tree tea oil mixture (this did deter the sand flies though) and deet. You basically have to cover up. There is a recipe for a mixture that you can make to treat the bites (vinegar, baking soda, aspirin). Also, bring some extra cash to pay your last day bar charges and for any tips. Management prefers to finalize the final bill on Thursday night with credit cards and then to have guests to pay any remaining balance for Friday bar charges with cash prior to check-out. Make sure you bring enough cash to cover. Also, take a "buff" if you easily burn - all the boat captains wore them. Maybe BCR could sell in the giftshop... along with those salt and pepper holders they have in the dining room :-)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Blackbird Caye is a privately owned Island sitting on The Mesoamerican Reef System - often referred to as the "Jewel of the Caribbean" - it is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere with a rich tapestry of vivid corals, mangrove forests, coastal wetlands, and diverse marine wildlife. Within the reef you will find Turneffe Atoll the Caye where the resort is located. Turneffe is the largest and most biologically diverse of the 3 atolls found in the Caribbean home to more than 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusk, and more than 500 species of fish, manatees, dolphins and invertebrates. There are over 70 dives sites all within 10-15 minutes from the resort and 45 minutes to Lighthouse Reef where The Great Blue Hole is located. The resort is made of 19 modern cabanas facing the Caribbean Sea and 1 beach house. The cabanas are all equipped with A/C, fans, private bathrooms, either King or Queen Beds with new comfortable bedding, private porches with chairs and swinging hammocks. Included in the price are your cabana, 3 daily meals, dive or snorkel package, complimentary transfers to the island on Wednesdays and Saturdays and use of the resort's kayaks. We are the only resort on Turneffe with an air strip making it convenient to arrive or depart any other day of the week. Our courteous and helpful staff will always make you feel at home as customer service ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blackbird Caye Hotel Turneffe Islands
- Blackbird Caye Belize City