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Reviewed July 17, 2017

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 :-)

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank sunjewel2015
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 27, 2017

Thank you for your excellent TripAdvisor review. It contains great tips for travelers, and some excellent feedback for us. We appreciated you acknowledging our “low impact” resort. We do everything we can to live as simply on our island as possible, and we have a page on our sustainability plan on our website. Our dive masters are also guides, and remarkable ones. Nature has blessed us here, and they love to share this place with each and every guest with pride and humility. Our team loves what they do, and we want our guests to truly experience this magnificent location, and our way of life in Belize. So we do become very close with our guests, and often there are tears when they depart. We hope you will come back and see us again.

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Reviewed July 11, 2017

We just spent 7 days at this great place on a diving trip with our local dive shop, and had a wonderful time. It's a 1 1/2 hr boat ride out in the ocean from Belize City, but well worth it for the seclusion, privacy, and the convenience to many dive sites. Due to it's remote location, you can't call it a 'Luxury' Resort, but it's very comfortable, and the staff do their utmost to deliver a great experience.

We had 3 nice meals a day, different menu each day, a selection of two meats each night for dinner, and it was all very good. The chef did a great job with both the flavors and presentation. The capacity of the whole island is 34 guests, so meals are a really fun time to meet fellow guests and have a good time.

There is no phone service, and internet is spotty at best - but personally I counted that as a plus - plus, they warn you about it in the pre-trip info.

The boat ride to the dive sites was 5-10 minutes. So close in fact that we came back on shore between dives to rest and get our top water time. Ed, the dive master, is one of the best I've seen - very safe, aware, and good at spotting things below water.

On shore, it's pretty much just relax, eat, drink, and either sit by the shore, or the salt-water pool. There are kayaks (for free), snorkeling (free gear if needed), and some paths to take walks around the island, and the staff falls over themselves to provide all they can to meet whatever requests.

Certainly not 'Señor Frogs' - if you want Cancun, this is not Cancun. This is what Cozumel was probably like before it was discovered and taken over by neon lights and T-shirt shops. Come if you like solitude, great diving, relaxation, some remoteness, and you will be very happy. I am, and can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: "Rooms"are all bungelos. The 'Beach House' is a 4 bedroom with living room and kitchen.
  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Mark T
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 taking the time to write such an informed and thorough TripAdvisor review! We love what we do here and we really think it is a bit of paradise. We are serious and safe when it comes to diving and being on the water, then when we come back to the resort we can kick back and half some fun and conversation. The people that work here truly make Blackbird Caye what it is, and its very kind of you to mention them by name – they will be pleased to know they had an effect on you. Please do come back soon.

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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
4  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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